Shrines in the hills, valleys

Shrines in the hills, valleys

The picturesque hills of Devarayanadurga, about 65 km away from Bangalore, is nature’s gift to mankind. It has two ancient temples namely the Bhoga Narasimha Swamy Temple midway up the hills and the Yoga Narasimha Swamy shrine at the top.

A half-hour drive from the NH-4 takes us to a plateau-like clearing on the hill, where the Bhoga Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple is situated. This is believed to have been constructed by Kanthirava Narasaraja Wodeyar I. 

The Narasimha Swamy Temple is built in a Dravidian style and faces east. There is a small rajagopuram decorated with ornamental designs and statuettes. A tall dhwajasthambha (flag-mast) made out of granite stands in front of it.

There are many statues, statuettes and floral decorations on the pillars of the mandapa and the outer walls of the garbhagriha (sanctum). Lord Narasimha Swamy sits majestically in his shrine with goddess Lakshmi to his left. Within the periphery, there is also a separate shrine dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.

Right opposite to this shrine, a beautiful garden has been maintained with lawns, flowering shrubs and trees, where pilgrims can enjoy some peace and solitude. You can also find a Sanjeevaraya Temple dedicated to Hanuman close-by which is much older.
A drive along the winding road will take you to the highest level of the hill. From here, if you climb about 100 steps of granite, you will find yourself face-to-face with the shrine of Yoga Narasimha Swamy. This is a slightly bigger temple, with a decorated rajagopuram, parikrama, mandapa and the main sanctorum.

You can also find a large sacred pond ( kalyani) called Narasimhateertha here where you can have your sacred dips before moving in. You can find water in this pond even during summer.

There is supposed to be a small shrine of Garuda at the summit of the hill, and two more small kalyanis which are not easily accessible. The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking and gives you a good look at the surrounding hills, valleys, serpentine roads and villages.

Goddess of wealth
Drive down the hill, towards the valley, for about 15km to get to a small village called Goravanahalli. The famous shrine of Mahalakshmi is located in the middle of this small village. Thousands throng this place everyday to seek her blessings.

The Temple has an interesting story behind it. It is said that years ago, a poor villager named Abbayya worshipped an idol of Mahalakshmi with regular pujas in his house and consequently became immensely rich. Along with his brother Thoradappa, he used his riches for charity work. After the demise of Abbayya, Thoradappa continued the charity work and built a shrine in the village for the goddess, so that all her devotees could seek her blessings. Unfortunately, the Temple got neglected after 1910 .

In 1925, another villager Kamalamma took over the reigns of the Temple. She used her personal funds to renovate the shrine. In due course, the Temple gained fame by word of mouth and thousands of devotees started pouring in to seek the blessings of the goddess.

Visit the Theertha Reservoir constructed on River Jayamangali which is at a walking distance from the Temple. This reservoir irrigates the surrounding villages where vegetables are grown on a large scale, most of which find their way to Bangalore. End your journey with a walk in the small garden beside the dam which has many flowering trees.

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