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The ‘legend’ behind origin of the Mangeshi Temple

Changed location of the temple

Mangeshi Temple is the most visited temple in Goa. It is visited by a large number of locals, domestic as well as foreign tourist every year. The temple has both historical as well as religious importance. But has anyone wondered how to the temple originated?

Its current location at Priol was never the original place of the Mangeshi temple. The story goes, after Portuguese added Salcete to their territory in the year 1543. These conquistadors began to destroyed temples in the vicinity, primarily following the religious policy of the Portuguese at that time.

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In order to save the Deity or the Linga that is worshipped in the temple. It was smuggled out of the Portuguese territory of Kushastali (present day Cortalim) and relocated to Priol in Ponda. The Linga continued to be worshiped in a humble structure in the secluded location until 18th Century when its fortunes were revived.

A Goan in exile by the name of Ramchandra Sukhtankar had achieved a high rank in the Maratha court of Poona (Pune). Using his clout, Ramchandra persuaded Rajah of Sonda, a vassal of the Maratha Empire to donate enough land to build and maintain the temple.

Under these directions the current structure of the temple was constructed and enough land was donated to the temple for its upkeep. The estate continues to exist even today functioning as a self sufficient and an organized entity.

Legend behind the origin of the Linga

Mangeshi is devoted to one of the avatars of Lord Shiva. The story goes that during a game of dice Lord Shiva lost everything he possessed to his wife Parvati, even his home on mount Kailasa in the Himalayas. He left his abode and wandered to South India and reached Goa. He decided to stay there and meditate.

His wife Parvati, heartbroken and lonely, came searching for him. While moving through the dense forests in Goa she encountered a tiger. In fright she shouted, “Trahi Mam Girisha”. Which meant ‘Oh Lord of the mountain protect me’.
Turns out the tiger changed his form into Shiva, who had changed his form to frighten Parvati.of course Lord Shiva and Parvati reunited. To mark the occasion, Lord Shiva adopted the name Mam Girish, last two words of Parvati’s cry.

Eons later a cowherd noticed that one of his cows would always visit a spot and sprinkle it with milk. Upon investigation by him he discovered the Linga. The villagers of Kushastali (present day Cortalim) soon built a temple in which it could be housed.

Conclusion

The temple sheds immense light upon an interesting chapter in the Goan history. The complex is worth the visit and the architecture of the building is a unique blend of various influences prevalent at that time.

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