The many wonders of coastal Karnataka

Karnataka is a treasure trove of many wonders – a state that is many worlds at once. From Karwar in the north to Someshwar in the south, the coastline of this beautiful land stretches over three-hundred kilometres, with every major beach offering a unique experience. The scope of these experiences is not just limited to the scenery, but spans across aspects like culture and cuisine.
Besides inviting beaches, coastal Karnataka is also popular for its range of ancient temples. While, some temples in Coastal Karnataka are small, others are big and empowering. While some tourists visit Karnataka’s holy places along with other places/attractions, many visit Udupi/Mangalore districts exclusively for its places of worship. Some are in the city, while others are far away amidst the Western Ghats. All these temples have long-standing history and the power of these gods and goddesses are feared and respected by the devotees. In this article, let us familiarise ourselves with some of the popular temples in Karnataka. On your next visit to Karnataka, do not forget to seek divine blessing from these places.
Mookambika Devi Temple in Kollur is about 130 km from Mangaluru and 440 km from state capital Bengaluru. It is located amidst the hills of Kodachadri in Western Ghats, next to river Souparnika. Mookambika Temple in Kollur is believed to be over 1200 years old. As per the legend, Parvathi came down to earth to eliminate a demon named Kamasura, who with his devil mischief was creating lots of trouble to the local people. Goddess made him dumb first to rein him (Mooka in Kannada) but when his trouble making habit didn’t stop, he was eventually killed. Thanking Goddess Parvathi for relieving them from the trouble of Kamasura, local people started worshipping Parvathi devi and the temple was formed in Kollur. Kollur temple celebrates its annual festival during Navarathri and attracts lakhs of devotees during this period. Temple complex offers free meals to all visitors. During special occasions when crowd is large, special queue for darshan is facilitated for those who can pay extra. Lots of budget accommodations are available in Kollur. KSRTC runs buses to Kollur from Bengaluru and other major cities. Kundapura is a nearby city. Private buses are also available in large numbers. However, after 8 pm it will be difficult to get public transportation.
At a distance of just about 20 km from Mangaluru is the popular Durgaparameshwari Temple in Kateel. This holy temple is located in the middle of River Nandini. The name Kateel is derived from two words?‘Kati’ meaning waist and ‘Ile’ meaning earth. Kateel means the central area of earth.
History: Arunasura was a demon growing strong with powers and was disrupting peace on earth. Gods were helpless as Arunasura had secured special powers from Brahma that he cannot be killed by any two or four legged creatures. When Arunasura’s bad deeds grew beyond control, Adhishakti came down on earth as a beautiful woman, lured him and teased Arunasura to agitate him. An angry Arunasura tried to kill Adhishakti, she turned herself into a rock. Arunasura tried to break open the rock, during which a series of big furious bees emerged and stung him repeatedly till his death, thus eliminating one more bad soul on earth. On this success, saints and sages performed abhishekam to lord Adhishakti who later took the form of a linga in the middle of river Nandini. Thus the Durga Parameshwari Temple is built around this. Kateel is well connected by public transportation and accommodation is available. Mangalore is the nearest town.
Udupi is considered as the final resting place of Lord Krishna. Sri Krishna Temple and matha was set up in the 13th century by Madhvacharya. Legend has it that once Kanakadasa, a worshipper of Lord Krishna was denied entrance into the temple. Determined to see god, Kanakadasa kept praying hard from the outside itself. Impressed by his devotion, it is believed that Lord Krishna’s idol turned to face Kanakadasa and a small hole formed on the wall so that Kanakadasa can get a glimpse of Lord Krishna. This spot is now known as Kanakana kindi (window of Kanaka). Apart from Sri Krishna temple, there are two other temples in Udupi?Chandreshwara and, Anantheshwara. Once in every two years, a grand festival named ‘Paryayotsava’ is held in Udupi. During this time, temple management changes hand from one of the 8 mathas (Asta matt) to another. When in Udupi, do not miss to enjoy mouth watering Gadbad ice cream at Diana. Udupi is well connected by road and rail from all over Karnataka. Maple Beach, St Mary’s Island, Manipal End point, Kapu light house are some of the other attractions near Udupi. Mangalore airport is about 60 km away.
Goddess Saraswati resides in Sringeri, a temple town some 100 km away from Mangaluru and 330 km from Bengaluru. To foster the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma, Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada established the first of the four vedic Peethams at Sringeri in 14th century. The hills around Sringeri was used by Sage Rishyashringa who performed strong Tapas. Adi Shankara Acharya was very confident about the divine power of the land. It is also believed that on the banks of River Tunga, a cobra was spreading its hood to cover a frog, (which is Cobra’s meal in the food chain), who was in labour pain and cobra was giving it protection from harsh sun above. Such sanctity inspired acharya to set up his first math here in Sringeri.Sringeri also serves as a centre for vedic learnings. Temples of Horanadu is nearby. Agumbe hills, Kundadri hills, Kuppalli are nearby attractions. Sringeri is well connected by public transportation and basic accommodations are available in town. Shivamogga, Udupi and Chikmagalur are the major towns closer to Sringeri.

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