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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sarvajanika Ganesh Utsav

Ganesha Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (re-birth) of Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati.

It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods, barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel. The festival, also known as Ganeshotsav ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).

While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh. Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada, Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma , Fiji and Trinidad & Tobago.


Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. Lord Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn't know him, he didn't allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged and asked his follower ghosts to teach the child some manners. Ganesha, being born of Parvati, the embodiment of shakti or power was very powerful himself. He defeated the ghost-followers (called as the "gana"s)and declared nobody was allowed to enter while his mother was bathing. Sensing a growing turmoil, the sage of heavens, Narada, along with the Saptarshi (the seven wise rishis) went to appease the boy with no results. Angered, the king of Gods, Indra attacked the boy with his entire heavenly army but even they didn't stand a chance. By then, this issue had become a matter of pride for Parvathi and Shiva. After the devas were defeated, the trinity, the controller, preserver and destroyer of the universe launched an attack against Ganesha. Amidst the fight, Shiva severed the head of the child. And brought on Parvathi's rage. Seeing her son dead, Parvathi revealed her true self, as the Adi-shakti, the prime energy that fuels the universe and sustains matter. Taking on a terrible form, she vowed to destroy the universe where her son was killed and re-create a better one. The Gods prostrated before her and Shiva promised that her son will live again. The trinity hunted the world for a head and came across a mother elephant crying for her dead baby. They consoled the mother and fixed the head of the baby elephant in place of Ganesha's head. Lord Shiva also declared that from this day, the boy would be called as "Ganesha" (Gana-Isha=lord of the Ganas). In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God.

Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Founder of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav

The public celebration of the Ganapati festival -- Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav -- was started by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893.

The well known freedom fighter and statesman, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, realized that Ganesh Festival would be a way of uniting people in a common cause and in this manner a possible means of bringing about political consciousness under the guise of a religious celebration, with freedom for India being the ultimate goal. He started celebrating Ganeshotsav as a public festival by establishing a Sarvajanik Ganpati at Vinchurkarwada in 1894 and today it is the most popular event in the State. 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Karinjeshwara Temple, Karinja

Sri Karinjeshwara temple is situated at a place called Karinja of Kavalamudur village in Bantwal taluk in Dakshina Kannada district. It is located at a distance of 35 km from Mangalore and 14 km from Bantwal. The Karinjeshwara temple stands high on the hill amidst beautiful surroundings. There are two temples, one dedicated to the Lord Shiva, at the peak of the hill, and another dedicated to His Wife, the Goddess Parvati, and their Son, Lord Ganesha, a little lower down on the way to the Shiva Temple.

This is the 7th temple built by Kalkuda. He had vowed to built 7 temples overnight.

About 800 years ago, two brahmin youth Karinjattaya and Ichlattaya brothers arrived at Uttara Kannada for publicizing Sanatana belief. At that period Tulunadu was ruled by Taulava King. Bhoota worship was the ritual in practice at that time in this region. The place where Ichlattaya settled was called Ichlampady and the other by Karinjattaya was called Karinja. In the middle of Karinja and Ichlampady in a scenic beautiful area was built a Lord Shiva Temple. These brahmin without any decendants had given away their agricultural property along with the Temple to the Bunts who were helping them.

One has to get down at Vagga, 10 Km away from Bantwal towards Dharmasthala. The stop is also identified as Karinja Cross, where a beautiful entrance welcomes you to one of the calm and nice places of the coastal district. The road leading you to Karinja through Kodyamale Forest is also enough to keep you spellbound. It is best experienced when we walk from main entrance till the Temple.
If you are starting from Mangalore, then catch a KSRTC bus from starting from KSRTC bus stand plying to Dharmastala and get down at Karinja Cross, and either walk 2 km from the entrance to temple or hire a rick to temple.

Shiva temple is situated on the top of a hill, 1500 ft high from sea level, looks like temple is standing on a huge stone. The temple architecture is built by stones. From Ukkadada bagilu” around 145 steps it’s the main entrance to Shiva temple. The Shiva Sannidhi covered with “Shilamaya Shiva” garbhagudi (shiva statue) “Metina Gudi” and a “Naivedya Kallu” (granite stone), and offers an enchanting view of the surroundings.

There are numerous evidences in the premises of the temple narrating several stories to the visitors about the life of the temple as it is believed that the temple premises has been the testimony for all the four ‘Yugas’ mentioned in Hindu mythology.

It is revealed that the place was called as ‘Roudra Giri’ during ‘Krutha Yuga’, ‘Gajendra Giri’ in ‘Thretha Yuga’, ‘Bhima Shaila’ in ‘Dwapara Yuga’ and ‘Karinja’ in ‘Kali Yuga’. Deemed as the temple located at greatest height among all the other temples of Dakshina Kannada, the shrine is situated on a monolith spreading over 25 acres. The temple is surrounded by picturesque green Kodyamale Reserved Forest adding to the serenity of the place. 

About The Temple:

When we reach the temple we first see a big pond in “Gada” (Mace) shape – Gada Theertha at the bottom of the Karinja hill is 237 meter long, 55 m wide and 7m deep size looks like a mirror with crystal clear water. After taking a dip in pond or atleast after sprinkling water over the head we have to start climbing the steps through Main entrance. 

Parvathi Temple: From the Beedi (main entrance from the road) you have to start stepping on the huge stone to reach this temple. In the starting point of Parvathi temple, you can see the “Vinayaka Gudi”. 

The journey on steep steps on a huge stone with the help of iron rods feels great. Be careful about the Vana Senas (monkeys). They are always up to something. They grabbed the Bananas that were carrying in our plastic bags that we wanted to offer to Lord Shiva. 

Ukkadada Bagilu : When you climb about 142 steps above the Parvathi Temple you find a massive doorframe made up of a stone. It has a 0.3 cm cut mark on it, which is said to be created by the hitting of an arrow, when Arjuna tried to kill a wicked pig. 

Three ponds : There mentions in various episodes of Mahabharatha about the three temple ponds namely ‘Gadha Theertha’, ‘Angushta Theertha’ and ‘Janu Theertha’ found in the temple premises. ‘Gadha Theertha’ located in the foothills is in the shape of a Gadha (mace). It is said that ‘Gadha Theertha’ was formed when Bhima threw his mace on the floor and ‘Angushta Theertha’ was created by Bhima’s thumb. Another pond ‘Janu Theertha’, which is said to have originated when Bhima knelt down on the floor, serves the water requirements of the temple through out the year as this pond never dries up. A lake in the temple premises- ‘Handi Kere’ too has a mythological story attached to it. Handi Kere is supposedly formed when great archer Arjuna arrowed down a pig. The arrow marks are still visible on the rocky hill.

When Arjuna reached Karinja to seek blessings from Lord Shiva wanted to test Arjuna and came in disguise of a tribal head. When Arjuna aimed at the wild boar, even disguised Shiva aimed at the same boar. Both shot the boar at the same time. So both had a fight on whom to claim the boar. After a long battle Arjuna was defeated and Shiva and Parvathi gave him darshana. Goddess Parvathi blessed Arjuna with special powerful arrows.

When you climb another 118 steps passing through Ukkadada (Ukkada means the limitor border of a town and a turn pike or a toll gate) Bagilu, you reach Sri Karinjeshwara Temple. The “Shilamaya” Temple in such a high place has been regarded as the “Bhookailasa”. 

One can also find Seetha Pramana Kallu near the main Garbagudi.

Daily feeding for Vanara Sena:

One of the temple’s specialities lies in the age old practice followed by the temple authorities of feeding monkeys led by the Alpha-Male called the Karinje-Dhadda on daily basis on Naivedya Kallu.

Legend says that when Rama and Seetha come to this place with the Vanara Sena after defeating Ravan, To mark this remembrance Ram Left His Sena here at Karinja.

Everyday ‘Naivedhyam’ cooked of three ‘Seru’ (700 gram) rice is fed to the monkeys immediately after ‘Mahapuja’ in the afternoon. One can see monkeys waiting near Shiva temple to relish on the hot rice at sharp 12 noon. Devotees offering bananas and coconuts to these monkeys are a common sight at Karinja temple. 


The biggest and most important event at this temple is Shivarathri, a four-day festival. On the first night of Shivarathri, there are elaborate poojas and homas (different types of worship rituals) at each temple into the early hours of the morning. The next night, the idol of Shiva is carried down to the Parvathi temple and husband and wife are united for the night amid more worshipping and festivities. The next day, the Rathotsava (Chariot Festival), the two idols are paraded around at the Parvathi temple and then at the ground level, where they are carried around in a chariot (a Ratha). Later that day, the two idols are carried back to the Parvathi temple, where Shiva bids goodbye to Parvathi and carries on alone to his temple. The following night, the last night of the festival, Shiva is once again taken to Parvathi; they are taken for a "stroll" at ground level before they are once again returned to their respective places. 

“Aati Amavasya” and “Shravana Amavasya” are other festivals celebrated here. 

The soil of the spot where the lake now stands is pathologically said to have spread over a distance of Seven Miles, which is known as “Kodia Malai”, now inhabited by wild animals and reptiles. You will find that the climb of 555 steps is worth and once you reach the peak you will get a beautiful bird’s eye view of the surrounding areas. With all its historical significance and beauty of nature, Karinja is one of the best place for a pilgrim centers.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mangalore Dasara

The Dasara festival celebrated from September 28, 2011 followed by traditional Mangalore Dasara procession that was held on the final day i.e. October 6, 2011.

Important Dates
6th Oct 2011 - Kudroli Shobha Yatra Procession ( Mangalore Dasara)
6th Oct 2011 - Mangaladevi Rathotsav
7th Oct 2011 - Acharya Matt Carstreet Sharada Procession

Mangalore Dasara is as famous as Dasara in Mysore. This festival also called as Marnemi in Tulu. Kudroli temple is the center of attraction during the Navarathri festival. The Kudroli Sri Gokarnanatheshwara Temple is 3km from the centre of Mangalore city. 

During Navarathri Idols of Godess Sharada with other Navagraha's along with Lord Ganesha were installed in Kudroli temple's Koragappa Hall. This hall was decorated very beautifully with lights and other materials which made people feel like as if they entered into a golden palace.













During Navarathri entire Mangalore was decorated with colorful lights. The colorful ‘Shobha Yathra’ started from Kudroli Sri Gokarnanatha Temple after puja's and other religious rituals at around 4.30 pm. After the Visarjan puja wass done for the Sharada and other Navadurga idols, they were taken in a grand procession, which passed through the beautifully decorated seven-km route.

This procession in turn attracted huge crowds from all over the city. 

During the procession idol of Ganesha was in the forefront of the procession which was followed by Adishakti, Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kooshmandini, Skandamata, Katyayini, Mahakali, Mahagowri, Siddidatri and Sharada. Hundreds of folk troupes danced and marched ahead of the deities in the processions. 

On this occasion the trucks get modified carrying colourful tableaux, some displaying mythological themes and some modern, topics, took part in the main procession.

Tiger dance (Pili Vesha) performed here during Navarathri is unique in its own way. They dance beautifully to the drum beats. They are also a part during the final procession. 

The procession ends near the temple and all the idols are taken to the water pool (Gangavatara) near the temple and drowned in an orderly manner. This is called as Visarjan of the idols. 

Later, Balipuje and Mantapabali rituals will be organised in the temple. The festival will be concluded at the Kudroli temple with the immersion of Sri Sharada Mata idol after ‘Mantapa Puja’. It is a very sad feeling that people get when they see the idol of Goddess Sharada getting immersed in water. One can experience the decline of the shine in Goddess Sharada's face after they remove all the valuables from idol before immersing. 

Godess gives a message to all mortal beings saying " We might have earned or acquired things in this materialistic world, but one day we leave everything behind and go."

It is always observed that they will be a showers of Rain when Idol of Goddess Sharada is being immersed which is an indication from God that everything has gone well.

Mangaladevi at Bolar Another famous temple Mangaladevi at Bolar also celebrates the festival. Mangalore got its name from Mangaladevi. Mangaladevi temple arranges for various cultural programmes such as folk, music, drama, plays on various themes, ballets and devotional songs. 

Large number of devotees participate in the Rathotsav (car festival) on the ninth day i.e. Navami. The procession has chariot-driven cavalcades (rathotsava) filled with various deities and hundreds of tableaux gloriously decorated with colorful lights and festoons. The procession reaches a location at Marnamikatta where the goddess is worshipped. Pious people of Mangalore believe that worship of Mangaladevi brings them prosperity and happiness.