Goa Diaries: Shri Mallikarjuna Temple

Away from touristy hustle and bustle, the beaches, the hippie culture, there awaits another Goa only for those who seek it with all their heart. A Goa with its ancient Konkani heritage that goes further beyond the colonial chapter. Shri Mallikarjuna Temple of Canacona stands erect till today to recite stories of that bygone era to its handful of visitors.

The most difficult part about exploring the mythological background of every Indian temple is that one would be befuddled with myriad parallel versions. There are sixteen Puranas and each of them bears signs of different sects of Hinduism predominating the respective era. Shri Mallikarjuna Temple of Goa is no exception. Every region of India proudly represents their own resident deity, protecting them from all earthly obstacles. Lord Mallikarjuna can be found in every shop, every Hindu household across Goa; his calm presence acting like protective shield against all odds.

Lord Mallikarjuna is one of the many forms of the coolest of our Indian Holy Trinity. Lord Shiva. There are many stories in the market regarding the legend of Lord Mallikarjuna. But my favourite among them is the one where Shiva and Parvati reunite after a long period of separation. A large mass of energy was generated from the massive cosmic passion which resulted into the swayambhu lingam of the lord that we worship today.

Shri Mallikarjuna Temple is definitely not one of those commercialised worshipping places where everything can be bought in exchange for money, even penance. The temple represents an architecture that inclines more to the Deccan heritage of our country. I am not an Indian mythology expert, but I reckon the multi-layer inside of the temple represents the manifold path that one must take in order to realising the true meaning of God. And in the innermost sanctum sits the phallic shaped deity with calm eyes and a big moustache -- Lord Mallikarjuna. Legend says that Shiva is the cosmic ascetic who represents the end of the three worlds or triloka and his detachment speaks through his closed eyes. He doesn't care about worldly pleasure. And then the Goddess comes. She domesticates the eccentric sage. Bears him children. Shiva finally opens his eyes. Thus he becomes one of us. So no wonder Lord Mallikarjuna looks straight into your eyes while you pray to him. It's the passion of the Goddess that has made him aware of the world. The Goddess is madly in love with him.