25
Apr
09

The Flight of Gods 13. Mahalasa Narayani Temple, Mardol

The Flight of Gods
by Mohan Pai

Shri Mahalasa Narayani Temple
Mardol


Shri Mahalasa Narayani temple is situated at Mardol about 1 km from Shri Manguesh temple. The temple was constructed in early 16th century. The deity was originally from Verna and was moved to Mardol during the Portugese onslaught on Hindu temples.
The Mantap – photo Mohan Pai

Shri Mahalasa is one of the important Shaktis worshipped in Goa and is a folk deity having her origin in the Karnataka region. From the architectural remnants lying at Verna, it is evident that the worship of the goddess goes back to the Kadamba period c. 1100 AD. Varunapur Mahatmya in the Sahyadri Khanda of the Skanda Purana refers to Goddess Mahalasa with her detailed description. She stands on a dead body and has the head of Chandrasur demon in her left hand.

Narayani suffix is an epithet which has been mentioned in Devibhagavat of Markandeyapurana. According to another source Mahalasa Narayani is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu portrayed in female form as Mohini.
The Temple – photo Mohan Pai
At the entrance of the temple there is an artistic seven storied lamp tower that stands 12.5 metres high with a figure of Garuda at the top. Made entirely of brass it is probably the largest lamp of its kind in India. The inner hall of the temple has carvings of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu that have been resplendently painted.
Brass Lamp Tower – photo Mohan Pai
Shri Mahalasa is the family deity of Gaud Saraswats and Karhade Brahmins. Goddess Mahalasa was a much feared deity and justice was dispensed by taking an oath underthe “Justice Bell” which was recognised even by the Portugese courts.
The annual Zatra of the temple is held in the month of February and the festival of Navaratri is celebrated on a grand scale.

Deepasthamba – photo Mohan Pai
 

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http://mohanpai.sulekha.com/blog/posts/pageno-1.htmhttp://flightofgods.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
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