If you’re looking to explore the best of Goa’s history and architecture, the Mangesh Temple is an absolute must-visit destination. Not only is it one of the most famous temples in Goa, but it’s also known for its unique and fascinating history.
Located in Priol, in the heart of Ponda Taluka, the area surrounding the temple is called Mangueshi. What makes this temple so special is that it’s the only temple in Goa where Lord Shiva is known as Lord Mangesh. Yeah, that’s right, you won’t find this title used for Lord Shiva anywhere else in India!
But, let’s talk about the juicy details that make this temple so interesting. Legend has it that Lord Shiva once lost everything in a game of dice with his wife Parvati. So, he decided to go into self-imposed exile and ended up in Goa. Parvati, who was missing her hubby, decided to go looking for him in Goa. But, little did she know that Lord Shiva was about to play a prank on her!
He attacked her in disguise, causing her to cry out, “Trahi Mam Girisha” (O Lord of Mountains, Save Me). Upon hearing her cry, Lord Shiva revealed his true form and the two were reunited. But, the cry for help became associated with Lord Shiva, and a Linga was erected to honor the place where this legend occurred. Eventually, a temple was built on the same spot and named the Mangesh Temple.
The temple has a rich history, too. It’s believed that the original temple was located at Kushasthali, once known as Cortalim. However, during the Portuguese inquisition, several temples were destroyed in Goa. To protect the temple from meeting a similar fate, the devotees transferred the Linga from the temple to Priol, which was then under the control of Adil Shah. And since then, the temple has undergone several renovations.
The architecture of the temple is simply breathtaking, and you can see a mix of Hindu, Christian, and Muslim influences. The temple is also illuminated during the annual Jatra held in January. And, if you’re hungry after exploring, don’t worry – the temple has a canteen that serves delicious vegetarian food!
If you’re planning a trip to the Mangesh Temple, accommodations are available right there in the temple. And, if you’re lucky enough to visit during the annual Jatra, you’ll witness a grand celebration where the presiding deity is taken out in a palanquin and paraded in enormous chariots, accompanied by thousands of devotees.
So, pack your bags and head to Mangesh Temple, located just 21 kilometers from Panaji, the capital city of Goa. And don’t forget to check out other festivals celebrated in the temple like Rama Navami, Akshaya Tritiya, Navaratri, and Mahashivratri. Trust us, you won’t regret visiting this one-of-a-kind temple!