By Nivedita Khandekar
New Delhi, February 6 (SocialNews.XYZ) Unlike several other ancient temples that are barely known beyond their devotees to the rest of the world, the Mangeshi temple in Goa, some 21 km from Panaji, is popular in the Itinerary of tourists visiting India’s Sunshine. Express.
Mangeshi is the place where the first Hindi film music family traces its roots: Lata Mangeshkar and her siblings get their surname from Mangeshi, which is where their father, Master Dinanath, was born in 1900.
Deep in the heart of Goa, the village of Mangeshi, spreads over less than 2 square kilometers. with some 200 houses, it forms part of the town of Priyol on the winding Panaji-Fonda highway. The main attraction is the just over 450 year old Mangesh temple built in the typical Goan style, complete with a deep ‘maal’, a vertical decorative pillar with niches to hold earthen oil lamps and a temple tank.
The current temple was built in 1560 after the main deity was moved from its original location in Kushasthali in the Salshet (Salcete) area, where the Portuguese had begun committing atrocities in the name of conversion.
The current location of the temple was then part of the Antruj Mahal area, which was never under the Portuguese. In these many centuries of existence, the temple complex managed by a wholly private trust has undergone major renovations three times.
Mangesh or Mangirish, an avatar of Lord Shiva, is the main deity of the devotees of the Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) temple. There are a number of outlying temples in the complex that are well maintained and need a half mile walk from the main road.
Although Master Dinanath was born in Mangeshi, he soon moved to Kolhapur to start his own theater company. But before leaving Goa, he underwent a name change.
“Master Dinanath’s mother was a devadasi in the temple. Dinanath himself was a sevekari,” said Bhushan Bhave, one of the Mangeshi temple priests.
Sevekari is a term used for those who perform various temple-related activities as a hereditary duty. They resided in the town; many of them still do. The devadasi system was a matrilineal tradition where women, also known as ‘kalavantin’ for their knowledge of the performing arts, dedicated their lives to the service of the main deity.
The British first tried to stop such practices in the 1930s, claiming that they led to prostitution. Goa, however, was then under Portuguese rule.
“Some say his last name was Hardikar, but he came to be known as Abhisheki because he performed ‘abhishek’ at the temple,” Bhave told IANS by phone from Mangeshi. “However, when Dinanath migrated to Kolhapur, he chose a new identity, Mangeshkar, which meant someone came from Mangeshi,” added Bhave.
None of the five Mangeshkar brothers lived in Mangeshi, but one or the other visited the deity from time to time. Despite its occasional association, that little spot on the Indian map will always be famous for the Mangeshkars.
(Nivedita Khandekar can be contacted at [email protected])
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