Have you ever seen bearded Lord Shiva ?? Strain your brain to recollect if you have indeed seen a picture or idol of Shiva with a beard.
No ? Read on….
Despite the Portuguese influence that dominated Goa over the centuries, it is fascinating to see how such a large number of Hindu temples have survived here. Shoved away from place to place, the deities were preserved and worshipped till they were finally installed in their present day hearths.
We happened to visit a few of them; I’ll speak about only one where I saw bearded Shiva.
The Shri Mangueshi temple for one of the most revered patron deities of the Hindu Goud Saraswat Brahmin community is located at Mangueshi in Ponda Taluka. It is the most prominent and well known among temples and is situated along the National Highway-4A about 23-km from Panaji. It is also said to be the hometown of the famous singers Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle.
Lore has it that Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, came to Goa in search of him who had disappeared from Kailasa following an altercation between them. Parvati beseeched Shiva to protect her in these terms: ‘Trahi Mam Girisha’ (protect me the Lord of mountains). Subsequently over the period ‘Mam Girisha’ became ‘Mangirisha’ or ‘Manguesh’.
Like other temples in the town, it also has a ‘Welcome Gate’, an elegant seven-storey ‘Deepmal’ tower for oil lamps, a ‘Noubatkhana’ overlooking the temple tank and the ‘Agrashalas’ (guest house).
This temple is white in colour with the floor paved with marble, and bands of decorative tiles adorning the white walls.
Not to mention, the temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It houses a Shiva Lingam. Inside the temple almost everything is golden. The ‘Shesha’, the Linga and an image of Shiva, yes a bearded one !
The most unique and amazing thing about this temple is that this is the only place in India where Lord Shiva is depicted with a beard !!
And the reason for beard ?? Well, the legend has it that Shiva came down here to relax from his Himalayan abode – hence the beard. Isn’t that interesting ??
Photography was not allowed inside the temple, this one was on the lamp tower.