Kakolu's unique Krishna idol

Kakolu's unique Krishna idol

Kakolu, a nondescript village about 40 km from Bengaluru, is home to a unique temple of Lord Krishna. But for the brick red and white stripes characteristic of temple compound walls, and the flagstaff or garuda sthambha in the courtyard facing the sanctum sanctorum, there is nothing to indicate that the structure sandwiched between village homes is a temple. We enter the temple premises through a gate, the pillars of which have open shrines holding aloft statues of Kanakadasa and Purandaradasa.

The idols enshrined in the edifice, and the village itself, date back to antiquity. The temple is well known for the twin sculptures of Krishna and Anjaneya in unique forms. Though the presiding deity is Santana Venugopala Krishna, the central sanctum sanctorum is occupied by Anjaneya. He is sculpted on a rectangular black stone, sporting a conch and discus on either sides, and covered with a silver kavach (armour) from crown to toe. Vyasaraja, the 15th century saint-poet, is believed to have consecrated this idol of Anjaneya. On the rear side of the stone is the figurine of Garuda.

To the right of the Anjaneya sanctum is the shrine of Venugopala Krishna. Krishna is depicted as in the Bhagavata Purana, standing in Brindavana in tribhanga posture. Twin features lend uniqueness to this representation of Krishna. Contrary to norms, he is portrayed playing the flute held to the left. Secondly, he is shown with four arms, instead of the usual stance with two hands. While he holds the conch and discus in his upper hands, he is portrayed playing the flute with the other two.

A sanctum containing the idols of Vedavyasa, Madhvacharya and Sripadaraja faces the sanctum of Brindavana Krishna. Other temple structures include the Balipada, yagashaale, naga mantapa, the navagrahas, and the Dakshineshwara linga, which is believed to have been worshipped and installed by Arjuna, the Pandava prince.

The legend of the distinctive idol of Brindavana Krishna dates back 600 years and is associated with the saint-scholar Sripadaraja who had the idol carved and originally consecrated in Chikkadevanapura on the west bank of River Arkavaty.
It was the practice of Sripadaraja to offer his favourite deity, Lord Krishna, 64 sweets every day. One day, a few of his disciples, connived to break this tradition observed by their guru. They convinced Sripadaraja to travel to the forests for a few days. Sripadaraja who was aware of their intention, went along with them after ensuring they packed all the necessary raw materials to prepare the sweets in the forest. A week passed by and the rations they took ran out. The disciples rejoiced at the success of their plan: their guru would not be able to prepare the 64 sweets to offer Krishna.

The following day as Sripadaraja was enjoying his environs, unmindful of the stock of provisions that had run out. All of a sudden, there was a radiant light before him. He beheld Krishna standing before him in Brindavana, flute in hand, surrounded by cows and cowherds. Gods and demigods rushed to see Krishna and pleaded with him to grace them with a vision of his original self, as Vishnu. The Lord acceded to their wish and appeared before them as the four-armed deity.

Sripadaraja was entranced by the sight before him. Just then, one of his disciples ran towards him and informed him that there was no stock of food left. Sripadaraja was unperturbed, for he felt that Krishna would help him keep up his routine.
True to his belief, a bevy of bullock carts arrived at the forest with a lot of food.

A group of pilgrims on the way to Tirupati introduced themselves to Sripadaraja as village heads from Kakolu. They informed him of having had a dream in which Srinivasa, the Lord of Tirupati had asked them to have the darshan of Sripadaraja. They were also told that Sripadaraja would consecrate an idol of Srinivasa in his original form to be worshipped in Kakolu!

Afterwards, the pilgrims presented Sripadaraja the food they had brought with them. The 64 sweets were duly prepared and offered to Krishna. Thus, came into being the idol of Chaturbhuja Santana Venugopalaswamy and the temple for him in Kakolu.

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