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on the heart of the city Hampankatta, it is one of the famous
ancient temples of South Kanara District. The origin and
importance of the temple is narrated in skanda purana. Sharabeshwara
and Mahaganapathy are the principal deities in the temple.
The chief God Sharabheshwara situated in front of the temple
but the popular Mahaganapaty attracts devotees is situated
to the south of the temple. Vinayaka Chathurthy August-September
Simha Maasa is most important festival for Mahaganapathy.
But the utsavas starting from Chandramana Ugadi continues
for 9 days in the main annual festival for Sharabheshwara.
In Karthika Maasa the annual deepotsava takes place and
lasts for two days.
In Skanda Purana (Hindu Mythology) it has been described
that at once, Lord Kumaraswamy (Subrahmanya) had been residing
at the foot of Kumara mountain, along with his elder brother,
Vigneshwara (Ganapathy), where river Kumaradhara, originating
from the peak of Kumara mountain, was flowing. He had been
protecting His devotees in and around that place, which
is now called Subrahmanya. Kumara Mountain nestles in the
vast Sahyadri range of mountains, stretching from Gokarna
to Kanyakumari. Lord Ganapathy, once, expressed His desire
to His brother Kumaraswamy, to move to the west and take
birth in a place, where rivers Nethravati and Falguni were
flowing, and joined together, before merging in the Arabian
Sea, with a view to fulfilling the wishes of His devotees.
Lord Ganapathy was awaiting the arrival of that auspicious
More than 800 years ago, King Veerabahu, born in Sun clan,
was ruling the Tulu Kingdom. He was a brave Kshatriya king,
besides being a scholar, and paid due attention to the welfare
of his subjects, and was engaged in religious pursuits.
Like rulers in those days, he was fond of hunting wild animals.
One day, Veerabahu along with his family and attendants,
went on a hunting expedition. He moved from forest to forest,
hunting and killing wild animals that devastated the crops
cultivated by farmers and, at last, came to a vast forest
area near the Arabian Sea.
A famous Shiva temple existed
at a place called 'Kadali Kshetra' (now called Kadri), lying
to the east of the above forest. It is believed that this
place was 15 square miles in area. Three miles to the east
of 'Kadali Kshetra' was the "Gupta (secret) Kadali Kshetra'.
To the south of Kadri, there was 'Gorakshak Kshetra' or
'Goraknath Kshetra', and to its south, on the bank of the
river Nethravati, existed a holy place called 'Jalashivalaya'.
To the north of Kadri, on the bank of river Falguni, there
was a Vishnu temple called 'Vishnu Sthan'. On account of
these holy temples, the area surrounding the Shiva temple
was considered very sacred. The king Veerabahu, after destroying
wild animals, at several places, came to 'Swarna Kadali
Kshetra' (Kadri), along with his family, and worshipped
Lord Manjunath, with intense devotion.
He was surprised
to see a thick forest to the west of temple wherein, he
thought, existed a large number of wild animals. In the
said forest, there were several hermitages (Ashrams) of
holy rishis including that of Bharadhwaja. In the middle
of that forest, the king witnessed a strange sight of a
tiger and a cow standing close to each other, and thought
that the tiger was about to attack the cow. Fearing this,
in a hurry, the king shot an arrow from his quiver, at the
tiger, in order to protect the cow. Unfortunately, the arrow
hit the cow, instead of the tiger, killing it on the spot.
Upset at this incident of killing the cow, resulting in
'gohatya', the king ran around aimlessly, crying aloud why
such a sin had been committed by him, though unknowingly,
till he encountered sage Bharadhwaja living in that forest.
the king narrated the incident to him, with anguish, seeking
remedy for his sin, Bharadhwaja consoled him thus:" O king!
You are really noble and lucky. This place is sanctified
by the presence of Lord Shiva, owing to which all animals
live in this forest, in love and harmony, devoid of hatred
for one another. This is due to the sheer grace of Shiva.
Have you not noticed a tiger and a cow, the habitual enemies,
standing side by side? This is the land created by Parashuram,
and holy Kashi (Varanasi) lies to the north, at a great
distance. By the will of Shiva, who is compassionate, you
killed the cow by oversight, resulting in 'gohatya'. Worry
not. I am going to suggest an appropriate remedy (solution)
for the sin committed by you, by implementing which not
only will you be absolved of the sin committed by you, but
will also contribute to the well-being of thousands of devotees
visiting this place, until the sun and moon hold sway upon
No doubt, what you have committed is nothing
but sin, but the sin committed, deliberately, does not go
unpunished, while the one committed, unconsciously, is entitled
to 'prayashchitta' (atonement). Sage Bharadhwaja continued
further:" O king! I advise you to construct a temple dedicated
to Lord Shiva at the spot where 'gohatya' was committed
by you, and install a Shiva-ling there, by doing which you
can ensure uninterrupted worship of Shiva, so long as the
sun and moon exist. This will not only expiate your sin,
but also will ensure the prosperity of coming generations.
Now that the foursquare mile area wherein your arrow has
fallen, and caused the death of the cow has already acquired
the name, 'Sharapattana' or 'Sharavu', people will soon
inhabit this place. With the passage of time, there will
be a king's palace, houses of people and shops of merchants,
and this place will, one day, become the central part of
a beautiful town." Rishi Bharadwaj added: " O king! The
task of undertaking the construction of a Shiva temple is,
by no means, an easy one. First, before you begin the construction
of the temple, you have to construct a tank to the north
of the temple. To its south, you install a stone idol of
cow. By the power of my tapas (meditation), I will see that
the water of the Nethravati River flowing near the 'Gorakashram'
emerges from the 'gomukha' as 'theertha'. The Shiva-ling
installed at the spot where the arrow has fallen, will be
known as 'Sharabeshwara', and the tank will be called 'Sharabeshwara
thatak' (Sharabeshwara tank).
Once you have constructed
the sanctum sanctorum, 'mukha- mantap' in front of it, 'paulis'
and the front 'gopura', at an auspicious moment, I will
install the Shiva-ling. But, look! In order to earn the
grace of Shiva, you should feed one lakh Brahmins, compulsorily,
though it might seem a formidable task. In future, the deity
Sharabeshwara will be known as 'Kashi Vishwanath' (presiding
deity of Kashi) Himself, Sharatheertha will be called 'Ganga-theertha'
(holy water of Ganga), and Sharapura will become famous
as 'Kashi Kshetra' (abode of Kashi Vishwanath). Later, one
day, Gajanana (Lord Vigneshwara, or Ganapathy) will visit
this place, and on the southern wall of the temple will
manifest Himself. In view of His proximity to Sharabeshwara,
this temple will be known as 'Sri Sharavu Mahaganapathy
temple', in course of time." Hearing the words of Rishi
Bharadwaj, Veerabahu became happy, and started constructing
the Shiva temple.
instructed by Bharadwaj, the king constructed the tank,
first, followed by installation of the stone idol of cow,
construction of 'gopura', 'pauli', 'mukha-mantap', sanctum-sanctorum
for Shiva, inner courtyard and outer courtyard. Then, rishi
Bharadwaj prayed to mother Nethravati, with intense devotion,
and She emerged from the 'gomukha' of the stone idol of
cow. In the temple situated to the south of the tank, Bharadwaj
himself installed the Shiva-ling. A feast for one lakh Brahmins,
arranged by the king, followed this. This is the story of
how Shiva temple came to be built at Sharavu. Undeniably,
it is mesmerizing, and auspicious.
of Shri Ganapati Temple:
Veerabahu did not have a male heir, so he decided to stay
at Sharapura for some time, along with his wife. He used
to pray to Shiva daily, with great devotion. During this
period, the chieftain of Gangawadi, (or Bangawadi, and now
known as Bangadi), Chandrashekhar Jain, was harbouring hatred
towards Vishnuvardhan, the Hoysala king. Though Chandrashekhar
Jain was only a subordinate ruler of Vishnuvardhan, he hated
the latter, as he (Vishnuvardhan) had deserted the Jain
faith and converted himself to be a devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Chandrashekhar Jain fought an unsuccessful battle with Vishnuvardhan,
and was killed by him. His son, Veera Narasimha Bangaraja,
deprived of means of livelihood, approached king Veerabahu
and sought his refuge. At the instance of rishi Bharadwaj,
Veerabahu was pleased to accept him as his adopted son,
and donated all his wealth and properties to him, besides
making him the legal heir to his Tulu kingdom. Later, Veerabahu
and his wife took to 'vanaprastha' (living in the forest
for the purpose of tapas / God-realisation), while his successor,
Veera Narasimha Bangaraja, built a palace to the east of
Sharavu Shiva (Sharabeshwara) temple and lived in it.
During the reign of Veera Narasimha Bangaraja, Lord Ganapathy,
with an intent to manifest Himself, on the southern wall
of Sharabeshwara temple, was praying to His Mother Auspicious
(Mangala Devi), thus:" O Mother! I appeal, fervently, to
You, to grant 'darshan' (appearance) to king Veera Narasimha
Bangaraja in his dream, and instruct him to construct a
temple for You to the west of 'Goraknath Ashram', for the
welfare of mankind. May the king worship your idol, and
the place where the temple will be located, known as Mangalapur
(now called Mangalore). I would like to take birth at an
auspicious moment, along with 'Siddhilakshmi' (Goddess of
prosperity), on the southern wall of Sharabeshwara temple,
so that I could keep gazing at You, always, Who are located
at a little distance from me, in the southern direction.
My only desire is to grant prosperity to My devotees, over
Acceding to the request of Lord Ganapathy, Mangala
Devi appeared in a dream to king Bangaraja, and told him
to look for a stone idol to the west of 'Goraknath Ashram'.
She instructed the king to construct a temple at the spot
where the idol will be found, and name it as "Mangala Devi'.
She also ordered the king to name the area between Sharavu
and Mangala Devi temple as "Mangalapur', and assured the
king that She would grant prosperity to anyone praying to
Her, with unflinching faith and devotion. King Bangaraja
was ecstatic, when Mangala Devi appeared to him in his dream,
with Her eight hands, and vanished. Though a follower of
Jain faith, he rejoiced at the opportunity given to him
of constructing a temple for Mangala Devi, in addition to
the opportunity got by him earlier, to look after the affairs
of Sri Sharabeshwara temple and Tulu kingdom.
In fact, he
thought that he had been twice blessed to get such an opportunity
to construct Mangala Devi temple. Veera Narasimha Bangaraja,
along with his ministers and subjects, visited the spot
indicated by Mangala Devi, and found an idol in which Mangala
Devi had enshrined Herself. He constructed a temple in that
place, and installed the Mangala Devi idol, by following
the prescribed rituals, with the help of holy rishis. The
king also employed priests for conducting regular 'pujas'
(worship) in the two temples (viz., Sharabeshwara and Mangala
Devi temples). Soon, people engaged in different vocations,
and from different places, came to reside in the town, and
trade and commercial activities started. Many shopping centres
also sprang up, and the town extended up to the seashore.
King Bangaraja's palace lay in the centre of Mangalapur
town. As per available records, king Veera Narasimha Bangaraja
ruled the Tulu kingdom from 1157 A.D. to 1208 A.D.
the death of Veera Narasimha Bangaraja, his son, Chandrashekhar
Bangaraja, ruled the Tulu kingdom, happily, from 1208 A.D.
to 1224 A.D., in the palace close to the Sharavu temple.
During the reign of Chandrashekhar Bangaraja, there lived
a Brahmin by name, Keshava, in Badaje village, near Manjeshwar,
who was a scholar, 'mantravadi', and man of wisdom, and
who belonged to Padakannaya clan, and did not have enough
means to eke out his livelihood. He was deeply immersed
in tapas of Lord Vigneshwara (Ganapathy) at the Jalashivalaya
temple on the bank of Nethravathi river at Vasapur (now
called Hoige Bazaar). His only aim was to achieve prosperity
for his family, by undertaking 'mantravada' and tantric
rituals, and invoking the blessings of Lord Ganapathy. Lord
Ganapathy was moved by the tapas undertaken by the priest,
and informed him that the time was now ripe for Him to manifest,
and that He would grant prosperity not only to him and to
his family, but also to his future generations. So famous
was Keshava in his devotion to Lord Ganapathy that when
he conducted 'Ganahoma' to the Lord everyday, He used to
partake of the 'purnahuti' of 'Ganahoma' by showing off
His real trunk (Ganapathy is the elephant-headed God, having
day, when Bangaraja was seated on the balcony of his palace,
he saw a fleet of seven Chinese ships sailing along the
coast of Mangalapur town, laden with golden ores and valuable
jewels, to a far-off land. The king thought that if these
ships were made to touch the port of Mangalapur town, he
could confiscate the goods and become rich, overnight. However,
this, he felt, was not an easy task, and was worried about
how he could achieve it. When he was pondering over this,
his subjects proposed to him to utilize the services of
priest Keshava. Thereupon, the king called for the priest
to his palace, and discussed the matter with him. The priest
told the king that he could, by using the power of his mantras,
make the ships sailing along the coast (without touching
the town) land at the port of Mangalapur.
The king was happy
to hear the priest's words, and requested him to fulfil
his wish. Soon, the priest started reciting the mantras,
invoking the blessings of Lord Ganapathy who, in turn, ordered
'Vayudeva' (God of wind) to cause a storm in the sea. Suddenly,
a violent storm took place in the sea, and all the ships
were tossed ashore, to the surprise of everyone, without
causing any damage either to the ships, or the crew. The
king was overjoyed when the ships landed ashore, and he
confiscated all the valuables in them, letting the crew
unharmed, to proceed on their voyage. His wish having been
fulfilled by the priest, the king asked of the priest what
he expected from him, in return. The priest requested the
king to provide him enough materials to conduct a 'Ganahoma'
to the Lord, using 128 coconuts.
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