Where Sita bathed in roaring Cauvery

Where Sita bathed in roaring Cauvery

Chunchanakatte is a quaint town on the banks of the river Cauvery, where monkeys casually roam the precincts of the Kodandarama Temple and grab devotees’ offerings, discovers R Ramadurai.

When my niece called me one morning recently, she said, “Uncle do you want to come with us to Chunchankatte? It is home to Kodandarama, our family deity,” she informed me. Having not heard of the place before, we agreed to join her and her family. Little did we realise what was in store for us!

Chunchanakatte is near K R Nagar, the rice and sugar bowl of Mysore district in Krishnarajanagara taluk, about 57 kilometres from Mysore City towards Hassan. The temple here is ancient and dedicated to Lord Kodandarama. The temple is situated in a picturesque spot, just by the side of the River Cauvery and a beautiful falls. The idols installed here are unique. Usually, Sitadevi, Lord Rama’s consort, is found standing to his left. But here, she stands to his right!

We were taken by the pristine beauty of the place. With Monsoon in full cry this time, the falls by the side of the temple was in full flow and a sight to behold.

Legend describes Chunchanakatte as the holy place where Lord Rama during his vanavas (stay in forest) stopped by and availed the hospitality of a tribal couple called Chuncha and Chunchi. In this forest Lord Rama also met an agnatha rishi (unknown sage) and was impressed by his devotion to Lord Narayana. Lord Rama requested the rishi to ask for a wish and the rishi told Lord Rama that he desired to see Lord Rama with Sita on his right side. The wish was granted and subsequently, the idol was installed in the same manner.

There are two Hanuman temples – one at the entrance to the Kodandarama Temple and the other, just beyond the temple near the river. The car festival (Brahmarathotsava) is held on January 15 of every year. Another scene one witnesses at this temple is the abundant presence of Rama bhakta Hanuman. Or his present-day manifestation, the monkeys. The simians can be found everywhere including the temple courtyard and the sanctum sanctorum where they royally walk in and steal prasadam from devotees. No one including the temple priest seem to know the way to stop them. It is a sight to watch!

After offering prayers at the temple, we turned our attention to the river. Cauvery flows into Chunchankatte roaring thunderously, forming a 60-feet high and approximately 300 to 400-feet wide waterfalls. When the river reaches the cascade, it is divided into two separate falls before joining again to continue to flow as one into the Krishnarajasagara (KRS) Reservoir. he roar is deafening and the spray from the falls is refreshing. The gushing of water from every nook and corner of the rocky bed forms a milky-white falls and the brown coloured water in some parts of the falls shows the extent of alluvial soil that Cauvery brings along with her to the Deccan Plateau.

It is believed that Sita took bath in these holy waters, thus rendering a yellow (turmeric) tinge to the water. According to the legend, when a tired and weary Sita wished to have a bath, Lord Rama directed brother Lakshmana to shoot an arrow at a rock. Accordingly, when Lakshmana shot the arrow, water in three different shades started pouring out —one with turmeric, one with oil and one with shikakai (acacia concina tree kwhose fruit, seeds, bark and leaves are powdered to get a natural cleanser). These shades are visible even today when there is considerable amount of water flowing in the falls, like this time with Monsoon in full cry.

The most astonishing feature of this temple is that even though the falls beside the temple makes a deafening noise, inside the sanctum sanctorum nothing of the roar can be heard. It is as though the falls does not exist. Besides the picturesque falls this place boasts of greenery and migratory birds. The power plant nearby was started during 1994 and two units were completed in 1998. The power station has a capacity of 18MW (9 MW each).

How to get there

Chunchanakatte can be reached by road from Mysore and from Bangalore, which is about 190 kilometres and for the most part you now have a four-lane highway. It is a day trip from Bangalore and Mysore.

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