A hill wrapped in myth

Legends and myths are aplenty in Hindu mythology. Seethi Betta in Kolar district is no exception to this. 

This place has a temple located atop a hillock and a interesting story attached to it.

Legend has it that Shiva appeased with the rigorous penance by the demon Bhasmasura, offered him a boon of his choice. |

An overjoyed Bhasmasura requested the Lord to grant him the power to turn anybody into ash by a simple touch of his hand. 
 
Shiva granted his request but fled from him when he realised that Bhasmasura would attempt the boon on him. 
 
Vishnu in the form of a beautiful Mohini, eventually rescues Shiva by enticing the demon into a celestial dance and forcing him to bring about his own destruction by touching himself. 
 
Unfortunately, a farmer who helped Bhashmasura, incurs Shiva’s wrath who curses him to a life of eternal misery. 

Worried, the farmer then prays to Kalabhairava, the fierce manifestation of Shiva who suggests him to sacrifice his index finger as repentance. Shiva then forgives him. 
 
The descendants of the farmer eventually continued with the tradition of sacrificing their index finger through the generations and thus became known as the ‘beralu kodo vokkaligaru’ or ‘farmers sacrificing the index finger in the Lord’s honour clan’. 
 
Rising from the ashes
 
The hillock situated opposite to Seethi betta is believed to be created from the ashes of Bhasmasura and is known as ‘Bhasmasura betta’. 

A fact enthusiastically shared by many is that the rainwater falling on this hillock does not flow downstream and gets absorbed by the ashes above.
 
The temple is modest in architecture.  

It follows the typical Dravidian style with two entrances and a standard layout consisting of a mantapa (outer pillared hall), navaranga (inner pillared hall), ante-chamber and garbhagudi (sanctum sanctorum). 

The ante-chamber is particularly noteworthy for its beautiful pillars displaying symmetric lathe and stone work and the stone relief sculpture of the ashta-dikpalakas (guardians of the eight directions) on the ceiling. 

The main deity Bhairaveshwara or Kalabhairava is worshipped in the form of a beautiful saligrama idol with the best of anointments and the very best of decorations. 
 
The second section of the temple consists of smaller shrines with the important one being that of Shripateeshwara, a shivalinga. 
 
The shrine is shaped in the form  of a cave and is believed to be the same one where Shiva sought refuge from the demon. 
 
The other shrines include those of Shiva’s consort Parvathi, Ganesha, Subhramanya, Chamundeshwari and a stucco like carving of Chandikeshwara. 

The latter two are significant as one gets to see rare inscriptions written in grantha bhashe, an ancient south Indian language derived partly from Brahmi. 

Sadly, no translations of these inscriptions are available to enlighten the curious amongst the visitors. If interpreted, they could probably provide vital information about the temple. 

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