Where Krishna's flute beckons

Where Krishna's flute beckons

The 1,800 year old Sri Santana Venugopalaswamy Temple at Hemmaragala village, also known as Dakshina Govardhana Kshetra and Kaundinya Govardhana Kshetra, enjoys a rich traditional history. It is situated in a land where Koundinya Maharshi, a saint from the pre-Buddhist era who lived in the Dwapara Yuga, worshipped Lord Venugopala.

History records the presence of several rulers and dynasties in Hemmaragala, the first of them being the Gangas. Though the idols of the deities in the Temple are sculpturally rich, chiselled to perfection with attention to minute details, architecturally, the edifice is simple.

It reveals an amalgamation of styles belonging to the various periods in history –  Cholas, Gangas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar rulers. A large hall with tiled roof, supported by wooden beams and rafters, leads to the Temple’s main
entrance.

The sanctum sanctorum has three shrines, one each for Rukmini and Satyabhama on the sides with the central section containing the main deity, Venugopalaswamy. Flute in hand and with Adisesha gently shielding his crown, the Lord is in the enchanting tribhangi mudra or Bharatanatyam dance posture. Hence, he is also known as Tribhangi Kolalu Gopala. The idol is sculpted from a single piece of saligrama stone.

The bheejakshara sudarshana chakra is at the foot of the idol. Above the doorway of the trio of shrines in the sanctum sanctorum, one observes gold embossed idols of Rukmini and Satyabhama in the act of garlanding.

In the central segment corresponding to Venugopala’s shrine, we see the Vaishnavite symbols, the conch (shankhu), chakra and the urdhva pundra or the tilak applied by the followers of Vishnu. The utsava murthy of the temple, Varadaraja Swamy, stands in all grandeur with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi on either side.

Many aliases

The temple is also known by the name of Kaundinya Maharishi Sudharshana Narasimha Kshetra. According to legend, Lord Narasimha is believed to have saved the temple and the village from amarauding Tipu Sultan. Hence, he is considered as the kshetrapalaka or
security guard of the village. Also, Lord Narasimha is the udbhava murthy of the Temple and finds himself sculpted out of a saligrama stone on a small square on the lintel of the doorway of the sanctum sanctorum.

The danda or stick placed in the sanctum sanctorum, is another amazing feature associated with the Temple. This sacred danda claims to free people from their problems.

It is believed to have been handed over to the Temple by the great sage himself before he attained samadhi. Danda sparsha is an event that takes place at the Temple every Saturday and Sunday. The danda is placed on the head of the devotees visiting the Temple to have their wishes fructified.

According to the temple priest, a sudarshana homa is performed on every full moon day at the premises. The most important festival celebrated here is Shravana Gokulashtami, the birth of Sri Krishna, a five-day event. It is held only once a year, on shravana bahula ekadasi.

The village lies on the Mysore-Nanjangud-Chamrajnagar route, 14 km from Nanjangud, 35 km from Mysore and about 180 km from Bangalore in Nanjangud taluk of Mysore district.

On the Nanjangud-Chamrajnagar stretch, proceed to Badanaval upon reaching Chinnadagudi Railway Station. Take a right turn at Badanaval and proceed for five km to reach the Temple.

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