The temple of Mahalsa Narayani is located at the small village of Mardol, just about a kilometre from the famous Mangueshi temple and about 22 kms from Panaji, the capital city.
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.
Mahalsa is also worshipped as the consort of the folk god Khandoba, a form of the god Shiva. In this tradition, she is associated with Parvati, Shiva’s wife as well as Mohini. It is also believed that she is incarnation of Parvati with the beauty of Mohini as per Lord Shiva’s wish.
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.
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.
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.