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Shri Mhalasa Narayani Temple, Mardol

Just 1 kms away from Mangueshi, the temple of Sri Mahalasa nestles on the lap of village Mardol. Madalasa or Narayani, the diety is worshipped as the manifestation of Lord Vishnu as Mohni. Initially, the temple was located at Varunpur (Verna) in Sastri Taluk. As per Portuguese records, Mahalasa temple is one of the most significant temple destroyed. The temple was later shifted to Antruj Mahal, Ponda in 16Th century. Sri Shanteri and Sri Laxminarayan are affiliate deities with Dhada. Shankar, Kala Bhairav, Bhagwati and various family purushas are worshipped.

The temple deity is "Mhalasa Narayani" an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, portrayed in a female form. The temple was constructed in early 16th century. The deity was originally from Verna and was moved to Mardol to avoid the Portuguese destruction during the early days of the Inquisition. In the front of the temple lies a unique lamp tower and during the annual Zatra in February and on special festival days like the Navratri, a special 12.5 m brass lamp is lit. It is thought to be the largest lamp of its kind in Goa and India. The pillars outside the temple are also exquisitely carved.

Sri Mahalasa's palkis held every Sunday while that of Shantadurga is on Panchami. Annual Jatra is held from Maghashuddha Shasti to Bahula dashami while Navaratri is celebrated with great pomp and show.

This temple, located in Mardol village, is dedicated to Mohini, the female form of Vishnu. There was an ancient shrine in the Salcette taluka at the village of Verna where the deity was originally kept. Going by folklore, the building was so beautiful that the Portuguese priest, who was given the task of overseeing its destruction, requested that it be preserved and converted to a church. However, his request was turned down and the deity was smuggled to a safe place. However, the historical authenticity of the story remains to be verified.

The temple site is pleasant and peaceful. There is an ornamented silver frame surrounding the doorway. It has huge impressive wooden pillars. What makes this temple exceptional is its 21-tiered deepmal (lamp tower) which is perched atop Kurma, the tortoise incarnation of Vishnu. The 12.5 metre-high brass oil lamp is believed to be the world's largest. It is lit during all major festivals and is beautiful.

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