Besides being home to beaches, coastal Karnataka is extremely popular for its range of ancient and extremely sacred temples. While some temples in Coastal Karnataka are small, some big and others empowering but all of them are certainly powerful. The temples are a symbol of rich heritage, culture, and tradition standing tall as a symbol of true Hinduism. Though the temples claim high religious significance they might be unpopular and lesser known. So let’s get to know more about less explored but highly sanctified temples of coastal Karnataka
Aanegudde Shree Vinayaka Temple (Kumbhashi)
Anegudde village is located at a distance of 9 km south of Kundapura, in Udupi District. Anegudde is also popularly called as Kumbashi. The temple at Anegudde is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The name Kumbhashi is said to be derived from demon Kumbhasura. According to history, when drought hit this area, Sage Agasthya performed penance to appease the Varuna, the Rain God. During the penance, demon Kumbhasura started troubling the sages.
Bheemasena gets a weapon from Lord Ganesha to kill Kumbahasura and assassinate him at this place. Anegudde is rewarded one of the seven ‘Mukti Sthalas’ of Karnataka (Parashurama kshetra). Anegudde is the combination of two words – ‘Aane’ meaning ‘Elephant’ and ‘Gudde’, which stands for ‘hillock’ as it is the abode of the elephant-headed god, Lord Vinayaka.
Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple (Gokarna)
This temple has an interesting history. Ravana, the king of Lanka performed Tapas (Penance) on top of Kailasa Hill. He pleased Lord Shiva and secured Atmalinga from him. But the condition was that the Atmalinga was never to be put down on earth, or else it can’t be moved any further. Some of the other gods were frightened by the fact that Ravana had Atmalinga in his possession.
They approached Lord Ganesha to trick and prevent Atmalinga from being taken to Lanka. Ganapathi arrived on earth in disguise of a Brahmin boy and met Ravana. As Ravana went to perform his evening pooja, he requested Ganesha to hold the Atmalinga till pooja rituals were complete. As Ravana entered the sea to take a bath, Ganesha dropped Atmalinga to the ground and it got fixed there. Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple is the same Atmalinga.
Mahalasa Narayani Temple (Basrur)
Basrur is located at a distance of 8 Kilometers from Kundapura and is 500 years old. In Basrur, Shree Mahalasa Narayani temple is located at Mandikeri. The temple is the replica of Shree Mahalasa Narayani Temple at Mardol, Goa. The temple is amazing with an exemplary architecture. The “Swagatha Gopura” welcomes you and Lord Ganesha is at the top of the Gopura.
When you step into the outer premises of the temple, you come across “Deepa Sthambha” and “Tulasi “, the place where the earlier “Garbha Gruha” was located. After this, there is a “Swagatha Mantapa”. On passing this “Swagatha Mantapa”, there are 14 “Gavakshas” (windows) and the ceiling is decorated with stone carved designs. “Dashavathara” idols at the top of the “Chowki” gives it an immense look. “Jaya- Vijaya” statues are sculptured on both the sides of the “Garbha Gruha”. “Rajatha Dwara” adores the “Garbha Gruha”. ” Shayana Gruha” is at the right side of the “Garbha Gruha”.
Hattiangadi Siddi Vinayaka Temple (Kundapura)
Hattiangadi is well known for its Siddivinayaka Temple, constructed in the seventh or eighth century. Lord Ganapathi Temple is situated on the bank of River Varahi. It is the only Temple in India, where the idol of Lord Vinayaka sports a jata-hair. The miracle is that the statue grows in size every year and this is visible from the fact that it has outgrown the silver casting. Since Ganesha here grants the wishes of the devotees, the title ‘Siddi’ is conferred on Lord Vinayaka.
The entire shrine is carved from black marble. The idol itself is carved out of a Saligrama stone and is 2.5 feet high. It was a sacred place for the meditation of Sri Govindarama Yathivarya (Saint) during the 16th century. The saint had also predicted that the Temple would become famous worldwide during the next three hundred years. What a true prediction it was! Now, the Temple is attracting a number of devotees from all parts of the world.
Sri Indrani Panchadurga Parameshwari Temple (Udupi)
Sri Indrani Panchadurga Parameshwari Temple is situated about 2 km east from Udupi and it is in the West of Vedachala (Manipal), at Kunjibettu in Udupi. Legends say that Goddess Durga has exhibited herself here in the form of five laterite Lingas (Panchadurga). Behind Panchadurgeshwari, an idol of Vanadurga is found. It has been replaced by a stone sculpture as the earlier wood sculpture (Daru Shilpa) was deteriorated due to exposure to sun, rain and other natural factors.
An idol of Vanadurga is also worshipped in the temple. Sri Indrani Panchadurga Parameshwari Temple belonging to the eleventh century was last renovated in 1993 as per the plans of Raval Padmanabha Shastri, a former priest of Sri Pashupathi Temple, Nepal. The whole sanctum sanctorum had been rebuilt in stones. The temple is one of the Shakti Peethas and is situated in a vast temple complex.
Sigandur Chowdeshwari Temple (Sigandur)
Sigandur Chowdeshwari Temple is a unique temple, surrounded by lush greenery and backwaters of river Sharavathi with a history of over 300 years. Chowdeshwaridevi here is extremely powerful whose said to have the strength to diminish the fear of thieves. Devi here offers protection from thieves not just to people but also to their gardens, land, buildings, valuables, properties etc.
Hence people of the town put up the board saying “Shri Deviya Rakshane Ide”(here is devi’s protection) to their assets. In spite of the board being put up, thieves attempt stealing then they will definitely face several problems & place back the things in the same place, is the trust of people. Here ferry service is the only means of transport to reach the temple which is totally exciting.
Sowthadka Sri Maha Ganapathi Temple (Sowthadka)
Popularly known as Maha Ganapati Kshetra, Southadka in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada district is hailed as one of the many siddhi kshetras of the district. The uniqueness of the place is Lord Maha Ganapathi is out in the open field without a ‘Garbha gudi’ and temple structure. It is surrounded by greenery and opens round the clock for offering prayers. The temple is decorated with a lot of Bells mainly, offered by worshippers who have special wishes.
One can find a lot of monkeys inside the temple. The idol of Lord Ganesha, installed majestically under the bowers of an ancient tree, is spectacular, to say the least. A shining arch is all that surrounds the beautiful idol in black stone and, of course, huge brass lamps. Right in front of the Lord’s idol are rows of brass bells tied to wooden beams for devotees to sound them during the pooja.
These bells in various shapes and sizes and serve a great attraction. 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 indeed Belthangady’s hidden gem.
Puttur Shree Mahalingeshwara Temple (Puttur)
Puttur Shree Mahalingeshwara Temple is a 12th-century temple, located in Puttur. Lord Shiva popularly known as Puttur Mahalingeshwara is the main deity. Legends say that a Smartha-cult Sthanika Brahmin placed this Shiva-Linga on the ground without a stand or seat and worshipped it. After the pooja, he lifted the Linga from the ground but could not be lifted from the ground. He sought the help of the King’s army men but turned unsuccessful.
The King’s elephant was summoned to lift the linga. As the elephant struggled, the linga grew to a huge size and became Mahalinga, shattering the elephant into pieces. The animals’ body parts spread out in different directions. The place where its horn (Khombu) fell came to be known as ‘Kombettu’, Kari fell ‘Kariyala’, legs fell ‘Karjala’, hands fell ‘Kaipala’, tail fell ‘Beedimajalu’, head(Tale) fell ‘Taleppady’ and back (Beri) fell ‘ Beripadavu’. These places exist in the surroundings of Puttur even to this day.
Guddattu Vinayaka Temple (Mangaluru)
This small but 800 years old Guddattu Vinayaka temple is about 90 km away from Mangalore town. Located right below a giant granite rock that looks like a sleeping elephant, the main idol of Lord Vinayaka is believed to have self emerged deep inside in the underground caves.
Guddattu Vinayaka Temple is popular for a service called ‘Ayarkoda’ (Thousand Pot ritual). A ritual that involves draining the Garbha Gruha, then pouring (Abhisheka) thousands of pots of water from the holy temple well on to the idol, till water overflows from the Garba Gruha located inside the cave. This ritual is believed to bring good luck to devotees. So popular and demanding is the service that the temple calendar is full for the next few years.
Sri Mahakali Temple (Ambalpadi)
Ambalpady is a holy place in the surroundings of Udupi City. Ambalpady is ‘Ammana Padi’, or the ‘Woods of Amma’. Goddess Mahakali who is worshipped here with greater ardor. It is believed that initially goddess Mahakali was worshipped in a stone. The same stone is being worshipped even now along with the wooden idol of Mahakali. Thus, Mahakali was worshipped earlier in this region and Janardana Swamy came here in search of the goddess and decided to stay here and protect devotees.
Janardana is the presiding deity of Ambalpady. It is common as children go more often to their mother than to their father and confess seeking help. With the same belief, devotees come to goddess Mahakali to be relieved of their sins and get a solution to their problems. There is one more reason for her dominance here. She had come earlier to this place to protect the land, and the place got its name because of her.
Mahalinga Temple (Brahmavarvara)
Brahmavara is towards the north of Udupi. As per mythology, it is “Lord Brahma’s Vara or Ajapura” and hence named Brahmavara. It is an ancient cultural center. It is believed that the Mahalinga temple was constructed in the 9th century AD. The wall of the temple is built on the laterite stones. There is an image of Gaja-Gowri, which has been kept in Navaranga, which perhaps belongs to the Hoysala period. It is holding Ankusha and Pasha in the upper hand and Padma (lotus) in right lower, and the lower left hand in the abhaya pose.
While you are at a trip to Costal regions, make sure you definitely enlist them on priority to your list of most sacred temples.