March 29, 2012

One Day Getaway - Temples Along Mysore Road


The idea was to take my parents to some uncharted temples along Mysore road. I had a list of few temples which were very to hard to find via the Web, nevertheless, i noted them down and hoped for the best. Also, wanted to visit Somnathpura and Talakkad(if possible).

We started from our place at 7am. Hit the NICE road via Kanapura road and then the first stop was the Panchamukha Ganesha temple.

Panchamukha Ganesha Temple, Mysore Road
This temple is on the left just after you enter Mysore road from NICE road.This is one of the new temples that has come up. I expected this to be the kind of Kemp Fort(in Old Airport Road) but was presently surprised to see a very nice and big ganesha idol inside with 5 faces(pancha = 5, mukha = faces). There are 4 faces - one in every direction and one face is at the top of the 4. A quick visit and pradakshinam(walk around the temple) and we continued.


Breakfast at Kamath Lokaruchi
Kamath Lokaruchi is pretty much the standard place for a breakfast for almost everyone who hits the Mysore road in the morning. This was the first time that I stumbled on the breakfast buffet. The buffet has very good spread comprising of Idilis(wrapped in leaves), Dosas, Vada, Pongal, Upma, Akki Roti, Jalebi, Banana and Chikku(sapota) milkshake and tea+coffee. A very heavy breakfast it was and worth every dime spent. (jalebi was awsum)

Aprameyaswami / Navaneetha Krishna Temple, Channapatna - Dodda Mallur
The Krishna temple is just after Channapatna - around 7kms from the main city - on the left hand side of Mysore road, just after the Kanva reservoir.  Lord Aprameya is the main idol and there is also an idol of Krishna(kid Krishna) - when we went, he had a layer of Butter(vennai) as decoration(alangaram). If you have read Vishnu Sahasranamam - there is a verse : 'aprameyo rishikeshaha..padbhanabho amaraprahuhu'.

One interesting trivia about the place 'Dodda Mallur' is - the place got its name from the Tamil word - 'Mulaithathu' - which means 'growing'..and with the passage of time and the effect of the local dialect - this word transformed into 'mallur'.  And whats the context of 'growing' you ask - well, there is a story behind this : there was a king whos limbs were but by his enemies and thrown away; the King kept reciting the God's name and hence his limbs 'grew' back.

Mandya district is a Vaishavite belt - comprising of many Vishnu/Naramsimha Swamy temples.

Inside the temple; the door on the right leads to the main Sanctum
Other idols in the temple include Lord Aprameya's consort Aravindhavalli Thayar , Navaneetha Krishna , Vaikuntanatha swami , Ramanuja , Koorathazhwar ,Pillai Lokacharya etc.

Lord Hanuman on the Dwaja Sthambam(flag)

Nadi Narasimha Temple
Take the road Opposite to the Apremeya Swami temple (on the other side of Mysore Road - i.e, right hand side) and proceed on the narrow tar road; after a few hundred meters there is a small road(not tarred) which leads to the Nadi Narasimha temple.



The temple is supposedly 1500years old - and it is a very small temple - which has been renovated in the recent past. The main deity here is Narasimha Swamy - with the prefix 'Nadi' , meaning 'a river'. There used to flow a river around here which caused immense destruction to the entire place and this idol was placed to secure the land from the wrath of the river.  The then Maharaja of Mysore was kind enough to grant this piece of land to the temple.

Devotees hang dried coconuts inside the temple with a belief that there wishes would be granted - however, the temple priest was quick to point out that this is just a 'faith' and something which is not noteworthy in terms of the 'religion' or the importance of this sthala.



Ugra Narasimha Swami Temple, Maddur
After Nadi Narasimha Swamy temple, we proceeded onwards towards the main city of Maddur to visit the Ugra Narasimha Swamy temple. The main deity here is Ugra Narasimha Swamy - with his eight hands and wearing the intestines of Hiranyakasipu as his garland.I have NEVER seen such an idol of Narasimha Swamy with such intricate work. Please do not miss this temple for sure. The thirumanjanam(the afternoon abhishekam) was to be started and we did not wait much to watch this.

Inside the temple ; the pink walls on left is the main sanctum

The architecture resembles that of the Vijayanagara Style with dashes of Dravidian architecture.

Entrance and the Dwajha Sthabam(flag)

Vardharaja / Alanatha Swamy Temple 
Once you come out of the Ugra Narasimha Swamy temple, turn left and you will notice a small structure at an elevated level opposite the Banyan Tree. You can just walk across. I guess this temple is under renovation with a new gopuram etc being constructed.  The door was closed when we entered, but the priests were kind enough to open it for us - and we were blessed enough to see the 16-18feet tall idol of Varadharaja Swamy(Vishnu).

The main idol is a treat to watch with beautiful carvings. The priests narrated the story of the temple which goes like this : The then King's mother lost her eyesight and the Astrologer/minister advised a visit to Kanchi(Kanchipuram). King was unable to take his mother to Kanchi because of her age and lack of eyesight; instead, the King got some sculptors form Kanchi and constructed this beautiful idol. It is said that his mother got her eye sight on the 45th day.  (if you do visit Kanchipuram - the city of temples - you can easily spot the sculptors and sculptur-schools all along the city at various places)

I was told that the backside of the main idol is supposed to even more beautiful - but the priest did not allow us to view them as there were many divya chakrams engraved which was not to be seen by the naked eye.




Pattabhi Rama Temple
To the backside of the Varadharaja temple is Pattabhi Rama temple. Pattabhi is the shortened version of  'Pattabhishekam' - i.e, the crowning of Lord Rama. Lord Rama with consort Sita and 'friend/bhaktha' hanuman are the main idols in the sanctum.

 
There was a picture of some ruins inside the sanctum and on inquiring with the priest were told that it was the state of the temple before the reconstruction/renovation took place. It really feels sad to see such a sorry state of our temples.



Hole Aanjaneya Swamy Temple, Maddur, Mandya
Retrace the road back from the Narasimha swamy temple and enter the road which has an arch(of some Devi). Follow the road or ask anyone enroute ; the temple is around 2km from the mainroad.
The heat was increasing and there were many kids playing in the water along the small channel.
'Hole' in Kannada means 'river' (and hence Aihole??); and since this temple is situated just along the banks of the river, hence the nomenclature. This is again a very small temple. When we went the sanctum was closed for the 'alangarams'(i.e, adorning the idol with decorations). We waited for sometime, but were told that it might take another 30mins - we left.

(I got a chance to peek into the main sanctum via the curtain and did see a 4feet tall Hanuman engraved on a slab of rock being beautifully decorated - probably with sandalwood or turmeric).


Chennakesava Temple, Somnathapura
This was my second visit to this beautiful temple in the last 5 years. I had visited this temple way back in 2006, just after i got my DSLR then, and it was always been my recommended place to visit for anyone who hits the Mysore road. The temple is very well maintained by ASI(Archeological Survey of India) and there is no pooja done to the idols. The intricate work done on the temple walls and roofs are noteworthy. The idols are beautifully carved and you can see the Hoysala Architecture at its splendid glory in here. (Belur and Halibedu are other ones). One cannot miss the triple gopurams which is very rare in many hindu temples.

Pillars inside the temple - a characteristic of Hoysala Architecture

When we landed here, it was almost 1:10pm and the sun was mighty bright and sunny. The heat was radiating from the temple floors(outside ones), and the torn carpet which was spread along the pedestal was of little help. Me and Amma literally ran around the sanctum to view the beautiful carvings along the walls.

View of the Entrance from the Temple Podium

The 'Actual' temple - note the Three Gopurams.
The Way Back
Had our lunch again at Kamath Lokaruchi , as it was already VERY late - it was 3pm - and the tiredness was visible on everyone's face!!  There were multiple meals on the menu - and we preferred Kavalli meal(Mangalorean-ish) and the North Karnataka Meal(Belgaum-ish). Unlike the breakfast spread, the lunch was very not upto the mark and the service was pathetic (probably they were closing down for the noon).

 It indeed was a very long and hot day, especially with the Bangalore sun getting hotter by the day, and we returned back home at around 5pm.

Epilogue
Am sure there are many more uncharted/unexplored temple(s) along this route, and i shall return again along this route to find them and document them.


Tips:
1. Start early - preferably around 6am from your place.
2. Breakfast at Kamath Lokaruchi - A Must
3. Prefer having lunch at Maddur(i do not know of any recommended hotels here, if you can find out, do drop a note)
4. Ugra Narasimha Swamy temple in Maddur and Chennakesava Temple in Somnathpur - a Must.
5. If possible, try arranging for the Puliogare in the Naramsimha Swamy temple ; Mandya Puliogare is very famous.
6. Do note take pictures of the main idols inside the temples.
7. If you do not know the exact route, just ASK - people always help you with the exact location of the temple.

Total Distance Traveled (by Car ): 338kms

Expenses:
  Car : 338kms * 6 = 2028
  Driver Bata/Charges = 200
  Breakfast At Kamath Lokaruchi (for 4 ) = 90*4 = 230
  Lunch At Kamath Lokaruchi (for 4 ) = 450
  Total Expenses = 3200 INR (Approx )
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