September 21, 2012

Shankaranarayana Temple - A rare temple in South India

Site Name: Shankaranarayana
Site Type: Hindu pilgrimage
Location:  35 kms from Udupi, Karnataka state, India
Highlights: A rare Hindu temple where the confuluence of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu is found; one of the seven holy sites of Karnataka state of India
Nearest Railway Station: Udupi
Nearest Airport: Mangalore
How to reach: Well connected by road from Udupi; do not depend on public transport
Hotel: It is better to go to Udupi for the same
Restaurants: Vegetarian low budget restaurants; hygienic food is served in the temple; the alternate is to go to Udupi

Shankaranarayana is a small village in Karnataka state of India surrounded by a lot of popular heritage sites such as Udupi, Kollur, Subramanya, Sringeri, etc. It is considered as one of the seven sacred sites created by Lord Parasuram, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu within the Karnataka region. The highlight of the temple is that the main deity is the confluence of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, two important Gods of Hinduism. It is very rare to find such a temple. (There is one such temple located near Tirunelveli town in South India.)

This Kerala-type temple built in the beautiful valley has a picturesque pond in front of it. The pond is called as 'Koti teertha'. As per the Kerala temple style, this temple also has long lamp post and flag staff (called as dhwajastambha) as one enters inside.

The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has the main deity in the form of Linga one foot below the floor. The devotees can view only the mirror image of the deity. This naturally formed ling is round in shape on the right side and flat on the left side. The right side is considered as Lord Shiva and the left side is considered as Lord Vishnu. The flat side of the Linga has the footprints of the holy cow (Kamadhenu). The deity is always covered by water called as Suddhamrita Teertha. The deity (Linga) is named as Udbhava Linga. It is placed ahead of two silver plated idols of Lord Shankara and Lord Narayana with the five hood serpend in the backside. Both these idols can be seen very well from outside unlike the main deity.

The main shrine also houses few more idols. The majestic silver idol of Shankara Naryana is also found in the shrine. In addition, the idols of Lakshmi, the wife of Narayana (Vishnu) and Gauri (wife of Shiva) are also located inside the main shrine. Also, Maha Ganapati is prominently installed in the shrine.

The temple has two prakaras (corridors). The outer prakara having open sky as its roof has few small shrines. Venugopals shrine, Hanuman shrine and some Naga idols are all located in this prakara.

Happy travelling.

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