29
Apr
09

The Flight of Gods 26. Parashuram Temple, Poinguinim

The Flight of Gods
by Mohan PaiSri Parashuram Temple
Poinguinim

Sri Parashurama is the 6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu who is an axe-wielding(Parashu) warrior God. According toPuranic tradition he is credited with the creation of the West Coast (Parashurama Sristi).
Entrance to Garbhagriha – photo by Mohan Pai
 
Shrines to Sri Parashurama are quite rare and apart from the temple at Poinguinim village in Canacona taluk in Goa, the only other three known shrines are at Pethe Parashuram near Chiplunand Payyanur, and Thiruvallom in Kerala.Sri Parashuram Shrine – photo by Mohan Pai
 
The rise of Nath cult appeared to have coincided with the cult of Parashuram and both Poinguinim and Chiplun were set up as independent shrines to Para-shurama during 1300-1400 AD.
The temple at Poinguinim is a small temple located amidst forest grove in a serene surroundings. The Shikara isthe traditional pyramid shape. The mantapa has traditional carved wooden pillars. There is an an iconic representation of ‘Kshetrapala’ in the courtyard.
Kshetrapala – photo by Mohan PaiThe legend of Parashurama is a popular story in the Hindu Mythology with different regional versions. According to one version, Parashurama, the axe-wielding avatar of Vishnu is the son of Sage Jamadagni and Renuka. Jamadagni is killed by despotic Kshatriyas because he refuses to part with “Kamadhenu”, his wish-fullfilling divine cow. In revenge, Parashurama traverses the earth twenty-one times and wipes out all the Kshatriyas.

Painting of Sri Parashuram in the Temple
 
Parashurama, struck by remorse tried to expiate his sins by performing yagnyas during which he gifted away all his lands to the Brahmins with no land left even to build a hermitage for himself. Varuna, God of the seas came to his aid and offered him to gain from the sea as much land he could span in one throw of his axe. Parashurama stood at Pethe Parashuram (near Chiplun, Maharashtra) and threw his axe as far as Kanyakumari. The sea retreated and the coastal tracts of Konkan, Kanara and Kerala were thus generated.
Parashurama populated his new lands with Brahmins as well as new plants such as the coconut, the banana and the jackfruit which now thrive throughout the region.
 
This legend is probably based on the lowering of sea level which resulted in the emergence of the coastal strip which is now referred to as Konkan and Malabar.
 

The Legend of Parashurama

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