The Sowthadka Sri Maha Ganapathi Temple or popularly known as Maha Ganapati Kshetra, is located in the Belthangandy taluk of Dakshina Kannada district. The temple is 6 km from Patrame on the banks of river Netravati and hailed as one of the many siddhi kshetras of the district. The not very popular temple has many interesting facts to be explored. Lest try understanding the temple to its best.
The Sowthadka Sri Maha Ganapathi Temple being one of the extremely unique temples of Karnataka rolls down to a strange story of the Ganesha idol empowered here. Nearly 800 years ago a Ganapati temple revered by a royal family was once destroyed by enemies. Not to let the enemies destroy the beautiful idol of Ganapati, that was present at the temple, cowherds of the place carried it along with them. Hence, the idol of Lord Ganesha, worshipped in this temple was found by the cowherd boys.
These innocent boys carried this idol with bhajan, pooja all along the way to the present place of worship and placed the idol under the tree. Every day they performed prayers, chanted bhajans and offered Ganesha with tender cucumber as naivedya (In kannada, Southe, refers to – Cucumber and Adka, refers to – A vast plain). Since then, this shrine derived the name SOWTHADKA.
What makes the temple different?
Thinking of a temple, any time reminds us probably of the divine idol of the gods or goddesses and a beautiful sanctum built in praises to the lord. But Sowthadka is nothing like this. The uniqueness of the place is that Lord Maha Ganapathi is out in the open field without a ‘Garbha gudi’ (temple structure). The shrine does not really hold any kinds of shelter or protection that forms roofing to the idol. The tradition of Lord Ganesha idol simply being in the open is certainly amusing and make it one of its kind!
Talking about the feel you might sense by just being in and around the temple is simply soul soothing. It is surrounded by fascinating natural serenity and open round the clock for offering prayers. Located amidst the vast expanses of lush greenery and tranquilizing atmosphere, it is a heavenly abode and looks like Lord Ganesha is sitting cozily in the lap of nature ushering the place with utmost sanctity and purity with nature directly welcoming Lord’s bliss wholeheartedly!.
The Mahapuja is performed every year in the month of January. The temple also serves food to all the devotees in the form of prasadam. The temple is considered to be Belthangady’s hidden gem which is certainly true.
The most interesting aspect of the historic temple is that, in case you want your desires to be fulfilled by the Sowthadka Ganesha, then all you have to do is offer a bell or tie the bell at the temple premises. This fascinating culture of the temple is an absolute blessing by Lord Ganesha himself. Hence the temple is always decorated with a lot of Bells everywhere mainly offered by worshippers who have special wishes. You get to hear a lot regarding this from the priests of the temple and the localities around. That there have been many instances of people having their wishes fulfilled real quick after offering the bell at the temple.
Festivals at the temple
Ganesha Chathurthi at Sowthadka is a grandeur event and an extravaganza in itself, the festival is celebrated with utmost love devotion, and extreme joy and enthusiasm. The festival includes many rituals like an offering, Ganahoma of 108 number of coconuts, 108 number of Siyala Abhisheka with Panchaamrutha, Appa Kajjaya, Paayasa, Naivedhya and fruits followed by Mahapooja at 12:30 PM and Annasantharpana(serving lunch) to all devotees arrived at the festival.
Maagha Shuddha Chouthi
This day is celebrated as the Annual Festival at the Shree Kshetra. On this auspicious day, diety is offered with special poojas like AtharvaSheerSha Sahasraavartana Abhisheka, Panchamrutha Abhisheka, Ganahoma Kalashaabhisheka and Mahapooja at 12:30 PM. Mahaa Annsantharpana is offered to all devotees. Also, they host many cultural and religious functions in the evening. At 7 pm the diety is offered with Moodappa Seva and Maha Rangapooja followed by entertainment programmes which begin at night at 10 pm.
Surprisingly, not many from outside the district are aware of the existence of this temple which is located just 20 km away from the pilgrim town of Dharmasthala. It is located about 35km from the very popular Kukke Subramanya Temple and is in the interiors of Kokkada. But the hardly known temple is an extremely powerful place to have one’s desires fulfilled as said by the localities and is certainly worth visiting.
The Sowthadka temple is a very divine and a holy place with a pleasing atmosphere and some great scenic beauty around. This extremely beautiful open space temple is a must visit for all the devotees out there.
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