Pajaka is the birthplace of Sri Madhvacharya. Even today, one can find the home of Sri Madhva. I have already written about Pajaka and its importance for Madhvas followers in an earlier post.
Another fascinating aspect of Pajaka is the presence of four ponds or Thirthas around the village. It is believed that these four ponds were created by Lord Parashurama. Sri Madhva, in his childhood, used to visit each of these ponds everyday and take bath in it. In fact, when his mother expressed difficulty in visiting the four ponds everyday, Sri Madhva is said to have created the Vasudeva Thirtha right behind his house and told his mother that taking bath in the new pond is equivalent to taking bath in all four of them. Vasudeva Thirtha has been renovated and one should not miss it when visiting Pajaka.
The first of the four Thirthas is Dhanus (bow) thirtha. This is about 2kms away from the house of Sri Madhva and is on top of a hill. It is an extra-ordinary sight. It is believed that the four ponds never dry up. True to this, we found a huge pool of water at the top of the rocky, dry hill even in the middle of May. Below the hill in the villages, there was not even a drop of water even in wells and ponds!!
The next three Thirthas are closer to Sri Madhva’s house. The next one is Gada (mace) Thirtha. This is at the base of a hillock which has a Parashurama Temple. Pajaka is one of the few places in India where you will find a Parashurama Temple. Another fascinating aspect of these ponds is that even though the rocks containing the ponds is burning hot because of the heat, the water itself is very cool.
The third one is known as Bana (arrow) Thirtha. This one is right behind the Kunjaru Giri hill, which has the famous Durga temple (which was worshipped by Sri Madhva).
The fourth pond is Parashu (axe) Thirtha. This is about half a kilometer behind Sri Madhva’s house and is on top of a small hillock. There is also a Gopala Krishna temple next to the pond.
It is considered very auspicious to visit all four ponds in a single day. The next time you visit Pajaka, ensure you do visit these four Thirthas, and take bath in them, if possible.
Sahasralinga is another fascinating place very close to Sode. It is on the Sirsi – Yellapur highway and is about 9kms from the Sri Vadiraja Swamy matha.
This place is on the banks of the river Shalmala and contains hundreds and hundreds of Shiva lingas. Many of these are complete lingas while a few are incomplete. There are also numerous statues of Nandi, Ganesha and other deities.
This place was used as a school by sculptors over many centuries. Sculptors taughts their students and kids the art of sculpting “Vigrahas” or Idols using the rocks on the banks of this river. Hence one can find so many idols carved out here. It is believed that the place was used by sculptors during the reigns of the Kadambas and Chalukyas also.
Sahasralinga means “Thousand Lingas” and it is obvious how the name came about for this place. There is also a myth associated with this place according to which a local chieftain once had a dream that a thousand lingas needs to carved at this place in one night and that is how the lingas were made. But there is no supporting evidence for the same. Also, if the dream indeed occur, then I am sure a thousand “proper” lingas would have been carved while we can spot a few “incomplete” ones.
In Sode, along with the Sri Vadiraja Matha and the Trivikrama temple, another equally important and fascinating place is the “Tapovana”. This place is about 5 kms from the Matha and is on the banks of the river Shalmala.
Tapovana is the place where Sri Vadiraja Swamy used to sit down for his daily meditation whenever he was in Sode. It was there that Sri Vadiraja Swamy used to meditate upon Lord Hayagriva with a plate of “Hayagriva Maddi”, a special sweet dish made by him, on his head.
It is believed that the Lord used to visit him everyday during his meditation in the form of a horse and eat the sweet offered by him.
Even today, there are lots of relics at the place which are a living proof of the fact that Sri Vadiraja Swamy used to frequent this place and meditate here. Not to mention that there is a lot of tranquility at the place and is ideal for meditation.
There are lots of private jeeps available around the Matha and the drivers, for a nominal amount, double up as guides as well. It is a must visit for those planning to go to Sode.
A couple of stories about the Tapovana and the Trivikrama Temple in a subsequent post.