Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Hill Temple of Karinjeshvara

 Famous Hill-Temple
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.
 Famous Hill Temples in Karnataka
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.
Cave 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.
Beautiful Lord Shiva Temples
 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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Agrahara Belaguli- Betteshvara (Keshaveswara) temple

Agraha Belaguli is a small village in Channarayapattana taluk is famous for the Keshaveswara temple of the Hoysala. It is elegant Hoysala temple at According to the inscription at the temple itself, this temple built by Keshva Dandanayaka (Kesiraja) the minister of the Hoysala king Balla II in about 1210 A.D. Though it is called by the name Betteshvara temple now, it was originally Keshaveswara.

The prefix Agrahara indicates that the village housed a large number of Brahmin Scholar families who were said to have been performing the Shatkarmas. But now it has reduced to meager 3-4 families. During the Hoysala Empire the village called by Keshavapura and two large tanks called Lakshmi Samudra and Keshava Samudra built in the same era.
Bettesvara temple is another master piece of Hoysala architecture. This temple is a Dvikuta and has got Keshva facing south and a Shiva Linga facing east. This temple built in soapstone (Chloritic Schist) it appears western part built first and the southern part was added later. The temple consists of a Two Garbhagriha and a Mandapa of the open type and two minor shrines in Mandapa.
The temple that was not built on a Jagati can have small Mukhamatapa on northern side that directly led to the Navaranga hall from ground level. An example of a temple that does not exhibit the raised platform the basement of the temple stands almost an equal to the earth level.
The Navaranga contains two sanctum halls and it has two entrances that connect the shrine to the small Mnadapa in eastern side and Mukha Mandapa (vestibule) in east. The western side main Garbhagriha is square with a black-stone Shiva Linga now called Betteshvara, the doorways has sculptures of Dvarapalas and not highly ornamented.
Very close to this northern side there is one more Garbhagriha with a beautiful Lord Keshava. The shrine is the most prominent and has a large sculpture. This is six and half feet height and very imposing. He holds Shanka, Chakra, Gada, Padma in four hands.
The wealth of sculptured main deity and few more idols in Navaranga was simply unbelievable, depicting picture of intricate artistry. The other sculptures particularly those of Ganesh, Karthikeya, Parvathi, Sarasvathi, Saptmatrikas, Brahma are fine example of sculptural art.

The ceiling of the open Mandapa is supported by 4 round sized well carved pillars and 12 turned pillars about 8 to 9 feet in height and deeply domed in the center, the overall workmanship being outstanding with no pillar alike. There two shrines are located around Mukhamantapa one is having Nandhi and another one do not contain any god or goddess in them now. At Mandapa the inscriptions on wall arrest our attention.
The outer wall in the temple was not much ornamented though parts of the temple are in ruins the temple as a whole looks elegant. The Betteshvara temple invites the splendor of temple architecture comprising beautiful, ornate carvings Dvikuta architecture, wide beautiful Mantapa and idol of gods and goddesses of Hoysalas.

Reference by -

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monsoon trek in Charmadi

Monsoon Trek in Western Ghats
A fine monsoon Sunday morning to explore the contours of the misty mountains and the chill air, we headed to Jenkallu Gudda in Charmadi range. The verdant zigzag hills of Charmadi are an inexplicably ecstatic beauty in the monsoon. After a long drive we left our vehicle near Annappa temple and started to walk few meters on the fine Ghat road.
 Dhaivik Waterfalls
Braving past the heavy downpours at the High Ranges, we maneuver through the hairpins to take a glimpse of the monsoon waterfalls enveloping wide expanses of the hills around all in the drizzling frames of heavy rains. The climate is invigorating, the forest lush, tender and green. We took diversion to the village towards higher mud road. We followed regular village road and after one mile hard-hitting walk we entered more wild to reach Jenakallu Gudda.
Monsoon Trek

The weather mischievously changing its temper within every 10 minutes; but our bad luck the when we were on Jenkallu hill the whole area covered by thick fog and we couldn’t able to sight 2 meters distance from us. As we were thinking what should be done next, I found a person with two dogs who was grazing cows he told to avoid to go peak it was misty and the visibility was very low as his suggestion we modified our actual plan and We almost lost the rout and decided to head Barekallu (Balebetta) instead of Jenkallu. Drifting away from the tourist guidelines is sure to make any traveling experience doubly exhilarating.

  Yerikallu - Hulidana Betta

The pristine views of the green canopy over the moistened hills are simply breathtaking. It’s not only the views which are inviting here, but so are the nomadic tribes who dwell in this region, an interaction with them and sharing our experience with them is a great pleasure at all. As their guidelines we headed to BareKallu (Balekallu gudda) but we couldn’t succeed to reach because of torrential rainfall, heavy fog and strong wind. I wrap up by wild wilderness experience and hit the road all set to rough it out again!
  Photos by - I and Ashok SB.