Bali Kallu – Temples of Tulu Nadu

No, this is not the name of a temple 🙂 I am writing today about another unique aspect of temples in Tulu Nadu. Almost all the temples here have “Bali Kallu” or “Bali Stones”. These are small stones laid around the sanctum sanctorum and the outer perimeter of the temple.  

 

Bali Kallu

Bali Kallu

 

 

In front of the Dhwaja Sthambha

In front of the Dhwaja Sthambha

These stones are representative of the various GaNas present in the temple. I have seen these Bali Kallus in almost all temples in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. They represent the various Grahas, Matrukas, Adityas, Rudras, Kshetrapala and so on.

 

 

Kallu - inside temple

Kallu - inside temple

 

 

Multiple deities

Multiple deities

During the annual festival in temples, a majority of the ceremonies concern these Bali Kallus. It is said that the festival is actually meant to please these lesser deities as they are the ones who really take care of the Grama (village) for one whole year. Hence, there is a system of bringing the God’s idol out for “Bali” or rounds during the festival and during these rounds, the various Bali Kallus are offered Puje. In some sense, it is equivalent to the boss of the organization (Lord) offering annual bonuses to the employees (gaNas).

 

Linga

Linga

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