Sirsi, home to Marikamba

Established in 1689, it attracts pilgrims from near and far. The temple has an ornate entrance leading to the main auditorium hall, also called sabha mantapa, and then the sanctum sanctorum, in which the idol of Marikamba is consecrated.

Beneath is the deity decorated with a silver mukhawada (mask). She is the grama devata (deity of the village). The entrance into the sanctum sanctorum is restricted to the priests. They hail from two families, who have the hereditary right to worship the goddess.

An unusual feature of the temple architecture is the gopura (tower) over the sanctum, which is a small round dome with a single kalasa (adornment), bereft of any other decoration except for statues of two lions guarding the two corners. It has a large ambulatory space all around the temple. The raised platform walls have paintings of gods, goddesses, warriors and animals.

In one corner, in separate enclosures are located two buffaloes tended with care, which are part of the temple ritual. However, animal sacrifice was stopped since the year 1930.
A kalyana mantapa (marriage hall) for weddings and other ceremonies is located nearby. There are lodging facilities for the benefit of pilgrims.

Free meals (anna daana) are offered to pilgrims every day at 12 noon. The large auditorium is used to hold cultural events such as kirtanes, yakshagana, etc. Mass weddings take place here with the lead taken by the Trust.

The selection of the board of trustees to run the temple is democratic. After scrutinising the nominations received, the district judge selects five eminent persons to run the affairs of the temple for a period of five years.

The Trust board includes a woman nominee, a person well-versed in financial affairs and other eminent personalities. The Trust supports 20 kindergarten classes in the City.
A devi jatre lasting eight days attracts many pilgrims from all over the State and beyond. The jatre is held once in two years at a designated place near the old bus-stand. A chariot is taken out with the utsava murti to the jatre venue amidst great religious fervour.

Most festivals like Ugadi, Deepavali are celebrated, Navaratri being the most grand, with exquisite decorations to the Devi every day during the festival. Cultural programmes are held during the festival days. Deepotsava is celebrated during the month of Kartika.

How to get there:
Sirsi is well connected by road to various places in the State. It is at a distance of about 347 km from Bangalore by road. The nearest railheads are Haveri and Kumta. The nearest airports are Hubli and Belgaum.

The town has a few lodges and hotels. Local transport is by buses, taxis and autorickshaws. The weather is generally balmy except during the monsoon months. Evenings could be chillier and light warm clothes are advised.