Location of Mallikarjun Temple
Mallikarjun Temple is situated in the Sristhal village which is 7 kilometres northeast of Chaudi in Canacona taluk in the South Goa district of Goa, India. The temple of Mallikarjun is located amidst enchanting natural surroundings and beautiful landscapes.
Myths of Mallikarjun Temple
It is known that the temple was built on the location where Lord Shiva met Parvati, his consort after a long period of separation. Near the dome of the Mallikarjun temple, one can see a plaque according to which the temple is at least 200 years old. It is believed that the temple was built in the 16th century by the ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj and renovated in 1778.
Another myth mentions that the devil Malla was fighting with one of the Pandava brothers, Arjuna. Shiva believed the form of a hunter and killed Malla and saved Arjuna and hence the name Mallikarjun'. The temple is also known as Adavat Sinhasanadhishwar Mahapati Canacona among the locals.
Architecture of Mallikarjun Temple
The temple of Mallikarjun has beautifully carved wooden pillars that are unique in its form and not visible in any other temples of Goa. These carving have been done by skilled craftsmen who had come here from the southern Indian states. The intricate carvings of the pillars in the mandapa or the assembly hall of the Mallikarjun temple depict episodes from the Indian Puranas and Mahabharata. The door on either side of temple leading to the inner sanctum has marvellously carved profiles of doorkeepers or dwarpal. A massive fort, with 6 meter high walls encircles the temple. There are also many other deities within the temple that include the Sahasra Linga, Panchapandava temples and Vatavriksha.
Festivals of Mallikarjun Temple
The Mallikarjun temple houses around 60 deities. Many festivals are celebrated in the temple that attracts a lot of devotes to the shrine. Festivals like the annual jatra are considered as the most unique amongst most of the festivals in Goa. On that day the deity of the temple is taken out in a procession to a nearby beach. The ritual of a special bath for the deity is held at the beach, after which the deity returns to the temple. Many devotees also bath in the holy waters at that time.
Apart from the annual Jatra, other types of unique festivals are also celebrated on special occasions.
These are cluster of minor deities called Avatar Purush positioned at three places like Asali, Khalvade and Bhatpal. These deities are worshipped here and once in a year at night they are taken for a magnificent procession to the main temple at Sristhal.
This festival is celebrated once every two years during the time of the traditional Shigmo festival. The festival is celebrated at midnight when few local youths called Gade run from one house to another holding swords in their hands. They are followed by few other people with musical instruments.
Along with these festivals other festivals like Rathasaptami and Shigmotsav are also celebrated. These festivals attract a number of devotees to the temple throughout the year.
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