29
Apr
09

The Flight of Gods 21. Mallikarjun Temple, Gaondongrem

The Flight of Gods

by Mohan Pai Shri Mallikarjun Temple
Gaondongrem

Shri Mallikarjun Temple, Gaondongrem is situated in Canacona Taluka in South Goa. This deity is mainly worshipped by Gavades, Kunbis, Velips and the Marathas.
The Linga is believed to be Swayabhu linga, uncovered by a member of the Kunbi community while clearing the forest and it is a phallic shaped uncut stone covered with a metallic mask.
The legend mentions that the demon Malla was fighting with one of the Pandava brothers, Arjuna. Shiva assumed the form of a hunter and killed Malla and saved Arjuna and hence the name ‘Mallikarjun’.

The Shikara – photo Mohan Pai

The festivals held at Gaondongrem are Shisharanni (cooking on the head-earth) and annual Zatra. During the festival of Shishranni, the performance and rituals include bathing of the gade, dress, smearing of sandal paste on the entire body. Heads are covered with wet cloth and layers of plantain trunk and piercing needles in the abdomen as well as left arm. Head-hearth is formed of three heads of Gade.

Deepasthamba – photo Mohan Pai
A unique collection of three replicas of stone of decapitated human heads could be seen here.
The ritual of hunting ia a compulsary ritual held every three years with group of traditional hunters gather at the shrine and proceed to the jungle. The head of the hunted animal is cut and worshipped at the shrine and all members share the flesh.

One of the wooden pillars in the mandapa is used as the oracle pillar in the temple.

 
Image of Paik outside the temple – photo Mohan Pai
Shree Mallikarjun is a popular, tribal deity in Goa. There are 14 shrines of Mallikarjun spread all over Goa. The striking similarity in these shrines is that all idols are in phallic shape and covered with metallic masks. The lingas are believed to be ‘Swaymbhu’ lingas. In some shrines the daily worship is performed by Brahmin priest only for a certain designated period and during the rest of the period, the Kunbi priests namely Velip and Zalmi perform the daily worship. The ritual of hunting is associated with some of the Mallikarjun shrines.
Tulasi Vrindavan – photo Mohan Pai
According to the records two ancient shrines of Mallikarjun existed in Bardez at Assgao and Pomburpa which were demolished by the portugese.
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