Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Western Ghats Sojourn - Part 2

Next destination was Horanadu. Its the abode to the presiding deity, Shri Annapoorneshwari. "Anna" in Sanksrit means food and "poorna" means copious/full. She is the goddess of grains and the food we consume in Hindu mythology. True to the temple's name, every devotee who pays homage here is served a three course meal. The distance to Horanadu from Sringeri is about 75 Kilometers.

Here's a picture of the temple's Gopuram surrounded by the hills.

Heading to the next destination, Dharmasthala. Pretty near from here. All the ghat roads are interconnected and we can take the state highway(pretty well maintained!) to reach Dharmasthala. Home to the Shree Manjunatheshwara Temple. The temple is really ancient and locals claim the temple to me more than 1500 years old. The presiding deity looks every bit that old and exudes an aura that's characteristic of any Shiva temple.

The temple's trust is involved in many philanthropic activities, the most famed of them being the educational institutions they run at very low fees and high quality education. A mechanized kitchen provides free food for all pilgrims and there are guest houses with modern amenities. The average flow of pilgrims is about 10,000 people everyday.Every one of the thousands of pilgrims who daily visit shri Kshetra Dharmasthala is an honored guest irrespective of caste, creed, culture or status.The "Anna Daana"(free food) is perhaps one of the most impressive events that takes place at the holy temple.Free food is provided to devotees who come in thousands every day.The temple has modern machinery and makes quality food continuously throughout the day.Temple does not differentiate between the rich and the poor for the Anna Dhaana.The dining hall is known as "Annapoorna"

Here's a picture of the temple in its full glory

Next stop in my itenerary was Karkala. Its a famous Jain pilgrimage site and you can call it a miniature version of the Shravanabelagola Jain site. To mention about Shravanabelagola, its another of the famed Jain sites and it has the tallest statue in the world of Bahubali,  who was the second of the hundred sons of the first Tirthankara, Rishabha and king of Podanpur (ancient India).
When I mentioned Karkala being a miniature Shravanabelagola, this is what I meant.

The statue of Gomateshwara in Shravanabelagola is doubly big. :)

Next Stop of this now weary traveller was Kateel. This temple town (my! my! south canara sure has a lot of temples) is situated on the banks of the nandini river. Durga Parameshwari temple is the most famous here. Here the goddess is in a 'ugra' position, 'ugra' means 'angry' or in a state of agitation. A very look at the deity is supposed to purge your sins. You might have heard of people going into a trance state looking at gods and goddesses. You can see many doing that here. Not sure why it happens to many people here more than any other temple in Karnataka, barring the Mahakali temple in Udupi. The sight of the Nandini flowing by is a sight to behold.
A view of the Nandini river.


That concludes part 2 of my sojurn of Dakshina Kannada. Part 3 coming up next! Comments as always, welcome!

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