TEMPLES OF INDIA. GOSHAL, NEAR MANALI, HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA.
The Goshali Naaga temple.
On an elevated stretch of pious ground in the village of Goshal, a collage of woodwork, stone and slate of divine stature unveil an evolved version of the ancient Kath Kuni form of architecture that originated thousands of years ago in the lofty hills of Himachal then gained perfection at the hands of artisans, out to improve their ancestors’ craft through a natural process of human trial and error over the course of generations.
Traditionally made out of natural materials such as timber and stones, the Kath Kuni, a Himachali invention, is considered to be a highly efficient building technique with thought and consideration embedded in the blue print. A complete building is conceived to be everything from a seismic structure, a natural thermal storage to a fitting example of modern day sustainable architecture. Its origin is a likely result of geographically available resources and the harsh weather of the region.
The temple is dedicated to the trinity of two venerable sages from Vedic mythology and a serpent deity. More precisely Gautam Maharishi (a learned sage, who turned his wife into stone, after her supposedly adulterous affair with the king of Gods, Indra), Ved Vyasa (the author of the Mahabharata) and Kana Naga – one of the many sons of Vaskui (the mythic lord of snakes coiled around Shiva’s neck) begot in marriage with a local girl of the very village of Goshal – Kana Naga earned his honorific after losing an eye in an accidental fire started by his grandmother (see Farbound.Net story: Behind the myth of the serpent people).
In local folk lore, the original temple was built after a man out tilting his farm long ago stumbled upon a holy relic and had a heavenly voice reveal its identity as the embodiment of the trinity. Born dumb the encounter blessed him with the power of speech.
- File fact, Goshali Naaga temple
An ancient custom still associated with the trinity temple of Goshal (as well as a few others in the upper valley) is the annual event of prophecy held in the freezing winter month of January. For 42 days the entire village is stated to maintain absolute silence as a mark of respect for the deities who they believe engage in meditation this time of the year. During the period the temple door are kept shut and the interior sprinkled with fertile earth. At the end of the spell, what appears on top of the soil, is a prediction of events to unfold.