Shisharanni at Gaodongrim



‘Shisharanni’ is a traditional ritual that takes place every third year at the time of traditional Shigmo festival at the Mallikarjun Temple in Gaodongrim, Canacona.. The word Shisharanni derives its name from two words – ‘shisha’ which is a kind of tree and ‘ranni’ which represent a traditional cooking place. The ritual is linked to three ‘gades’, who are believed to be humanoid representations of God on earth, for a short period of time.

The heads of three gades are covered with wet cloth and layers of plantain trunk. The procedure of Shisharanni begins with religious rituals. The three gades then lay down on floor in three different positions keeping their head together, representing a traditional stove. A person involved in the ritual, pierces a needle with thread on the arm and the back each gado rendering them unconscious. The piercing of the needle represents that the gades are blessed with the powers of God. Unconscious of what is happening, the bark of banana tree is then arranged near their heads to place an earthen pot over them, which rice is cooked. Then the branches of Shisha tree are burnt under the pot, creating a replica of a cooking stove. Even when the burnt shisha is kept close to the heads of three gades, they are not affected as it is believed by locals that they are protected by God.

After the rice is cooked, a person using a sword makes a cut in the crown of the head of another person involved in the ritual. The blood that emerges from this wound is then added to the cooked rice. The slitting of the head of a person and the use of his blood represents a sacrifice. Finally, the cooked rice with a drop of blood is thrown at the people. However because the rice is cooked using sacrificial blood, it is considered bad luck and thus people move away when it is thrown at them.

Gaodongrim consists of 12 villages. A person from each village gets a cane, which is inserted in water, considered to be holy, and this water is served to the people after the completion of Shisharanni.People from different parts of Goa as well as believers from Karwar and nearby, make a visit to pray to the God they believe in.

Article appeared in the Navhind Times – Buzz


When rice is cooked on a stove of 3 heads

Rajendra P Kerkar

Hard as it is to believe, three villagers in Canacona taluka’s Gaondongorim “offered” their heads as the stove on which rice was cooked on a wood fire. Shisharanni, as this biennial festival is called, will takes place at Canacona’s Sristhal. It attracts hundreds of spectators and devotees to the Mallikarjun temple deep within the Western Ghats on the Canacona-Sanguem border. To the tribals who’ve been celebrating this festival since eons, it is an appeasement to Malkajan, as Mallikarjun is locally known, an effort to get his blessings on the community. Shisharanni, or cooking on shisham wood, is also called Shirsharanni-cooking with the help of three human heads.

The Mallikarjun temple was built by the local residents, Habbus, and an inscription on its wall says it was reconstructed in 1778. Tradition has it that from the full moon day of Paush, the tenth month of the Hindu calendar, to the full moon day of the last month, Phalgun, idols used on festive occasions are taken in a procession along the Goa-Karnataka border to the devotees scattered across various hamlets. When this procession finally winds its way back home, it is welcomed by troupes of folk artistes and the Bhovari, locals from Gaondongorim’s 12 hamlets. The folk artistes enter the temple with four insignias known as tarangas. As the folk instruments belt out their music, the devotees known as avatars enter into a trance.

Three devotees in traditional costumes and sporting turbans then lie on the floor with their heads serving as the sides of a makeshift stove. On this ‘stove’ an earthen pot with rice, human blood and water is placed. Burning logs of shisham are put under it. The entire act never fails to elicit shocked expressions from the crowd. After the rice is cooked it is sprinkled among the gathered even as the three devotees are taken inside the temple. The assembled people then pray before blessings before the insignias of the deities.


Photos by Lynn Barreto Miranda /

Clicked on 29th March 2013.


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