Karkala Temple

Sri Venkataramana temple, in Karkala, is known as Pad Tirupati, for it is to the west (padu) of its famous counterpart in Tirumala.

The original idol, procured from Tirumala, was installed in a temple, built by Hindus fleeing Portuguese persecution in Goa.  However, the villagers, fearing an attack by dacoits dumped the idol in a well.  It was retrived by a villager from Mulki who refused to part with it, when those who threw it into the well came to reclaim it.  The acrimony ended after one of the Karkala villagers had a dream.  In the dream, Lord Srinivasa told His devotee to go back to Karkala where he would receive another idol.  The villager told his friends about the dream, and they went back to Karkala.  Months passed, and as the frustration of the Karkala villagers increased, an old man, a stranger, came to the village with an idol of Srinivasa.  He consented to give them the deity,  on condition that they send the proceeds of the new shrine to the Tirumala temple.  The villagers agreed, and the idol was installed here in 153, in a novel way, at the old man's suffestion.  The villagers allowed a cow and her calf to wander after performing pooja.  The place where the cow stopped was selected for buildinf the temple.  An inscription in the temple statues that it was renovated in 1699.  Perhaps, it refers to this reinstallation.  The moolavar here is known as Sri Srinivasa, and the utsavar, Sri Venkataramana.  The practise of sending the proceeds to the Tirumala temple was stopped in 1970.  The original idol is now in Sri Veera Vittal temple, in Mulki, on the coast, 30km north of Mangaloe, in Dakshina Kannada district.

From the outside, the temple looks like a mansion of yesteryear.  Only the tiled, West Coast-style gopuram gives you a hint of a temple inside.  There is a raised platform inside, where religious discourses are held.  Beyond this platform is a large mandapam, on top of which are oil portraits of the ten avatars of Vishnu.  Below the portraits are rows and rows of lamp holders in the Kerala temple style.  There is a huge kuthuvilakku in the middle, with several tiers.  Beyond this lies the sanctum, the abode of Sri Srinivasa.  The poojas other rituals and the annual Brahmotsavam are on the same pattern as the Tirumala temple.  The shrine opens at 6am with the Suprapadham.

How to get there:

Karkala is 37 km southeast of Udupi.  Sringeri is 97km northeast. Udupi is the nearest railway station. Buses ply between Udupi and Karkala at regular intervals.

Accommodation:  There are good hotels near the bus stand, or you could stay in Udupi.

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