Straddling time zones at T Narasipura

If one cruises along the river Cauvery, it is impossible to miss the countless number of temple towns punctuated along its banks, full of history and mythology.             T

Narasipura in the State takes the cake because of its status of being labelled ‘Dakshina Kashi’. Tirumakudalu Narasipura, 29 kilometers to the south-east of Mysore, was established at the confluence of two rivers, Cauvery and Kapila, joined by an invisible river called Gupta Gamini also known as ‘Spatika Sarovara’.

The confluence of the three water bodies lends the prefix Tirumakudalu. The waters form an ethereal backdrop to the place which seems to be going back and forth in time. Archaeological surveys reveal the presence of neoloithic man in the region. The ancient town houses some fabulous examples of architecture associated with both Shaivite and Vaishnavite faith, at least half a millennium old. Renowned rulers like Krishnadevaraya, and scions from the Ganga, Chola and Hoysala dynasty have left their artistic impressions in the form of temples and monuments as their tribute to the land.

Industrialisation saw the Panchayat town metamorphosing into a raw silk manufacturing unit. In 1989, people on the banks of the Sangam decided to celebrate the Kumbhamela akin to the northern Indian one, once every twelve years.

It is a trifle hard to segregate mythology, history and contemporary reality for the citizens of T Narasipura for they have developed the uncanny knack of straddling different time zones with equal ease. It is simply impossible to miss this unique feature of this land because just about everyone from the local MLA, doctor, bus driver, techie, boatman, businessman, Gen X student seem to be rather reluctant to unravel the well knit fabric of their belief.

Legend has it that the Narasimha deity in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple holds a little twig with a gunja seed locally known as gulaganji seed (botanical name-abrus precatorius) symbolically promising his devotees a trifle more punya (spiritual fulfillment) than if they were to visit Kashi.

The spacious, beautiful and hoary Agasthyeeshwara temple which hosts a fractured Shivalinga made of sand boasts of a fabled altercation between the saint Agasthya and Lord Hanuman which eventually led to the damage of the Shiva Linga and causing the mysterious Spatika Sarovara (Crystal Lake) to gush out of the earth.

While these two mammoth temples stand testimony to the tolerance of the Shaivite and Vaishnavite communities in the remote past, the presence of other monuments of worship on the same lines seem to be attesting the fact rather gloriously. The temples of Bhiksheshwara, Moolasthaneshwara, Anandeshwara built around the same period reflect the aesthetic sense of their patron rulers.

A visit to T Narasipura will prove to be incomplete if one does not take a coracle and surf the waters that embrace the holy land.  A picnic break in the waters can be taken at the occasional Jala mantapa – a little roofed platform amid the water or a little island especially during summer.  This exotic town can be accessed in a matter of two hours by road from Mysore.