Temples Of India: Shree Mangesh Temple, Goa
Every temple narrates a story; sometimes through the motifs on its walls, and sometimes through its ruins.
Our series on the Temples of India aims to bring forth their stories, in the hope that you witness their magnificence in person some day….
Article Credit: Sarah Merchant
Shree Mangesh Temple
When in Goa, a visit to a temple may not even remotely cross your mind. Quaint churches – yes, happening night clubs – yes, thought provoking ruins – yes, but a temple?
But we’re not talking about just any temple. Located in a little hamlet along the Panaji-Ponda road, this is one of the largest and most frequently visited temples in Goa.
Why It Deserves A Visit
With an epic survival story to its credit, Shree Mangesh Temple attracts visitors from all over the world! This temple stands strong today, but has endured numerous destructive efforts by foreign invaders.
Additionally, the temple also has an interesting legend attached to it. The temple’s Shiva Linga is believed to have been anointed by Lord Brahma himself on the Mangireesh (Mongir) mountain. The presiding deity Shree Mangesh or Shree Mangireesh got his name after Goddess Parvati, upon seeing a tiger, mistakenly uttered ‘“Trahi mam Girisha”’ instead of ‘“He Girisha mamtrahi”’, which meant “Oh God, O Lord of the mountain, please protect me”.
This incantation taught to her by Shiva saved her, and a much relieved Parvati then convinced Shiva to add Mam-Girisha to the many appellations he is known by. This is precisely how even the village where the temple is situated came to be known as Mangeshi, an abbreviation of Mam-Girisha.
How It Originated
Before the Portuguese era, the temple stood in Kushasthali (now known as Cortalim) a village in Salcette, as an important centre of pilgrimage. In the year 1543, Salcete was conquered by Portuguese rulers, and the year 1560 witnessed Christian conversions in the region.
This triggered the Saraswats of Vatsa Gotra to shift the Shiva Linga from the original site at the Kushasthali to its present location – now known as Mangeshim in Priol village of Atrunja Taluka.
Ironically, within a few years after it construction, this area too came under the control of Portuguese rulers in 1764. However, by then the Portuguese had lost their initial religious fervour, and had become more tolerant of other religions. Thanks to this, the structure remained untouched.
Its Intriguing Design
Even though the temple is small, it’s quite exquisite. Surrounded with lush greenery, it features a typical Goan Hindu architecture style, and distinctive white towers. The temple is also home to a splendid water tank, which is believed to be the oldest part of the temple.
Shree Mangesh Temple’s Sabha Griha (a spacious hall) accommodates over 500 people, and is adorned with photos of Lord Shiva in different styles. It also includes chandeliers that belong to the nineteenth century. Devotees often assemble here to meditate and seek the blessings of the Lord.
The image of Mangesh resides in the Garbh Griha of the stunning temple. It has shrines of Parvati (consort of Shiva – Destroyer of the Universe), and Ganesha (the elephant-god of Prosperity and Wisdom).
The temple is located at Mangeshi in Priol, 22 kms from Panaji and 26 kms from Margao
How To Get There
- By Road: Since, the temple is located very close to NH4, it can be easily reached by car
- By Air: Dabolim is the closest airport
- By Rail: Catch a train to Karmali
Best Time To Visit
- From May to October
Festival To Watch Out For
- The weekly festival held every Monday, where a palanquin procession is taken out
- The Magha Poornima Festival and the annual jatra held in the month of January/February is celebrated with much fanfare
- Popular festivals like Ramanavmi, Akshaya Tritiya, Anant Vritotsava, Navaratri, Dussera, Diwali and Mahashivratri.