Location: This Hindu pilgrimage namely “Mahalasa” is situated in Newasa in Goa enchanting the thirsty souls of innumerable religious devotees who throng this religious hub with the motive of witnessing the magnificence of the enshrined deity as an enchantress deity ‘Mahalasa Narayani’.
Presiding deity: Goddess Mahalasa Narayani & goddess Parvati
History of the shrine: The historical upheaval of Mughal invasion compelled Hindus to enshrine the presiding deity called “Mahalasa” from her original abode located in Aurangabad, Nepal to Goa secretly. Subsequently, it was shifted to Verna. Then, it got its final destination, i.e. the Mardol after the invasion of Portuguese into the province of Goa. .
The sacred occasion to visit the shrine:
- Sundays (Palanquin-serving (Palaki- seva)
- India’s mythology in context of this shrine conveys that the shrine “Mahalasa” came into existence for enchanting the soul of zillions of pilgrims and devout devotees with the nonpareil divine witchery of lord Vishnu as being ‘Mohini’. When the demons seemed adamant for getting their share of elixir that came out of the fathom of the ocean during its churning, lord Vishnu came to rescue ‘Devas’. He enchanted the demons by mesmerizing their heart through his heavenly beauty that was enticed with elegance and captivating charm as ‘Mohini’, a damsel. Thus, he as Mohini succeeded in wooing demons to have a sip of elixir through her hands.
- Another legend goes in the manner that Devi Mahalasa is a mingled avatar of goddess Parvati & Mohini. It is prevalent tale that Mahalasa, who is assumed to be the avatar of Devi Parvati and Mohini, took birth to a rich merchant called ‘Timshet’. He arranged matrimony of his loving daughter with the king of Khandoba on the eve of Paush Poornima (full moon night of Paush month as per Hindu calender) in Pali. To everyone’s surprise, two shivalingams manifested at the pious occasion & that event was assumed to be the sacred blessing of god. Since then, Paush Poornima has begun to be celebrated in Pali.
Description of the shrine:
- Shrine’s complex: This splendid shrine has two main complexes in which the devotees and visitors can pay their holy offerings to the admiring deity and beseech her with pure reverence. The sub-divided relatively smaller shrines housing Santeri & Lakshmi-Narayan deities woo the heart of curious spectators.
- Ganas: The main premise of this shrine has special provision for the five Ganas known as Grampurush, Bhagwati, Dadh, Simha Purush & Mhal Purush. The foregoing Ganas are brought out before performing religious rites and rituals to appease the main deity of the temple.
- Prasad: Like every holy pilgrimage, here too has a special arrangement for Prasad-distribution subsequent to holy offering, prayer & aarti religiously.
- Brass bell: The brass bell is considered as the ‘magnum opus’ of the temple since it does not ring. But the patrons attach a ringer whenever anyone has suspicion over its ringing. It is an assumption that fury of the deity lashes on the liar if the one lies during the ringing of bell. Even the Portuguese gave place to such assumption in their constitution in Goa earlier.
- Ban or restriction over the foreigners: Similar to Ajmer Shariff (the famous mosque), there is also a ban imposed on the visitors whose code of conduct & outfit appear objectionable, especially the foreigners.