October 27, 2012

Mangla Devi Temple, Mangalore

Site Name: Mangla Devi Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Around 3 kms from the city center - Mangalore, Karnataka state, India
Highlights: One of the most important temples in Mangalore city; the city was named after the deity of this temple
Nearest Railway Station: Mangalore
Nearest Airport: Mangalore
How to reach: Well connected by road 
Hotel: A lot of options across the city
Restaurants: All sorts of restaurants are present in the city

Mangalore is an important city in Karnataka state of India. The city was named after the Hindu Goddess Mangla Devi. The temple dedicated to this Goddess is located in an area called Bolara.

It is believed that the temple was built by the king Bangaraja. In due course, the temple lost its shine and no one knew about the place. It was in the 9th century AD the site became famous after the Tulu king named Kundavarman of Ahepa dynasty renovated the temple. The two saints from Nepal named Machendranath and Goraknath discovered this site and advised the king to renovate the temple. As per some stories, it is the site where the demon Andhakasura was killed by the mother Goddess.

The current structure of the temple appears to be new and is built in Kerala type temple architecture. It is a small temple with two prakaras (corridor) surrounding the main shrine. A very long flag staff, bali peeth and the lion statue stand in front of the main shrine. The main shrine places the main deity Mangladevi. The idol has only head and not the other parts of the body. The idol of nagas (snakes) are found near the main shrine. The temple also houses a shrine for Ganesha and another shrine for the mother Goddess where the idol is comparatively bigger and found with four hands.

If you go to Mangalore, do not miss this temple.

Happy travelling.

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October 24, 2012

Kadri Manjunatheshwara Temple, Mangalore

Site Name: Manjunatheshwara Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Around 4 kms from the bus stand - Mangalore, Karnataka state, India
Highlights: 11th century temple; an important Shiva temple in Karnataka state
Nearest Railway Station: Mangalore
Nearest Airport: Mangalore
How to reach: Well connected by road 
Hotel: A lot of options across the city
Restaurants: All sorts of restaurants are present in the city

After Bangalore and Mysore, Mangalore is the main city of Karnataka state of India. Manjunatheshwara temple, located in the scenic Kadri hill, is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Although the temple can be dated back to the 11th century AD, the current structure built in Vijayanagara architectural style should have been built in the 15th or 16th century AD. 

As per the legend, Parasurama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu donated all the land that he won from the kings in the battle to the saints. He made rigorous penance towards Lord Shiva seeking a new land for his shelter. Lord appeared and advised him to meditate at the site where Kadri hill is located today. The area was occupied by sea; Parasurama claimed the land from sea and constructed the temple of Manjunath with the help of Vishwakarma.

The main idol of this huge temple is Manjunatheshwara in the form of a Shiv Linga with a human face. The east facing temple has a beautiful tower; the entrance to the main shrine is facing the north direction. There are two corridors (prakara) surrounding the main shrine. 

The outer corridor is huge and has no ceiling. There are many important shrines located in this corridor. A big shrine for Ganesha, a shrine for Durga (copper idol), shrine of Ayyappa and also a rare shrine of Shaneeswara with his mound crow are all located in this corridor. The temple tank is found near the holy tree. Few steps from this place takes you to a small Shiva shrine where a lot of small copper idols are also found. A beautiful Ganesha shrine along with the naturally flowing Kasi Bhageerath teerth nearby are a major attraction for devotees.

The inner corridor of the temple also houses a lot of interesting idols and shrines. The either side of the main shrine has the bas relief images of Ganesha and Krishna dancing on Kalinga. One of the best bronze statues of the entire India is located in this temple. It is the idol of Trilokeshwara - three faced Shiva, dated back to 968 AD. The big idols of Gorakshnatha and Chowranginatha are also found in the same corridor. Two beautiful bronze idols - Vyas and Vishnu are unique attractions of the temple. Apart from these, the small shrines of Surya, Navagraha and Satyanarayana are also located.

A not to be missed place in Karnataka.

Happy travelling.

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October 20, 2012

Dharmasthala - the abode of Dharma

Site Name: Dharmasthala
Site Type: Hindu pilgrimage and Jain pilgrimage
Location:  Around 300 kms from Bangalore, around 75 kms from Mangalore, Karnataka state, India
Highlights: A unique site where the Hindu temple is being administered by a Jain
Nearest Railway Station: Mangalore
Nearest Airport: Mangalore
How to reach: Well connected by road from Mangalore; a lot of public buses ply
Hotel: Accommodation is available only in temple guest houses; they are maintained very well
Restaurants: Vegetarian food is served for all the devotees in Manjunath temple; a lot of small vegetarian restaurant are found across the town

Dharmasthala can be literally translated as 'the abode of Dharma'. As per this name, one can find almost all manifestations of Dharma - duty, charity, justice, devotion, faith, etc. The entire town is a religious town which is considered as sacred by Hindus and Jains. The main attraction of the town is Manjunath temple. It is a unique Shiva temple having Vaishnaivite (supposed to worship Lord Vishnu) priest and being administered by Jain family. Let me explore this divine town in detail in this article.

Manjunath Temple
Manjunath Temple:

Manjunath temple is the main attraction of Dharmasthala. Thousands of devotees throng to this temple. You can always find a long queue of devotees in the temple entrance. The 16th century temple resembles Kerala style temple architecture; however, from outside it appears more like a Chettinad Palace rather than a temple. The temple vimana is adorned by gold. If you exclude the dining halls, waiting rooms, rooms for devotees to stay, etc. it is a very small temple. The main shrine is dedicated to Shiv Linga named as Manjunatha. The idol of Annappa and Ganapati are found at the entrance of the shrine. The next shrine is dedicated to the Goddess Ammavaru. The temple has just one prakara.


Bahubali is the second most tourist attraction after Manjunath temple in Dharmasthala. The 39 feet monolithic statue of Bahubali weighing 170 tonnes standing on top of 13 feet platform is an important pilgrimage for Jains. 

As per the legend, the king Rishabha made his first son Bharat as the king of Ayodhya and his second son Bahubali as the king of Podanpur. Rishabha is the first Jain Tirthankara. India is named after the king Bharat and called as 'Bharat'. He got some powerful weapons from the Devas and won almost all the kings except his own brother Bahubali. Both fought in a fierce battle. Bharat was defeated; however his life was spared. All of a sudden, Bahubali realised the futility of war; he handed over the kingdom to his brother and became a Digambara Jain saint. He stood naked and did a severe penance till he got enlightenment. 

The statue in this site depicts Bahubali standing naked and performing penance. The shrine located on top of the small Ratnagiri hill can be reached by a leisurely climb of steps or by road in a vehicle. It is located at a distance of around 1 km from the town bus stand. The statue was installed in 1982 AD. Since then, it remains as one of the most important tourist sites of Karnataka state.

A sculpture in the Chandranath temple wall
Chandranath Temple:

Chandranath temple is a beautiful and pleasant site. It is a Jain temple dedicated to Chandraprabhu Tirthankara. The temple wall is full of small bas relief images depicting the Jain stories. There is a small shrine for Padmavathy. The temple is located on top of a small rocky and can be reached by climbing few not so steep steps. 

Neliyadi Beedu:

Neliyadi Beedu is the house where the ancestors of the Jain Heggade family who administer Manjunath temple today. As per the legend, as per the request by four Dharmadevatas (Kalarkai, Kumaraswamy, Kalarahu and Kanyakumari) Bimanna Heggade left this house. It happened around 800 years ago. Since then, it is believed that all those four devatas reside in this house. The house is always locked. Once can get the glimpse of the house only from outside. This site is located next to Chandranath Jain Temple.

Manjusha Car Museum:

Manjusha Car Museum is definitely a surprise element in the holy town of Dharmasthala where only temples are expected. The museum has a great collection of a lot of rare vintage cars.

Annappa Betta:

Annappa Betta is a temple located on a small hilltop at a distance of around 0.5 km from Manjunath temple. It can be reached by 30+ steps. Children and ladies are not allowed in this site. The temple has four shrines dedicated to four Dharmadevatas who visited the Jain family 800 years ago. There is no idol in any of these shrines. If one peeps through the window, a swing can be found inside a shrine. 

Go and visit this unique holy place called Dharmasthala.

Happy travelling.

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