Saturday, September 29, 2012
The Hill Temple of Karinjeshvara
Sri Karinjeshwara temple is situated at a place called Karinja of Kavalamudur village in Bantwal taluk. It is located at a distance of 35 km from Mangalore and 14 km from Bantwal. The Karinjeshwara temple stands high on the hill amidst beautiful surroundings.
About 800 years ago, two Brahmin youth Karinjattaya and Ichlattaya brothers arrived at Kumbla county from Uttara Kannada for publicising Sanatana belief. At that period Tulunadu was ruled by Taulava King. Bhoota worship was the ritual in practice at that time in this region. The place where Ichlattaya settled was called Ichlampady and the other by Karinjattaya was called Karinja. In the middle of Karinja and Ichlampady in a scenic beautiful area was built a Lord Shiva Temple. These Brahmin without any descendants had given away their agricultural property along with the Temple to the Bunts who were helping them. The temple is split into two parts, one dedicated to the Lord Shiva, at the peak of the hill, and another dedicated to His Wife, the Goddess Parvati, and their Son, Lord Ganesha, a little lower down on the way to the Shiva Temple. This is the 7th temple built by Kalkuda. He had vowed to build seven temples overnight.
One has to get down at Vagga, 10 Km away from Bantwal towards Dharmasthala. The stop is also identified as Karinja Cross, where a beautiful entrance welcomes you to one of the calm and nice places of the coastal district. The road leading you to Karinja through Kodyamale Forest also enough to keep you spellbound. It is best experienced when we walk from main entrance till the Temple.
When we reached the temple, first we sight a huge pond in “Gada” (Mace) shape – Gada Theertha (Huge pond) at the bottom of the Karinja hill is 237 meter long, 55meter wide and 7meter deep size looks like a mirror with crystal clear water. After taking a dip in pond or at least after sprinkling water over the head we have to start climbing the steps through Main entrance. From the main entrance from the road you have to start stepping on the huge stone to reach this temple. In the starting point of Parvathi temple, you can see the Vinayaka Gudi.
Ugrana Guhe (Cave )
The journey on steep steps on a huge stone with the help of iron rods feels great. Be careful about the Vana Senas (monkeys). They are always up to something. They grabbed the Bananas that were carrying in our plastic bags that we wanted to offer to Lord Shiva.
One of the temple’s specialties lies in the age old practice followed by the temple authorities of feeding monkeys led by the Alpha-Male called the Karinje-Dhadda on daily basis on Naivedya Kallu. Legend says that when Rama and Seetha come to this place with the Vanara Sena after defeating Ravan, To mark this remembrance Ram Left His Sena here at Karinja. Everyday ‘Naivedhyam’ cooked of three ‘Seru’ (700 gram) rice is fed to the monkeys immediately after ‘Mahapuja’ in the afternoon. One can see monkeys waiting near Shiva temple to relish on the hot rice at sharp 12 noon. Devotees offering bananas and coconuts to these monkeys are a common sight at Karinja temple.
There mentions in various episodes of Mahabharatha about the three temple ponds namely ‘Gadha Theertha’, ‘Angushta Theertha’ and ‘Janu Theertha’ found in the temple premises. ‘Gadha Theertha’ located in the foothills is in the shape of a Gadha (mace). It is said that ‘Gadha Theertha’ was formed when Bhima threw his mace on the floor and ‘Angushta Theertha’ was created by Bhima’s thumb. Another pond ‘Janu Theertha’, which is said to have originated when Bhima knelt down on the floor, serves the water requirements of the temple through out the year as this pond never dries up.
There are numerous evidences in the premises of the temple narrating several stories to the visitors about the life of the temple as it is believed that the temple premises has been the testimony for all the four ‘Yugas’ mentioned in Hindu mythology.
When you climb about 142 steps above the Parvathi Temple you find a massive door frame made up of a stone called Ukkadada Bagilu. It has a 0.3 cm cut mark on it, which is said to be created by the hitting of an arrow, when Arjuna tried to kill a wicked pig.
When Arjuna reached Karinja to seek blessings from Lord Shiva wanted to test Arjuna and came in disguise of a tribal head. When Arjuna aimed at the wild boar, even disguised Shiva aimed at the same boar. Both shot the boar at the same time, so both had a fight on whom to claim the boar. After a long battle Arjuna was defeated and Shiva and Parvathi gave him darshana. Goddess Parvathi blessed Arjuna with special powerful arrows.
When you climb another 118 steps passing through Ukkadada (Ukkada means the limiter border of a town and a turn pike or a toll gate) Bagilu, you reach Sri Karinjeshwara Temple. The “Shilamaya” Temple in such a high place has been regarded as the “Bhookailasa”.
Shiva temple is situated on the top of a hill, 1500 ft high from sea level, looks like temple is standing on a huge stone. The temple architecture is built by stones. From Ukkadada bagilu” around 145 steps it’s the main entrance to Shiva temple. The Shiva Sannidhi covered with “Shilamaya Shiva” Garbhagudi (shiva statue) “Metina Gudi” and a “Naivedya Kallu” (granite stone), and offers an enchanting view of the surroundings.
It is revealed that the place was called as ‘Roudra Giri’ during ‘Krutha Yuga’, ‘Gajendra Giri’ in ‘Thretha Yuga’, ‘Bhima Shaila’ in ‘Dwapara Yuga’ and ‘Karinja’ in ‘Kali Yuga’. Deemed as the temple located at greatest height among all the other temples of Dakshina Kannada, the shrine is situated on a monolith spreading over 25 acres. The temple is surrounded by picturesque green Kodyamale Reserved Forest adding to the serenity of the place.
The soil of the spot where the lake now stands is pathologically said to have spread over a distance of Seven Miles, which is known as “Kodia Malai”, now inhabited by wild animals and reptiles. You will find that the climb of 555 steps is worth and once you reach the peak you will get a beautiful bird’s eye view of the surrounding areas. With all its historical significance and beauty of nature, Karinja is one of the best places for a pilgrim centers.
Festivals:The biggest and most important event at this temple is Shivarathri, a four-day festival. On the first night of Shivarathri, there are elaborate poojas and homas (different types of worship rituals) at each temple into the early hours of the morning. The next night, the idol of Shiva is carried down to the Parvathi temple and husband and wife are united for the night amid more worshipping and festivities.
The next day, the Rathotsava (Chariot Festival), the two idols are paraded around at the Parvathi temple and then at the ground level, where they are carried around in a chariot (a Ratha). Later that day, the two idols are carried back to the Parvathi temple, where Shiva bids goodbye to Parvathi and carries on alone to his temple. The following night, the last night of the festival, Shiva is once again taken to Parvathi; they are taken for a "stroll" at ground level before they are once again returned to their respective places.
A lake in the temple premises- ‘Handi Kere’ too has a mythological story attached to it. Handi Kere is supposedly formed when great archer Arjuna arrowed down a pig. The arrow marks are still visible on the rocky hill.
Information by–Vivek Kumar K
Location:UDUPI Bantwal, Karnataka, India
I documents my visits to lesser known places in Soth India. It documents places nestled deep in the beauty of the Western Ghats and historical monuments.