Under water rests the lord

unique

Under water rests the lord

When I heard about Guddattu Vinayaka Temple, which was more than 1,700 years old, I
decided to include it in my itinerary. And on a recent trip to Dakshina Kannada, I visited the temple. Located about 15 km from Kundapur in Udupi district, the temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and the unique part is that the deity is part of a natural rock formation and is a self-manifested one.

Taking a detour on the Udupi Highway, a well laid-out road leads you to this temple. A brightly coloured large arch done up in shades of yellow, pink, orange and red with a Ganesha idol in the middle flanked by elephants with raised trunks on either side takes you to the entrance of the temple. Set amidst verdant greenery, with swaying coconut trees and lush paddy farms, the temple itself is a simple structure and the rural charm is hard to miss.

Fables & more
This is the only Jaladhivasa (resting in water) Ganapathi in the country. The temple is on the foot of a huge granite rock that appears like a sleeping elephant. The temple dates back to many thousand years and the idol is not very clear, but on close observation you can see the Lord sitting in a cross-legged position with a twisted trunk. The black stone idol is about three feet tall.

The Lord is always kept immersed in water and there is an interesting story behind this practice. One of the priests let me in on the story: in the olden times, there was a demon named Tripurasura who had all the three worlds under his control. In order to vanquish him, all the 33,000 crore gods and goddesses along with Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva came together to devise a strategy. It is said that Lord Shiva led this effort. After praying to Ganesha, the god of auspicious beginnings, the team set off to vanquish the demon. One day, Shiva apparently left without seeing Lord Ganesha and when he fired an arrow at the demon, it could not kill him.

Lord Shiva felt that this was caused by Ganesha and fired another arrow at his own son. But the arrow could not harm Ganesha. However, as the arrow could not come back either, it apparently took Ganesha into one of the Sapta Sagaras (Seven Seas), called the Madhu Sagara (Honey Sea). Ganesha, who loved honey, drained the ocean of its honey and blessed Shiva, who then went on to kill the demon. But the excessive honey consumption caused Ganesha discomfort and that was when Shiva brought him to this place adjacent to the holy pool of Narasimhatheertha. Lord Shiva also went on to say that anybody who performs puja with the cool water from the pool to Ganesha, will be blessed. And this is exactly why, even today, water seva is done here.

Many unique and special pujas are performed here. Usually, rudrabhisheka seva is performed in Shiva temples, but it is performed here too as it is believed this place also has Shiva’s powers. However, it is the ayar koda seva (ayar means thousand and koda means pot) that is a special and unique one. In fact, if you are here in the morning, you can actually see this happen. There is a well on the premises, where the priest draws water from and this is passed on from one priest to another, who stand in a line.

This ritual starts by draining the holy pond of all the water. Coconut oil is then applied to the idol and rudrabhisheka is performed. After an offering of food and panchamruta (a mix of milk, curd, jaggery, coconut water, sugar and ghee) water is completely drained and idol is wiped dry. After the pujas are done, the idol is adorned with flowers. There is a small hole on the side of the wall, where you can see the idol when the aarti is being done. After this, water is filled up to the neck of the idol, and it is believed that the Lord will rest in the cool water till seven the next morning. Since water is always up to neck level of the Lord, this requires about 1,000 pots of water. It is said that the once the Lord feels cool, he will return the favour by blessing the devotees.

Naturally, this is a popular seva and is booked many months in advance! Apart from this, ganahoma, mudiakkikadabu, kayi moodaganapathi and panchakajjaya sevas are also performed here. The temple is managed by the Adiga family who are both the hereditary trustees and chief priests.

This is certainly a temple that is different in the true sense of the word and the serenity makes this a spiritual sojourn like no other.

Fact File
How to get there:
By Air: The nearest airport is at Mangaluru.
By Train: The nearest railheads are at Kundapur, Udupi.
By Road: Guddattu is well connected by road and is about 35 km from Udupi and can be reached via Brahmavara-Barkur-Shiriyara. It is about 15 km from Kundapur and can be reached via Koteshwara-Hunsemakhi-Guddeangady.

Stay:
There are no places to stay here, but both Udupi and Kundapur offer varied accommodation options.

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