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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

The Six Ganesha Temples along the Karnataka Coast

Coastal Karnataka abounds in legends, and hence there are numerous temples connected to them. The story of Gokarna and Ganesha stopping Ravana from taking the lingam to Lanka seems to the most popular one of them all, and apart from the Panchalingam temples, there are six temples devoted to Ganesha. In all these temples, the idol of Ganesha is in the standing posture, and resembles the idol at Gokarna. These temples are the ones at Gokarna, Idagunji, Annegudde, Hattiangady, Sharavu at Mangalore, and Madhur near Kasargod. The credit for my visiting all these temples goes solely to one Mr. Raghuram, who has written an article about it in The Hindu. I came across this article when I was searching for places around Mangalore on the net, and found it extremely interesting. Please do check it out at http://www.hinduonnet.com/mp/2005/09/17/stories/2005091703680100.htm

It is considered auspicious to visit all these temples in one day, and Mr. Raghuram suggests starting at Madhur, and finishing at Gokarna. We however took the opposite route, and visited the temples over a period of 4 days.

I have already described our Gokarna trip, and the Abhishekam to Mahaganapathy. The next temple we visited was Idagunji. Idagunji is midway between Gunavanteshwar and Murudeshwar, and is a half hour drive from either temple. The temple is quite big, and the idol of Ganesha is almost the same as at Gokarna. We reached the temple just in time for the Abhishekam. Here, it is only the priests who so the Abhishekam, but it was a good experience nevertheless. The specialty of this temple is Lavancha or Vettiver, which is available in plenty. Look out for Ganesha masks, caps, and other things made out of it.

Annegudde was the next temple we visited. (Actually, Hattiangady comes first on this route, but we had a stupid driver who misled us. Try and look out for a driver who knows all the routes, but more importantly, all the temples on the route. Most drivers know only the major tourist attractions like beaches, and the major temples, not the smaller ones). This is also a big temple, and quite impressive. Here, while we circumambulated the temple, we saw paintings on the walls depicting a story, but here, language turned out to be a major barrier, with us not understanding a word the priest said. Being afternoon, the place was empty, and we were unable to find anyone to answer our questions. So, for a detailed description of the legends, etc, of the temple, all of you will have to wait……….

We visited Hattiangady the day after, while returning from Kundapura. Hattiangady is about half an hour from Kundapura, towards Murudeshwar. Here, the idol is considered to be Bala Ganesha, or Ganesha as a small boy. Only half the idol is seen, and the other half is believed to be buried in the ground. In one hand, he holds a bowl of his favorite item, Modaks. Here also, like all the other temples in this circuit, he is standing. This is a good temple, where everyone kept inviting us to eat, and were affronted when we told them that we had already had lunch at a hotel. The priest told us that in this part of Karnataka, there was a temple every 10 Kms serving lunch and dinner to all visitors, and it was sacrilege to eat anywhere else, especially at a hotel! The temple trust seems to be doing quite a lot of good services. They have, for example, built a school, and are in the process of adding a college to it, and also plan to build a hospital in the near future.

Sharavu Mahaganapathy is in the heart of Mangalore city, and is quite a huge and popular temple in the area. Here, there is not just a Ganesha temple, but also a temple to his parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Do visit this temple when you are in Mangalore.

The last temple in this list is Madhur Mahaganapathy, which is about 5Kms from Kasargod, which is in Kerala. This temple is about one and a half hour drive from Mangalore, along the scenic coastal route. If you are visiting Dharmasthala and Subrahmanya, this temple can be reached in about 2 ½ hours from Subrahmanya, along the hill route, which is also extremely beautiful. From Mangalore, you can visit first Dharmasthala, then Subrahmanya, and then return to Mangalore via Madhur.

The Madhur temple is huge, and beautiful, and it is with great regret that I write that I was unable to see this temple, as it was closed when we went. The temple closes at 12:30PM, and opens only at 5:30PM. We were unable to wait for so long, and hence were unable to complete this temple circuit. If any of you has visited this temple, please do write to me, or make a comment on this, so that others may be able to read about it.

This completes another temple circuit in coastal Karnataka. Look out for descriptions of more temples coming up……………

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  1. Informative..... May lord Ganesha bless you with all that you deserve..... Priya :)

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