Nandalike – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Visiting Nandalike was a very interesting experience. I had not planned to cover this temple in my trip this time. I traveled a long way to visit and cover a Shiva temple located close to Nandalike. After searching that temple for over an hour, I discovered that it was closed. There was no one nearby and so I could not enter the temple. I was hugely disappointed. After spending some time looking for the temple folks, I gave up and starting driving back. On the way, I saw a temple arch to my right. My watch showed that I had about 20-25 mins of time before it got completely dark which meant no photos. I instinctively turned right and continued to drive in spite of encountering a very bad stretch of road for about 2 kms. In the end, I reached this temple and to my utter surprise found that this was a Shiva temple as well. Truly, my joy knew no bounds!

Nandalike is located on the Padubidri – Karkala highway and has an ancient and beautiful Shiva (Mahalingeshwara Temple)

Sri Mahalingeshwara
Sri Mahalingeshwara
Sri Mahaganapati
Sri Mahaganapati

It was only after landing at this place that I realized the great history and tradition of this place. In terms of folklore, history and legend, perhaps there is no other place that is as rich as Nandalike. One of the first things I realized is that I would be able to cover only a miniscule amount of what is available here. I instantly promised myself that I would come back here and spend more time to cover all the other important places. This article therefore, is only limited to the Mahalingeshwara Temple.

The temple is built in typical Tulu Nadu style and has “Gudis” for Mahalingeshwara, Mahaganapati and the Daivas. The temple has been renovated and is very well maintained. The priests and administrative heads of the temple were very co-operative and encouraging.

Garbha Gudi
Garbha Gudi
Theertha Mantapa
Theertha Mantapa

Nandalike has a huge number of Daivas. The speciality of this temple is that almost all the Daivas have their own separate abodes. In my next visit, I certainly plan to photograph those individual Gudis. The main Daivas are Uri-Brahma, Veerabhadra, Nandigona, Kumara, Abbaga-Daaraga, Khadgeshwari, Rakteshwari, Annappa, Kshetrapala, Bhutaraja and Gajamalla.

There is a lot of folklore and local legend associated with these Daivas. In fact, the legend has it that the Daivas came to Nandalike first and then they were followed by Sri Mahalingeshwara.

Enclosure for the temple well
Enclosure for the temple well

The main Mahalingeshwara Temple was established by the great Dvaita Saint Sri Vadiraja Swamy of the Sode Matha.

There is a Ashta Lakshmi temple nearby. The temple also has a Mahanagaraja Swamy Sannidhana right next to the Mahalingeshwara Temple.

Near the temple is the house of the local rulers, the Heggades and the Pergades. This is known as the “Chavadi Aramane”. The descendants of this family reside here even to this day and oversee the smooth functioning of the temple and festivals.

Chavadi Aramane
Chavadi Aramane

The temple is located amidst lush greenery. In fact, two sides of the temple are surrounded by a beautiful moat. The pond belonging to the temple is also extremely well maintained.

Temple pond
Temple pond
Moat around temple
Moat around temple

Name: Sri Mahalingeshwara Temple

Location: Nandalike, Udupi, Karnataka

Dieties : Sri Mahalingeshwara, Ganapati

Main Bhootas : Uri Brahma, Rakteshwari, Abbaara – Daaraga, Veerabhadra, Annappa, others

Temple administrators
Temple administrators

Address : Nandalike Sri Mahalingeshwara Devasthana, Naalku Sthana – Nandalike, Karkala Taluk, Udupi District, Karnataka – 576126

Contact : (08258) 316485, Palace: 268347, Temple : 248346

Annual festival: From Shukla Dvadashi in Meena Masa (around Feb-Mar) to Krishna Panchami. The last day is the grandest day during the Jaatre.

Nearby temples: Belmannu Durga Parameshwari, Nandikur Durga Parameshwari, Bola Mrutyunjaya Rudra Somanatha, Inna Mahalingeshwara, Mundkur Durga Parameshwari

Pilichamundi Daivasthana
Pilichamundi Daivasthana

Specialities: The chavadi (hall) in the nearby palace is a very revered place. During the annual festival, disputes between locals are settled here in the presence of the Pergade/Heggade family elders. People lying here are known to have encountered great mishaps in their lives.

The palace has a rich history of its own. The place is definitely worth a visit as a tourist destination, in addition to a spiritual center.

Another highlight about Nandalike is that the great 19th century Kannada poet Muddana was a native of this place.

More photos here.

Lakshmi Shobhane

Once when Sri Vadiraja Swamy was touring South India, he reached Kumbhakonam in what is now Tamil Nadu. There, he was staying in the house of an Acharya for a few days. During his stay, he had defeated many scholars of other schools of philosophy and had made them accept the philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya.

The owner of the place where he was staying had a son whose marriage had got fixed after a long search for a good bride. The parents of the boy had requested Sri Vadiraja Swamy to attend the marriage and bless the couple, to which Sri Swamiji had agreed.

On the day of the marriage, when the rituals were on in full swing, the groom suddenly collapsed on the floor. Within minutes, he was frothing and shivering and ended up motionless. People realized that a small, but poisonous, snake had creeped into the head gear that the groom was wearing. The snake had bit him right on the temple causing instant poisoning.

The local doctor was called in and the groom was pronounced as dead. Some local tantriks were also put to service, but to no avail. People were getting ready to take the body away for cremation.

The father of the groom rushed to Sri Vadiraja Swamy who had not yet arrived at the marriage venue. Sri Swamiji instantly was able to relate to the chain of events. He told the people gathered there that there had been an uneasiness in him since three days and he had realized that something untoward would occur during the marriage. On the morning of that day, at Brahmi Muhurtha (around 4:30AM), he had composed a song in Kannada on Mahalakshmi and Vishnu. The song was about Lakshmi’s marriage to Vishnu during the Samudra Mathana episode (churning of the ocean for Amruta).

Sri Swamiji meditated for a while on his favorite form of Vishnu – Hayavadana – and realized that the groom had an untimely death and that there was still life in the body. He rushed to the venue immediately. There, he sprinked some “Theertha” (holy water) on the body and also some “Mantrakshate”. He sat down there and started singing the newly composed Lakshmi Shobhane song. Lo and behold! Just as the song was to complete, the groom sat up as if he had just got up from deep sleep!

The Lakshmi Shobhane song is one of the most auspicious songs in the Kannada language. Even today, nearly 500 years after its composition, it is sung in almost every wedding in Karnataka. In Tulu Nadu, ladies sing this almost daily during their evening prayers. It is an extremely melodious song with 112 verses in it.

Today, I managed to transliterate this beautiful composition in Kannada and English scripts. Readers can download them from the below links.

Of course, these are also available from the Mantras page.

The song is also sung by gents and is not restricted to ladies. In fact, the most famous rendition of this song is by Sri Vidyabhushana.

May Lord Hayavadana bless all!

P.S: The extent to which this song is famous can be guaged from the fact that in the film “Madhvacharya” made by Sri G V Iyer, there is a scene in which young Vasudeva (Madhvacharya) is made to attend a wedding.  The film shows the ladies in the wedding singing the Lakshmi Shobhane song when the song was actually composed nearly 300 years later 🙂

Sri Vadiraja Jayanthi

Today, Magha Masa – Shukla Paksha – Dwadashi, is the auspicious ocassion of Sri Vadiraja Jayanthi – the day when the great Dvaita saint was born. I have written a couple of times earlier about some of the great incidents associated with him so I won’t repeat the same again. He was a great saint, philosopher, poet, social reformer and administrator.

Sri Vadiraja Swamy performed the Paryaya at Udupi 5 times (the last time was through his Shishya – while he stayed back at Sode), changed the system of Paryaya from 2 months to 2 years, introduced the elaborate Paryaya festival ritual, introduced the chariot festivals at Udupi, mandated that Porridge and Rotti be offered as Naivedya to Lord Krishna at Udupi in recognition of the great Haridasa Sri Kanaka Dasa, included the Koteshwara Brahmins under the Madhva fold, established the Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Temple, and numerous other social activities and reforms.

On the literary front, Sri Vadiraja Swamy composed tens of works covering various fields such as philosophy, devotion and poetry. Here is a list of his works.

Vedantic works

  • Yukti Mallika – his magnum opus
  • Sri Mannyayasudhatippani Gurvarthadipika
  • Tattvaprakashatippani Gurvarthadipika
  • Adhikarana Namavali
  • Haribhaktilata
  • Ishavasyopanishadbhashya Tikatippani
  • Talavakaropanishadbhashya Tippani
  • Katakopanishadbhashya Tippani
  • Atharvanopanishadbhashya Tippani
  • Mandukyopanishadbhashya Tippani
  • Shatprashnopanishadbhashya Tippani
  • Taittariyopanishadbhashya Tippani
  • Upanyasa Mala
  • Vivaranavranam
  • Shrutitattva Prakashika
  • Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya Tippani
  • Theertha Prabandha
  • Nyayaratnavali
  • Pashandamata Khandana
  • Ekadashi Nirnaya
  • Kalpalata
  • Sarasa Bharati Vilasa
  • Bhugola Vivarana
  • Mahabharata Lakshalankara
  • Rukminisha Vijaya
  • Srimatsanutsu Jatiya Bhashya

Kannada works

  • Sri Manmahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya
  • Vaikunta Varnane
  • Gundakriye
  • Lakshmi Shobhane
  • Swapna Gadya
  • Kalki Suladi
  • Keechaka Vadhe
  • Sri Harisarvottama Sara
  • Bhramara Geethe
  • Numerous songs and poems


  • Sri Srishagunadarpana Stotram
  • Vishnu Stuti
  • Haryashtakam
  • Shlokatraya Stotram
  • Durgastavam
  • Dashavatara Stotram
  • Ramesha Stuti
  • Krishna Stuti
  • Dashavatara Stuti
  • Apada Stotram
  • Hayagriva Sampada Stotram
  • Vyasa Stuti
  • Avatara Traya Stotram
  • Numerous other stotras

It is definitely our duty to remember this great Saint on the auspicious ocassion of his Jayanthi.

On this day, I am uploading the transliteration of the famous Sri Vadiraja Kavacha. 

The stotra can be downloaded from the Mantras page as well.


Kamadhenuryatha Purvam Sarvabheeshtaphalaprada |

Tathakalou Vadirajah Sripado Bheeshtadassatam ||

Palayachyuta Stotra

The Palayachyuta Stotra, also known as Krishnaashtaka or the Krishna Stuti is another great composition by Sri Vadiraja Swamy. It has only 9 stanzas and very easy to chant. It praises Lord Krishna as the one adorning Udupi (Raupyapeeta pura).

This stotra praises Krishna starting from his face and then goes on to describe his neck, hands and so on. It may be recalled that the first stotra of Sri Madhvacharya’s Dwadasha Stotra praises Vishnu starting from his feet and moving upwards. Therefore, some people consider it equivalent to a Mangalarathi if the first stotra of Dwadasha Stotra (Vande Vandyam….) and the Palayachyuta Stotra are narrated one after the other.

I have uploaded the Kannada transliteration of this beautiful shloka to my mantras page.

In addition, I have also uploaded a second version of Sri Rama Raksha Stotra in the same page.

Dashavatara Stotra and other mantras

I have uploaded the Kannada transliteration of Dashavatara Stotra by Sri Vadiraja Swamy at my mantras page. Just like all his other compositions, this one is a pleasure to recite. Even for someone like me who is a novice with music, I find his compositions very rhythmic!

Along with this, I have uploaded two other stotras at the same page.


  1. Sri Krishna Dvadasha Nama Stotra – from the Aranya parva of Mahabharata
  2. Avatara Traya Stotra – By Sri Vadiraja Swamy
Feedback and corrections are, as always, welcome.


Did you know? 16th October 2008

Once, when Sri Vadiraja Swamy was visiting Pune, an assembly of scholars had gathered there and had adjudged Bana’s “Shishupala Vadha” as the best Sanskrit work ever. Swamiji asked them to wait for some time and offered to bring to them something better than Bana’s work. In 19 days, he then composed “Rukminishavijaya”, his magnum opus. The scholars voted it as the greater work, paraded it on an elephant and hailed Sri Vadiraja Swamy as “Kavi Kula Thilaka” (The gem amongst poets)!

Shri Shrisha Gunadarpana Stotra

The circumstances under which Sri Vadiraja Swamy composed the Shri Shrishagunadarpana Stotra is very interesting.

The King of the Vijayanagara kingdom, Achyuta Raya lost all his wealth in the treasury. He approached Sri Vadiraja Swamy and pleaded for help. Sri Vadiraja then composed the Shri Shrisha Gunadarpana Stotra and taught him a certain method of chanting the same. He asked the King to chant the stotra and “Narayana Kavacha” in the form of a mala. Starting with the stotra, the King was to chant the Narayana Varma next and then the stotra once again. Sri Vadiraja asked the King to chant this combination one thousand times!

Some other scholars present with the King objected to this. Their contention was that the “Lakshmi Hrudaya” stotra was more powerful and forced the King to perform the 1000 repetitions using Lakshmi Hrudaya instead of the stotra. The King’s situation did not improve. When the King came back to Sri Vadiraja, Swamiji smilingly told him that though the Lakshmi Hrudaya was a very powerful stotra, it was cursed by Lakshmi herself.

Sri Vadiraja went on to narrate a story that a certain devotee had requested Lakshmi to shower him with wealth by chanting the Hrudaya. When Lakshmi told him that it was not in his Prarabda Karma to obtain the wealth, the devotee changed his name and insisted that it was equivalent to a rebirth now. Lakshmi showered him with wealth for a brief duration and then made the curse that the Hrudaya stop having its effect then on.

Sri Vadiraja’s story convinced the King. He went on to perform the Japa 1000 times. Needless to say, it worked!

It is believed that chanting the stotra in the above manner 1000 or 100 or 54 or 28 or 12 or 8 or 5 times is extremely beneficial.

Note: Maha Lakshmi is the Bhagya Devate and not just the giver of wealth, as is the common misconception.

Note: No stotra in Kali Yuga is a magic wand. Prarabda Karma and proper efforts are both required.

Note: You can download the stotra from the Mantras page.


Another great story associated with Sri Vadiraja Swamy.

When the parents of Sri Vadiraja Swamy did not have a child for a long time, Swamiji’s mother prayed to God and took an oath that she would offer an ornament containing 100,000 jewels if she had a son. The lady had no idea what it would take to get such an ornament done.

Later when Sri Vadiraja Swamy was born and took Sanyasa, his mother mentioned to him about her oath and requested that he fulfill the same. Sri Vadiraja accepted the responsibility. During his first visit to North India, when Sri Vadiraja was meditating at Prayaga, he received instructions from Lord Veda Vyasa himself to write a work on Mahabharata explaining all the difficult terms and words. Accordingly, Sri Vadiraja composed a work which contained explanations to 100,000 words of Mahabharata. He named this work as Lakshalankara or “Ornament of 100,000 (jewels)” and offered it to Sri Vyasa.

It is believed that on the same day, his mother had a dream and saw the statue of Lord Bhuvaraha adorned with an ornament containing 100,000 jewels.