Shishila – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Thanks to my friends Ananthu and Bharata, I was able to obtain information and photos of the Sri Shishileshwara Temple at Shishila near Dharmasthala. This article is with their kind permission.

Shishila is a small village about 32kms from Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district. It has a beautiful Shiva Temple. It is believed that the idol, in the form of a Linga, surfaced on its own and was never established by anyone (Udbhava Linga). The temple is on the banks of the river Kapila (a small river which later merges with Netravati).

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Shishila Temple

 

Temple entrance
Temple entrance

The main deity here is Sri Shishileshwara. Along with this, idols of Sri Durga and Mahaganapati are also present. Due to Ananth’s visit during noon, the temple doors were closed and therefore the photographs of the idols could not be obtained.

 

Nandi
Nandi

 

Garbha Gudi
Garbha Gudi

The main bhootas in this temple are Pili Chamundi, Rakteshwari and Rudrandi.

Address: Sri Shishileshwara Temple, Shishila, Belthangadi Taluk, Dakshina Kannada – 574198

How to get there: From Dharmasthala, take the road towards Kokkada and travel 16kms. On the Kokkada-Shibaje road, turn towards Shibaje and travel a further 16kms to reach Shishila.

Contact: by snail mail

 

Bhutas
Bhutas

 

 

 

Inscription
Inscription

Sightseeing: There are many scenic places around the Shishila temple that is a nature lover’s delight. Kumara hill, Meena Gundi, Kavina Kana, Remnants of an old fort and other places are all very close to Shishila.

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Mundkur – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Along the river Shambhavi in Dakshina Kannada, an unbelievable number of ancient and beautiful temples exist. Most of these are thousands of years old and carry an amazing amount of historical significance. There are mainly a lot of Shiva and Durga temples along this line. Even after dedicating myself to just this stretch every time I visit Tulu Nadu, I have not yet managed to cover even half of them.

Sri Mundkur Durga Parameshwari Temple is another such wonderful temple. It is along the Shambhavi river coast and can be reached if one takes the Belmann-Moodabidri road from Udupi. Along with Inna-Muddanu, this temple also was established  by Sage Bharadwaja Bhargava. In fact, this temple along with Inna is the Kula Devata temple for many people in Tulu Nadu who have Bhargava  Gotra. On the day I visited this temple, a special alankara with Sandal paste was made to the main idol and Devi was looking resplendent in a golden hue.

Sri Durga Parameshwari
Sri Durga Parameshwari
Sri Ganapathi
Sri Ganapathi

The Ganapathi idol in the temple is fully covered with silver and looks very auspicious. This temple has a history of more than 1200 years old. The priest of the temple took me to the well used to draw water for the rituals. The rings of the well have not been changed over the years and stand as archaeological proof for the age of the temple. There are deep grooves on all the rings which stand as testimony to the fact that this temple has been in existence for thousands of years.

Very old well
Very old well
Theertha Mantapa
Theertha Mantapa

This temple, over the years, had been patronised by the rulers of Moodabidri. In fact, legend has it that the King and Queen of Moodabidri, when visiting the temple praying in front of the idol, the ear rings of the Queen dropped down. The Queen gave it as an offering to the idol. The ear rings are used to decorate the idol of Durga even today. Two wooden pillars were also carved on behalf of the King in memory of this event.

Wooden pillars
Wooden pillars
Garbha Gudi
Garbha Gudi

From one of the books available at the temple, I managed to obtain a photo of the idol without any decoration. It is an amazing carving!

dsc00812The annual festival in the temple starts from the 22nd day of Makara (Feb) and is held for 8 days. It is considered very auspicious to offer ‘Jaji’ and ‘Mallige’ flowers to Durga here. Hence, a lot of devotees visit this temple carrying these flowers.

Name: Sri Durga Parameshwari Temple

Location: Mundkur, Udupi District

Main deities: Durga, Ganapathi

Bhutas: Doomavathy, Varahi, Pili chamundi, Rakteshwari

Gopuram
Gopuram

Address: Sri Durga Parameshwari Temple, Mundkur, Karkala Taluk, Udupi district – 576121

Contact: by snail mail

How to get there: From Udupi, take the Karkala road via Padubidri. A few kilometres later, take the deviation to Belmann. Mundkur lies on this stretch.

Specialities: Mundkur is surrounded by the river Shambhavi on three sides (East, South and West). Around Mundkur, four Shiva temples are located – Posaral towards South-East, Inna-Muddanu towards North-East, Ulepadi towards South-West and Bola towards North-West.

More photos can be seen here.

Inna Muddanu – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Inna Muddanu is another beautiful Shiva temple on the banks of River Shambhavi in Tulu Nadu. I was told by the priest of Posaral temple that there are 11 Shiva temples just on the banks of the river itself. Inna is one of them. The main deity of this temple is Sri Mahalingeshwara. As found in almost every other temple in Tulu Nadu, there is also a Ganapathi idol here towards the South West corner of the temple.

 

Sri Mahalingeshwara
Sri Mahalingeshwara

 

Ganapathi
Ganapathi

According to the legend of the place, the great sage Bhargava performed penance of Lord Shiva at a nearby hill. Pleased with the penance, Lord Shiva blessed Bhargava and granted a boon that he would come down and stay in the form of a Linga nearby. That is how the Inna temple came into being. Even today, Inna Mahalingeshwara (along with Sri Durga Parameshwari of nearby Mundkur, also established by Sage Bhargava) is the Kula Devata for a majority of families from the Bhargava Gotra in Tulu Nadu.

 

Prangana
Prangana
Ganapathi Gudi
Ganapathi Gudi

The garbha gudi and theertha mantapa are also built in typical Dakshina Kannada temple style. The main Bhuta worshipped in the temple is Varahi (Panjurli).

 

Garbha Gudi
Garbha Gudi

 

Theertha mantapa
Theertha mantapa

The mantapa also has beautiful carvings on the pillars. The Nandi idol in the mantapa is also very beautiful.

 

Statue
Statue

 

Statue 2
Statue 2

Name: Sri Mahalingeshwara Devasthana.

Location: Inna Muddanu, Udupi District.

Main deities: Mahalingeshwara, Ganapati

Bhutas: Panjurli

 

Entrance
Entrance

Address: Inna Muddanu Sri Mahalingeshwara Devasthana, Karkala Taluk, Udupi District – 576 146

Telephone: 08258 – 268108

How to get there: On the Udupi Mangalore highway, turn right at Padubidri towards Karkala. After about 8 kilometres, you will reach Adve. Turn right here and travel about 3kms. You will find a board for Inna. Turn left here and travel a further 3kms to reach Inna.

More photos can be found here.

Specialities: The temple was recently renovated in 2006 and is in excellent condition. There are lots of facilities to take care of travelers here. This place has a recorded history of more than 1300 years. It is certainly worth a visit the next time you are around Udupi.

Palimaru – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Palimaru is a small village very close to Udupi.  This village is the headquarters of the Palimaru Matha, one of the 8 mathas founded by Sri Madhvacharya. The first pontiff of this matha was Sri Hrishikesha Theertha, who was a direct disciple of Srimadacharya. The current pontiff is Sri Sri Vidyadheesha Theertha Swamiji.

Garbha gudi
Garbha gudi
Photo of Samsthana Devaru
Photo of Samsthana Devaru

The moola devaru of the Matha is “Sita Lakshmana Sahita Sri Rama”. Since the Swamiji was not in Palimaru when I visited the place, we could not get to see the main idols. The Garbha Gudi was also locked. But the matha itself is amazing. It is as if one has gone back 800 years into history. The matha and the temple is built in typical Dakshina Kannada style.

Matha
Matha
Matha 2
Matha 2
Matha 3
Matha 3

Another main attraction of the matha is the Mukhya Prana or Anjaneya temple. It is situated right behind the main temple. This temple was constructed a few years back and is very well known in Dakshina Kannada already. People call it the temple of the “Mathanaduva Anjaneya” or “Talking Hanuman”. Countless devotees have had their wishes fullfilled here after sincere prayers. The small temple is very beautiful to look at and the idol itself is very attractive. This temple is one of my favorites in Dakshina Kannada.

Mukhya Prana
Mukhya Prana
Anjaneya Temple
Anjaneya Temple

Another of the glorious attractions of the temple is the Brundavana of Sri Sri Vidya Manya Theertha Swamiji, the previous pontiff of the Palimaru Matha. He was one of the greatest Yatis of the 20th century and the Guru of several Dvaita scholars and pontiffs such as Sri Sri Vishvesha Tirtha Swamiji of the Pejavara Matha and Sri Sri Vishva Priya Theertha Swamiji of the Adamaru Matha. I call Sri Sri Vidya Manya Theertha the Raghavendra Swamiji of the 20th century.

Sri Sri Vidyamanya Theertha Brundavana
Sri Sri Vidyamanya Theertha Brundavana
Brundavana
Brundavana

Right behind the Anjaneya Garbha Gudi is located the Brundavanas of several past pontiffs of the Palimaru Matha. Some other brundavanas are located to the southern side of the temple. There is a board put up there which gives details of the Swamijis whose brundavanas are located at this matha. The earliest brundavana was from the 1300s!

Other Brundavanas
Other Brundavanas
Details of the Brundavanas
Details of the Brundavanas

The matha also has a beautiful Pushkarani with crystal clear water. Right behind the matha flows the Shambhavi river. There is a mini-bridge-cum-dam built over the river there. The sceneries around the river are breath-taking.

River Shambhavi
River Shambhavi
Shambhavi River
Shambhavi River
Mini dam
Mini dam

Name: Sri Palimaru Matha

Location: Palimaru, Padubidri, Udupi District

Main deities: Sri Rama, Mukhya Prana

Address: Sri Palimaru Matha, Near Padubidri, Udupi District

How to get there: On the Udupi Mangalore highway, turn towards Nitte/Karkala at Padubidri junction. Travel 4-5 kms to reach a junction called Adve. Turn right here and travel about 3-4 kms to reach Palimaru matha.

Other specialities: There is also a very ancient Shiva temple located at Palimaru village. In the Anjaneya temple, the priests perform Vayu Stuti Purascharane to the main idol based on our request. A lot of people come here and get the Purascharane done. It is considered very auspicious.

Best time to visit: All through the year

More photos can be found here.

The matha now has a very informative website of their own. Click here.

Kulai – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Kulai is a very, and I mean very ancient temple in Tulu Nadu. It is a small locality on the outskirts of Mangalore city, and has been merged within the City limits now. It is located on the Mangalore – Udupi highway, close to Suratkal. The main deity in this temple is Lord Vishnu, known as Vishnu Murthy.

 

Vishnumurthy
Vishnumurthy

 

 

Ganapati
Ganapati

The antiquity of the temple can be guaged by a close look at the main deity’s idol. Even without any scientific examination, it becomes clear that the idol is several hundred years old, at the least. In true Tulu Nadu style, the temple also has a Ganapati idol. In addition, the temple has a very attractive and revered Naga statue.

 

Naga devaru
Naga devaru

 

Theertha mantapa
Theertha mantapa

The main Bhuta in the temple is Panjurli which has its own “Gudi” towards the South-east corner of the temple. The temple also has an attractive “Pushkarani” or pond and a separate section for conducting Bhuta Kolas.

 

Pushkarani
Pushkarani

 

Bhuta mantapa
Bhuta mantapa

Name: Sri Vishnumurthy Devasthana

Location: Kulai, Dakshina Kannada district

Main deities: Vishnu, Ganapati, Nagas

Bhuta: Panjurli

 

Panjurli
Panjurli

 

Main idol
Main idol

Address: Sri Vishnumurthy Devasthana, Kulai, Mangalore – 575019

Telephone: 91-824-2408090

Contact: By phone or snail mail

How to get there: On the Mangalore – Udupi highway, Kulai is located 17kms from Mangalore, just prior to Suratkal. You will find the temple arch on the right as soon as you enter Kulai limits (while traveling from Mangalore). The temple is a kilometre away once you enter through the arch.

Annual festival: Starting from the 18th day of Meena masa, for five days (typically in the first week of April)

Best time to visit: October to May

Specialities: Being a Vishnu temple, Kulai is very well known for the numerous “Bhajan” programs held there. You are sure to attend a Bhajan session if you happen to visit on a Saturday or a Wednesday.

More photos can be found here.

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

Seemanthooru – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Seemanthooru is a small village near Mulki, close to the Mangalore – Udupi Highway. The village is close to the Mulki railway station. The name Seemanthooru is an offshoot of “Shrimantara Ooru” which means “land of the rich!”. Seemanthooru was indeed the land of the rich. I was recently discussing the history of another temple – Atturu Bailu Ganapati devasthana and the priest there mentioned that they (priests) were originally from Seemanthooru and hundreds of years ago, they came down to Bailu.

Seemanthooru has a Janardana temple. It is known as the Sri Adi Janardana Devasthana. It has a very interesting story behind why the temple is called as “Adi” Janardana temple.

 

Sri Adi Janardana
Sri Adi Janardana

 

 

Sri Janardana
Sri Janardana

Speciality: The Seemanthooru Janardana temple was established by Bhagawan Parashurama. It is one of the several temples in the Tulu Nadu region that was established by Parashurama. According to Shastras, temple idols established by Rishis and Aparoksha Gnanis (realized souls) never get “damaged”. A few hundred years ago, the idol of Janardana was damaged ( I believe the hand got broken). A few villagers got together and made a new idol and established the same, after which the temple and village declined. Upon enquiring with scholars, it emerged that the original idol still has the full Sannidhana and hence the problem. The idol was repaired and placed back. The original idol is now known as “Adi Janardana” and the new idol is also within the same temple. Hence this unique temple has two Janardana idols!

 

Prangana
Prangana
Tirtha Mantapa
Tirtha Mantapa

Another unique feature of this temple is that it is one of the very few temples in Tulu Nadu that does not have a Ganapati idol! When I checked this with the priest, he mentioned that Seemanthooru Janardana is the “Akhilanda Koti Brahmanda Nayaka” and hence there is no other idol! Now, note that several Vishnu temples in Tulu Nadu do have Ganapati idols and hence Seemanthooru is really different.

 

Garbha Gudi
Garbha Gudi

 

Temple entrance
Temple entrance

Name: Sri Adi Janardana Devasthana.

Location: Seemanthooru, Mulki, Dakshina Kannada.

Main deities: Adi Janardana, Janardana

Bhutas: Rakteshwari

 

Address: Sri Adi Janardana Temple, Shimanthur, Post Panjinadka – 574 195, Mulky, D.K

Contact: By snail mail.

Telephone: 0824 – 2294745

How to get there: From Mangalore, reach Mulki using the Udupi highway and then turn right towards Kinnigoli.  About 2kms later, you will find a temple arch. Turn left and travel 1km.

Annual festival: For 6 days starting Kumbha Masa Saptami (late February – early March)

 

Pushkarani
Pushkarani

More photos.

Muchur – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Muchur is a small little village located close to Mudabidri. It is located 6 kms off the Kinnigoli – Mudabidri road. The village is famous for its Durga Parameshwari Temple. The temple is magnificent and large and has been renovated a few years ago.

 

Muchur entrance
Muchur entrance

 

 

Sri Durga Parameshwari
Sri Durga Parameshwari

The temple has a very close link to the Nellitheertha Somanatheshwara Temple. Local legend has it that when sage Jabali performed a penance at the Nellitheertha Cave, Lord Durga appeared there and assured him that the demon Arunasura would be killed (at Kateel). She then blessed the region to have three temples in close proximity. Thus the Nellitheertha, Muchur and Kompadavu (Vishnu) temples came into existence.

 

Tirtha Mantapa
Tirtha Mantapa

 

 

Prakara
Prakara

 

 

Name: Sri Durga Parameshwari Devasthana.

Location: Muchur, Mangalore Taluk, Dakshina Kannada.

Main deities: Durga Parameshwari, Ganapati.

Bhutas: Rakteshwari, Jumadi

 

 

Ganapati
Ganapati

 

 

 

Bhuta Sthana
Bhuta Sthana

 

 

Specialities: The temple Bhutas here do not have any Bhuta Kolas done to them. Instead, the Maisandaya Bhuta which stays nearby in a chieftain’s house is brought to the temple during its annual festival and is treated as the main Bhuta and Kola is offered.

 

Bhuta Gudi
Bhuta Gudi

 

Address: Sri Durga Parameshwari Devasthana, Muchur, Neerude Post, Mangalore Taluk, Dakshina Kannada – 574163.

Contact: By snail mail.

How to get there: From Mangalore, take the Mudabidri Road, cross Gurupura, Kaikamba and Ganjimatha. Turn left towards Muchur as you near Yedapadavu. Muchur is 8kms from here.

More photos.

Posaral – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Posaral is another beautiful, sleepy little village on the border of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts. It has an extremely old temple of Lord Mahalingeshwara and Mahaganapati. The temple was renovated in 2006 and we found that it has all the basic infrastructure. 

The local priest informed us that there is recorded evidence of the temple having existed more than 1200 years ago.

We (me and my cousin Vasu) got hold of a book published by the locals about 2 years ago. It mentions the existence of a pillar in the village dating back to the 12th century in which the chieftain of Barkur has recorded his gifting of the village to some one from this place.

 

Name: Sri Mahalingeshwara Mahaganapati Devasthana.

Location: Posaral, Karkala Taluk.

Main deities: Mahalingeshwara, Mahaganapati, Nagas, Brahma.

Bhutas: Panjurli

The temple is located on the banks of the river Shambhavi. Another unique thing about this temple is that there are some very antique carvings on the pillars of the Theertha Mantap.

Specialities: The speciality of this temple is that the locals believe that the Lord here is very pleased with tender coconut abhishekam. So it is a custom to offer the Lord a few tender coconuts if one’s wishes (as requested to the Lord) comes true.

Address: Sri Mahalingeshwara Mahaganapati Devasthana, Saccharipete, Mundkur village, Karkala Taluk, Udupi – 576128.

Contact: By snail mail.

How to get there: From Mangalore, reach Mulki and then turn right towards Kinnigoli. After Kinnigoli, reach Moorukaveri and turn left towards Belmann. Reach Jaarikatte and turn right. You will find an arch to Posaral on the right side after about 2kms.

More photos.

Yelinje – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Yelinje was the first temple I visited as part of my project. This is a small but beautiful temple located near Kinnigoli, about 30kms from Mangalore. Yelinje has a Lakshmi Janardana temple. The temple also has a Mahaganapati idol. Here is some information on the temple.

 

 

Name: Sri Lakshmi Janardana Mahaganapati Devasthana.

Location: Yelinje, Mangalore Taluk.

Main deities: Lakshmi Janardana, Mahaganapati, Nagas.

Bhutas: Panjurli, Rakteshwari

 

Specialities: A Bavali Dhama (bat colony) right next to the temple. Hundreds of bats are perched on a few huge trees and survive on the temple food. The bats do not harm anyone.

 

 

Address: Sri Lakshmi Janardana Mahaganapati Devasthana, Yelinje, Mangalore Taluk – 574 141.

Contact: 0824-295063

How to get there: From Mangalore, reach Mulki and then turn right towards Kinnigoli. After Kinnigoli, reach Moorukaveri and turn left towards Belmann. Yelinje is located about 5 kms from here.

Annual festival: From Magha masa, Shukla paksha, shashthi till dashami (typically in February).

Misc: The temple was renovated in 2003 and is in reasonably good shape now. The temple area is very serene and is located amidst lush greenery. The drive from Moorukaveri to Yelinje is really enjoyeable.