Monday, October 18, 2010

Sadhu Yateeshwara Swamy -Nagenahalli

Nagenahalli in Chennagiri taluk in Davanegare dist. in Karnataka is a snake sanctuary. Nagenahalli literally translates to cobras’ village.  Snakes are seen everywhere.  People and snake co-exists here. If bitten by any poisonous snakes and left unattended will results in death! However, this village stands as an exception. In this village, when bitten by a poisonous snake one doesn’t die. The poison doesn’t WORK. The village itself stands as a challenge to the science fraternity.

Snake poison doesn’t work on people in this village and this is a result of a curse! There is an interesting story behind this. A Saddhu by the name Yateeshwara swamy was living in this village. He lived a monk’s life. And was residing at the village’s Hanuman Temple. He went to each and every house and begged for a living. Yateeshwara Swamy was a staunch Hanuman devotee. Some even believe that he is a reincarnation of Lord Hanuman.  One day, when he had been to the neighboring village for begging, found a newborn boy baby in the bushes.  The sight moved him. The Saddhu took the new born with him. He took care of the baby very well, showered the boy with lots of love and affection. When the boy was 12, a snake bit the boy and the boy died. The Saddhu had been out, when returned and he found the boy dead. Through his yogic powers he realized the cause for the death. The Sadhu was very furious and was about to curse the entire Snake kingdom.  The Indra of Nagaloka- Nagendra appeared before him and apologized.  He begged the Sadhu to spare the snakes and not to curse the entire snake kingdom, and also promised to revive the child. The Sadhu cursed the snakes, anyway. Snakes in his village will not bite anyone; even if it does no one will die of the bite. The Sadhu marked the village limits with 4 stones in each direction. Each stone has an inscription written on it by the Saddhu himself.  As promised, the son was brought back to life by Nagendra.  Hence snakes are cursed in this village and their poison do not kill anyone! There is no vimochana for this curse. 

The Mile Stones & the encriptions

We do not know how old the temple is, we do not even know when Yateeshwara lived. What we know is villagers do believe that the snake will not bite anyone and the story is passed on from generation to generations. The entire miracle is owed to Yateeshwara Swamy, when he was alive he had made a rule that No villagers will kill snakes, and no villagers will consume meat. If anyone breeches this, they will have to face dire consequences!! To this date, villagers and the outsiders alike follow this rule. When snakes are found, they leave the snakes at the Saddhus Samadhi. When bitten, they visit the Lord Hanuman Temple, take the teertham and spend a night at the temple. Beside this, they do not do anything no medications or first aid.

Hanuman Temple

Lord Hanuman and Nagaraj
Scientists are yet to unlock the mystery as how it is possible that the poison is effective outside the village and not inside. There are around 70 houses in this village. There are a large number of deadly cobras here. It is a regular sight to see them in the houses, gardens etc. Neither the villagers nor the snakes are scared of each other. Villagers do not considered snakes as a threat. They all live in peace. Killing a snake is a strict NO NO. Even when a snake dies, villagers do the last rights as per Hindu customs. To till this date, there have been many reports of snakebites within the village, however there are no deaths so far.
Snakes are found everywhere in Nagenahalli

You may want to visit this village to have an out of the world experience!

May the lord Hanuman Bless us all with Happiness, prosperity and health! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nishkalank Mahadev Temple, Koliyak

heavy tides/water Retrieves

Nishkalank Mahadev Temple in Koliyak, Bhavnagar, Gujarat is full of wonders and awe. This temple is buried inside the sea. On a heavy tide day, all that can be seen are the flag and a pillar. It is beyond ones comprehension that there is a Lord Shiva Temple just under the fierce sea. This temple is still in use, and people visit this place on foot! The temple has 5 distinct swayumbu Shiva lingams inside. This is definitely one of the best spiritual destinations!

The following temple story dates back to Mahabaratha era.  Pandavas killed all the Kuravas and won the battle. Pandavas were grief stricken knowing they acquired sins for killing their own relatives. In order to find redemption for their sins, Pandavas met Lord Krishna. To remove the sins, Krishna hands over a black Flag and a Black COW. He asks the Pandavas to follow it, when both Cow and flag turns white, they all will be pardoned. Krishna also advises them to do penance to lord Shiva, after that. The angst stricken brothers followed the cow wherever it went and carried the flag. They walked for days, to different places and the color did not change. Finally, when they arrived at the Koliyak Beach, both cow and the flag color turned to white. Pandavas were exalted. And all the 5 brothers sat for deep penance, meditated on lord Shiva.  

Lord Shiva impressed by the brothers showed up in lingam form to each brother. As they meditated, each lingam appeared in front of each brother. In total there were 5 (Swayumbu) lingams that showed up on their own.  Pandavas were delighted to see this and they worshiped all the five lingams with great devotion.  Lord Shiva here is known as Nishkalan Mahadev. ‘Nishkalank’ has many meaning they are clean, pure, guiltless, to cleanse, to purify, etc.  It is said that Pandavas established Nishkalank or Nakalank Mahadev on a Amavasai of the Indian calendar month of Bhadarva. The famous fair popularly known as ‘Bhadarvi’ is held on the no moon night in month of Sharvan (August), as per the Indian calendar. An idol of Lord Shiva was established in an island, over the sea about 3 km to the east of Koliyak. Each lingam has a Nandhi facing it. The lingams are spread across a square Platform. There is a pond called Pandavas pond and devotees’ first wash their hands and legs and only then they visit the Lord Shivas shrines.

one of the lingas

The Main Deity

one of the 5 lingas

the remaining 2 lingams

Now the island is under heavy tide.  This is one of the rarest of rare temples. The sea everyday withdraws, paving way for the devotees to offer their prayers. This temple is located in the middle of the sea, and devotees’ young and old alike walk all the way to reach this temple. The water just around the temple pave the way, and this is a rare sight.  And after 7 pm, the temple is again covered under the fierce tide.

temple inside the water!

Devotees’ throng this temple during Amavasai (no moon day), it is to be noted here that the tides are very active during full moon day and no moon day, yet devotees patiently wait for the tides to retrieve. There is strong belief that when loved ones are cremated their ashes are immersed in these waters and by doing so, one attains salvation or moksha. Besides ash, milk, curds and whole coconut are offered to the lord here. The temple festival is initiated by hoisting the flag by the clans of Maharajas of Bhavnagar. This flag is on for 364 days and is changed only during the next temple festival. And for the records, the flag has never fallen down or washed away by the tides. It stands undisturbed by the ferocious tides and has seen the deadliest earth quake that killed more than 50,000 people in 2001.

This is a wonder beauty. The devotees worship not many temples that are buried under the sea. However, this temple stands as an exception. Please visit this temple at least ones in a lifetime to experience the spirituality that resonates from this temple!

May Lord Shiva Bless us all with Happiness, Prosperity, and Health & Wisdom!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


It gives me immense pleasure while writing temple stories. Bringing fascinating temple stories is always my priority. However, my enthusiasm evaporates quickly as soon as I find ancient temples that lie in ruins. There are a large number of temples in India that need our attention. Yes, there are many temples today that are in ruins with out proper maintenance. Yes, lack of funds pushes these ancient temples to look like a ‘haunted space’.  In these temples, instead of usual Vedic hymns, scent of incense sticks, the colorful flowers and their captivating smells that wafts the temple space, and the sound of the bells are replaced with Cob webs, various insects, weeds, bats, constant buzzing of crickets and the poops of stray animals and the stench that stretches for a mile are a common sight. The temple reflects an eerie atmosphere.

We have a responsibility to look after these temples just like how our fore fathers did.  There is an absolute necessity that we should maintain these magnificent, beautiful temple for the rich history it holds. It does not matter how big or the small the temple is, what really matters is how we take care our place of worship.  We have to show our commitment to our belief. We need to work towards restoring the past glories of these temples. Our ancestors trusted us and left these temples for us in good faith. Let us not betray them. Instead of passing the legacy to he next generation, we have put a full stop, bringing everything to a halt. I have decided that going forward, I will write about temples that stand in ruins. I expect your participation in renovating these temples in whichever way you can. Very soon I will come up with a plan as how you can contribute your donations. It is extremely important that we repair these buildings. Besides, Ayodhya there are temples in India which are screaming out for  “HELP’’! I hope people take a note of it. I wish the generous devotees pay heed to these cries and help it in whatever ways they can. 

May the lord bless us with happiness, prosperity, health and wisdom! 

Jai Hanuman! 

Photo Courtesy:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sri Mahadevar Athisaya Vinayakar Temple-Keralapuram

This temple is one of its kinds. A very powerful and extremely rare lord Ganesh’s temple exists for many centuries in Keralapuram near Nagarcoil Dist. in Tamil Nadu.  ‘Adisiya Vinayakar Koyil’ literally translates to ‘Miracle Ganesha Temple’.  Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, is known by many names. Vinayaka is one of his several names. ''Vinayaka'' symbolizes the qualities of a true leader in all aspects. "Viyate Nayake Iti Vinayaka" meaning, He is a master unto Himself. Lord Vinayakar’s idol changes its color to black and white once in every six months. During Utharayan (March-June), the idol is black in color, and in Dakshiyana (July-Feb) idol turns to white.  Hence this temple came to be known as ‘’Miracle Ganesh Temple.

The first glance of the temple will speak of neighboring state (Kerala’s) influence. There are no exuberant temple towers that we usually find in other Tamil Nadu Temples.  If not for the Temple nameplate, one cannot recognize that this is the famous ancient temple. Once entered the temple, one can find a huge yard with deep-rooted trees, a small dome and a sculpture of lord Shiva and Parvathi on it. One can also find a whole lot of Nagaraja idols, and each idol has a unique face to it. There are many idols; the temple is located in a pristine environment, and the whole place echoes simplicity! 

There are two temples inside the temple complex one for lord Shiva and another is for lord Ganesha. Lord Shiva here is known as Mahadevar. It is believed that the temple was built in 1317. The idols were established long before the temple was built!  Although, it is primarily a Shiva temple, one can clearly see the Vishnava’s influence in this temple. Those days Vishnava’s dominance was high and it reflects thru' Vishnava signs throughout the temple. Lord Ganesh is very famous in this part of the state. This temple was renovated many times over the centuries and this information is available in the temples scriptures. There are beautiful paintings drawn on the walls inside the temple. Once we pass by a huge tree under it is a snake carved out of granite stone, we head to Adisiya Vinayakar Temple. This temple has a long passage and walls are adorned with magnificent paintings. The sacred sanctum has an iron grid sliding door. The sacred sanctum is not an enclosed chamber, as the lord is placed outside, and under the huge banyan tree.

During Dakshinayana

During Uttharayana

Present state. The face has turned white, while the other parts are still in black color 
The idol here changes its color every six months. There is an interesting story behind this idol. The king, who ruled Keralapuram, went for a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram, a famous shivite temple facing Bay of Bengal. A Ganesh idol is washed over while the king and his men were washing their legs at the Rameshwaram beach. The king then gifts it to his Rameshwaram counterpart ‘’Sethu Mannan’’.  Sethu Mannan was overwhelmed by the love and affection, however he returns the gift back to the Keralapuram King. It was his opinion and belief that the finder should have it and it was the right thing to do. Along with the idol, the Rameshwaram King gifts another Huge Emerald Idol. However, the Mogul later looted the emerald idol during their invasion. They could not take the idol with them, it was stuck to the ground. So, the idol was left behind. Though, the temple was built in the 12th century idols here are quite older than the temple. According to the temple priest, the idol is at least 2,300 years old!  The idol was not installed according to the agamana shastra; it is simply kept on the elevated platform. People offer their prayers every morning and in the evening. Abhishekam to the lord takes place every morning and in the evening! Hence the idol found at the Rameshwaram beach is worshiped here. 

It is believed that those who are looking for their soul mates, married couple wishing to have kids throng this temple. By breaking coconut, and offering rice dumplings to the lord, devotees believe their wishes will come true. Devotees also believe that the idol color changes every six months is due to god’s grace. There are many devotees come her just see the color change. The color of the idol changes to black and white every six months i.e. during utharayana (March-June) and dakshiyana (July-Feb). During Dakshiyana the color of the idol changes to white, and in utharayana it is black in color. There is another miracle associated with this temple. There is a well inside the temple complex and the color of the water too changes every six months. When the idol is white in color, the water changes to black and vice versa! Right now, the color of the water is black in color. Though, there is no ‘’fall season’’ in the tropical states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, however the key temple tree has a unique characteristic where leaves starts to fall during dakshiyana, and new leaves starts to sprout from march. This is not a typical behavior of a Banyan tree.   

Visiting this place is undoubtedly an unique experience!

May the lord Vinayaka bless us all with happiness, prosperity and health!