Temple on the hill beckons

Also known as Kailasa Parvata and Bhoo Kailasa because it is situated on the top of a hill, this temple is a treat to the eyes, with the lush Kodyamale Reserve Forest surrounding the temple, making the place even more  picturesque.

There is a road that takes one till the foothills of the Karinja hill, where one can find the first of the three ponds, Gadha Teertha. This huge pond is in the shape of a mace and is 237 metres long and 55 metres deep.

Legend has it that the pond was formed when Bheema (one of the five Pandavas) threw his mace on the floor. From the main entrance at the foothill, one has to take a flight of stairs to reach the Parvathi temple. You can also catch a glimpse of  Vinayaka Gudi on the way.

The Parvathi temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva’s consort Goddess Parvathi. This is the first temple a devotee encounters on the pilgrimage.  Further up the hill is the Ukkadada bagilu. This is the main entrance to the Shiva temple.

More than 250 steps lead to the Sri Karinjeshwara temple. During the course of the climb,  one comes across the second pond Janu Teertha, which is said to be formed when Bheema knelt down. Janu Teertha has water in plenty. The third pond is Angushta Teertha and lies above the Janu Teertha.  It is supposedly created by Bheema’s thumb.

One can also find a lake here called Handi Kere, which is said to have formed when Arjuna killed a wicked pig with an arrow. Arrow marks are still visible on the rocky hill.
Towards the end of the climb, one reaches the Karinjeshwara temple which has Shilamaya Shiva, a statue of Lord Shiva in the sanctum sanctorum.

Different names
The temple is said to have had different names in each of the yugas. According to mythological texts, the place was called  Roudra Giri during krutha yuga, Gajendra Giri in tretha yuga, Bheema Shaila in dwapara yuga and Karinja in kali yuga.

Temple festival
Mahashivarathri is the principal festival held in this temple. A week-long annual fair attracts a lot of devotees who participate in a variety of events such as Tirtha Jagarane, Mitta Jagarane, Rathostava, Katte Pooje and Dhwaja Avarohana.

On the third day of the annual fair, the statue of Lord Shiva is brought down to the Parvathi temple. This is the only day when the statues of deities Shiva and Parvathi are placed together. Aati Amavasya and Shravana Amavasya are other special festivals celebrated here. Devotees, especially newlyweds, visit the temple during Aati Amavasya to take a dip in the Gadha Teertha.

Feeding monkeys
Monkeys can be found in plenty in the temple premises. According to the temple’s tradition, immediately after the maha pooja, mooru seru akki (about 2.5 kg of cooked rice) is placed on the naivedhya kallu, a granite platform where offerings are made. A troop of monkeys gather near the stone immediately after the bell rings and enjoy the meal. These monkeys don’t harm devotees and also accept food from them.

How to get there
The Karinjeshwara Temple, also known as Karinja Shiva Parvathi Temple, is located at Kavalamudur village, Vagga in Bantwal. It is about 37 km from Mangalore and 12 km from BC Road.

The place is located between Mangalore and Dharmasthala, on the State highway. Karnataka State bus services are easily available. One can also hire an autorickshaw from Vagga to reach Karinja.

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