I know I begin almost every article on a Temple by saying its an “extra-ordinary” or “unique” temple 🙂 but trust me, that’s exactly what they are! As I continue my discovery of Tulu Nadu, my awe for this great great place only keeps increasing.
This time, I managed to cover Athuru Bailu, a tiny hamlet near Kinnigoli-Mulki. Athuru Bailu has an ancient Maha Ganapati temple. Believe it or not, this temple is actually just the God worshipped at the home of the Udupa family of Athuru Bailu! The sanctity of this place is so high that the nearby villages consider it as a temple. People who pass by the Udupa home, stop by, get into the ‘temple’, offer their prayers and only then do they move on.
The temple, its idol and the Udupa family have a recorded history of more than 700 years! Two Udupa brothers came down south from Kandavara in search of a better place to reside. They came along with their diety – the Mahaganapati. Local legend has it that when the two brothers were walking near Athuru, a cloud was following them to protect them from the heat. Villagers saw this and reported it to the local chieftain. He requested them to stay back in his village and asked them to choose any place they liked. When they came to the place where the temple is currently located, they found a mongoose and snake co-existing. They instantly chose the place and the temple has existed ever since.
Out of the two brothers, one of them settled down in nearby Bappanadu Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple. In fact, the Udupas of Bailu played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Bappanadu temple. Even today, during the annual festival of Bappanadu, a customary felicitation of the Udupas is done as a mark of respect.
Along with the Mahaganapati, Bailu also has the Panjurli Bhoota. It is believed that Annappa Panjurli Bhoota came down to Bailu from Dharmasthala when one of the Udupas had gone there for a visit. Trust me, the Panjurli of Bailu is one of the most powerful Bhootas in Tulu Nadu. Even to this today, during the Bhoota Kola, there is a segment when Panjurli ‘demonstrates’ his power by throwing the Udupas up from their seats and knocking them unconscious. No one except Panjurli is able to wake them up! Watch this youtube video to see what I am talking about.
The Athuru Bailu Udupa family is one of the most well known families of Tulu Nadu. They are the official astrologers for even the Kateel Sri Durga Parameshwari Temple! The almanac they bring out is the most widely circulated almanac in the entire Tulu Nadu region, and has been published for over 100 years now.
Name: Sri Athuru Bailu Mahaganapati Devasthana
Bhootas: Panjurli, 2 other smaller ones
Address: Athuru Maagane Mahaganapati Devasthana, Shibarooru Post, Kinnigoli, Mangalore Taluk, Dakshina Kannada
Contact: Snail mail
How to get there: From Mangalore reach Mulki and turn right towards Kinnigoli. About 1km before Kinnigoli town, turn right towards Balavina Gudde. Athuru Bailu is about 5kms from this junction. Locals will accurately guide you to the temple once you take the turn.
More photos: Here
Specialities: “Appada Puje” is very famous in Bailu. Locals get this seve done very regularly. Appa is a special sweet dish, prepared for Ganapati in Tulu Nadu especially. In Appada Puje, a whole lot of ‘Appas’ are made and offered to Ganapati.
Ganesha Chaturthi is an important festival celebrated in Bailu. The Panjurli Kola is held about 3-4 times a year on important ocassions.
The Nandini river flows very close to the Udupa home. Every day, the priest has to compulsorily take bath in the river and only then worship at the temple.