The ancient temple of Shri Mallikarjun is located near the small village of Sristhal, in the southern most taluka of Canacona. Sristhal is about 5 km drive away from the taluka headquarters of Chaudi which is about 75 kilometers from Panaji.
The temple lies in an enchanting location in a valley, completely surrounded by blue mountains and greenery. The temple is at least 200 years old, as per the writing on a plaque near the temple dome.
The temple is believed to have been constructed during the Middle of the 16th century by ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj. It was renovated in the year 1778.
There are some extremely beautiful carved wooden pillars inside the temple building the likes of which are not found in any other temple in Goa. The carving has been done by skilled craftsmen who were brought here from the southern Indian states.
The six pillars in the mandap (hall) have scenes from the Puranas and Mahabharat carved on them. There are beautifully carved profiles of dwarpal (doorkeeper) on either side of the door leading to the inner sanctum.
The temple is dedicated to Shri Mallikarjun who is yet another incarnation of Lord Shiva and he is also known as Adavat Sinhasanadhishwar Mahapati Canacona among the locals. According to legend, the location of the temple is supposed to be the place where Lord Shiva met his consort Parvati after a long separation.
The annual festival or Jatra held at the temple is quite unique among the temple festivals of Goa. Early morning on the day of the festival, the idol of the deity is taken out in a procession which travels for almost 2-3 hours to reach the nearby Kindlebag beach. A number of rituals including a special bath for the deity are held at the beach, after which the deity returns to the temple. Hundreds of devotees have a holy bath at the same time on the seashore.
Besides the annual Jatra, the temple is also famous for some unique occasions on which some special rituals are held.