Hindu Gods · Hindu Temples

Lord Vishnu’s Mohini Avatar

Sri Mahalasa Narayani, is also known by another more familiar name Mohini, that is Lord Vishnu’s famous Avatar. Mahalasa Narayani is a powerful Kuladevata of many hindu Households in the western and southern parts of India.

Temples dedicated to the worship of Shri Mahalasa Narayani are present in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and many other places. The most popular temple of Supreme Mother Mahalasa is at Mardol in Goa, which is over 450 years old. Other temples, like the ones in Kumta and Basrur, both in Karnataka, are also said to be over 400 years old. Yet, Shri Mahalasa Narayani has other ancient and historic temples dedicated to Her, including at Nevase in Ahmednagar district of #Maharashtra, where she is known as Shri Mohiniraj of the Amrut Manthan (the epic churning of the ocean) fame.

It is believed that it is from Nevase that Shri Mahalasa Narayani came to Verna in #Gomantak, that is present-day Goa. Before Nevase, there is a Mohini temple in Nepal, near the world-famous Pashupatinath temple.

Shri Mahalasa Narayani’s temple at Mardol in the West coastal state of Goa in India needs no introduction to Shri Mahalasa’s Kulavis and other devotees. This is Her most well-known temple and even if we visit other temples, we cannot avoid visiting Her beautiful temple at Mardol, at least once in our lifetime.


During the Samudra manthan (churning of the ocean of milk) by the gods and the demons, the demons steal the pot of amruta (elixir of immortality). The god Vishnu took the form of the enchantress, Mohini. Mohini seized the amruta from the demons and served it to the gods. Mohini is worshipped as Mahalasa Narayani or Mahalasa.

According to another legend linking her to Khandoba, the god Shiva enchanted by Mohini. She promises to be his wife in her earthly reincarnation when he would be incarnate as Khandoba on earth. Mhalsa (as called in the Khandoba cult) is considered a form of Mohini as well as Shiva’s wife Parvati. Mhalsa was born as the daughter of a rich Lingayat merchant in Newasa called Timmaseth. On the divine orders of Khandoba in a dream to her
father, Mhalsa was married to Khandoba on Pausha Pournima (the full moon day of Hindu calendar month of Pausha) in Pali (Pembar). Two shivlingas appeared on this occasion. An annual festival marking this event is celebrated in Pali every Pausha Pournima.

Originally, the deity was housed in a temple at an ancient shrine in village of Verna which is now the site of an industrial estate. Along with other Goan temples, this beautiful temple at Verna was also marked for destruction by the Portuguese around 1543.

However, before the actual demolition could take place the idol of the deity was smuggled away across the river by faithful devotees, to the safer locale of Mardol, where it is located today.

Mahalsa is a Hindu goddess. She is venerated in two distinct traditions. As an independent goddess, she is considered as a form of Mohini, the female avatar of the god Vishnu and is called Mahalasa Narayani.

Goud Saraswat Brahmins as well as Vaishnavas from Goa and South Canara identify her with Mohini and call her Narayani and Rahu-matthani, the slayer of Rahu, as told in the Bhavishya Purana.

Temple Architecture

Lakhs of devotees and tourists visit the 450-year old temple every year to solicit blessings of the Divine Deity.

The Mardol temple has some unique features to its credit viz, the tallest Samai (lamp) or the Dnyandeepa, and the Deepasthambha (see photo below), which is famous all over the world thanks to it being highlighted in posters of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation; a full-granite Sabha Mantapa, copper roof to the main temple, historic bell with legal sanctity and many more interesting things.

A very special feature in Mardol temple is the appearance of Shri Mahalasa in various

Alankaars at various periods, sometimes during various times of the day.

To the keen devotee, she appears as various Gods and Goddesses and Special Puja Offerings can be made to the deity.

In the Mahalasa Narayani form, Mahalasa has four hands, carrying a Trishula, a sword, a severed head, and a drinking bowl. She stands on a prostate man or demon, as a tiger or lion licks blood dripping from the severed head. She also wears the yajnopavita (sacred thread), which is generally dedicated on male deities.

Temple Timings

The opening and closing time of the temple are: 9:30 AM to 07:30 PM.

Aarti Timings

Daily: 12:30 pm & 8:30 pm

The Aartis are performed in the following order:

  1. Shri Santeri
  2. Shri Laxminarayan
  3. Shri Gram Purush
  4. Shri Bhagwati
  5. Shri Mahalasa
  6. Shri Sinha Purush

Pooja/Puja Information

  • On every #Sunday, there is Palakhi procession of Shri Mahalasa at 5.45 p.m.
  • On every Panchami, there is Palakhi procession of Shri Santeri at 5.45 p.m.
  • On every Ekadashi day Shri Vithobalankar Pooja is offered to Shri Mahalasa.
  • If any Sunday or any Panchami falls on a day of any special Vahanotsava, the Palakhi Utsava is replaced by that Vahanotsava.
  • If a Sunday and a Panchami falls on the same day, the Palakhi procession of Shri Santeri leaves out first.
  • Shri Mahalasa Palakhi leaves later so as to join Shri Santeri Palakhi when it arrives in front of Shri Mahalasa Temple. The joint procession proceeds further till Shri Santeri Palakhi completes its round at that temple. Thereafter Shri Mahalasa Palakhi proceeds
    further on its round. This is a rare exciting memorable occasion to witness.

Parashurama’s instructions

Lord Parshurama’s instructions to the devotees of Shri Mahalasa is: She is to be worshipped during the nine parts of the day, namely,

Pratahkal as Adhishakti,
Purvanha as Mahamaya,
Madhyanha as Mulaprakruti,
Aparanha as Ishwari,
Sayamkal as Gandhadhwara,
Pradosh as Duradarsha,
Ratri as Nithyapushta,
Madhya Ratri as Karishini, and,
Apar Ratri as Shri Devi, respectively.

She is to be worshipped by reciting 24 names:

Durga, Bhadrakali, Vijaya, Vaishnavi, Kumuda, Dandika, Krishna, Madhavi, Kanyaka, Maya, Narayani, Shanta, Sharada, Ambika, Katyayani, Baldurga, Maha Yogini, Adhishwari, Yog Nidra, Mahalaxmi, Kalratri, Mohini, Sarva Deu Namaskarya, and, Bharati.

And, says Lord Parshurama, “She will fulfill all your wishes.”


  • Gudi Padwa
  • Shri Ram Navami
  • Akshaya Tritiya
  • Gokulashthami
  • Navratri
  • Ratha Saptami
  • Maha Shivaratri

Facilities at Temple

The Shri Mahalasa Saunsthan, Mardol, has 26 two-room blocks and four three-room blocks, all with an attached toilet and bathroom. Each room is provided with one cot, two mattresses with pillows.

There is a full-fledged canteen where breakfast and meals are available, at subsidised rates. It is preferable to intimate the canteen your requirements, in advance, if required.

There is a hall called Shri Mahalasa Hall with chairs to seat about 600 persons and for meals, squatting on the floor for 300 people. The hall is used for Samaradhana on all functions of the temple. The hall is attached with a cooking section with cooking vessels, chairs and other required items for the functions. When it is not required for the Saunsthan, the hall is rented out for marriages and thread ceremonies to the devotees.

For other information and booking of rooms, one has to go the office of the Saunsthan situated on the left hand side of the main entrance.

How to Reach

By Road

The temple of Shri Mahalasa Narayani is situated in Verna of Salcette taluka, South Goa. It is about 10 km from the city of Madgaon. Many inter-state government-run and privately operated buses travel through Verna, which also boasts of a sprawling industrial estate..

By Rail

The nearest railway station is Madgaon, which is the main station connecting Goa, on the Konkan Railway, from where one can take bus or taxi to Verna. A passenger train also connects Madgaon to Verna.

By Air

The airport is located at Dabolim, which is 30 km from Panaji or Margao.

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