Sacred structures in and around Barkur

Sacred structures in and around Barkur

This quaint town lies 16 km from Udupi and is generally off the conventional tourist lists. Located on the banks of River Sita, this town is a group of three villages- Hosala, Hanehalli and Kachoor. It is said that Barkur was earlier divided into a number of keris, each had a tank and multiple temples. At one point, it is said, there were as many as 365 temples here. However, today, what remains of them are just ruins. Most temples that are functional here are dedicated to Lord Ganesha. With sloping terracotta laden roofs lending them a distinct rustic charm, most of these temples date between the ninth and 12th century. Here is a quick look at some of them. 

The Batte Vinayaka Temple is one of the oldest and most popular temples in Barkur. It is believed to have been in existence even before that of the Barkur kingdom. The deity gets its name from the fact that he wears a cloth around his waist. Decorated with red hibiscus flowers that are grown locally, the idol faces north and is inclined slightly to the west. The temple attracts patronage from not only the locals but also vehicle owners and drivers who consider this temple auspicious. 

The Bairagi Ganapathi Temple, Chowlikeri, is an elaborate one when compared to others, in that, it is much bigger and has not deteriorated with time. It is believed to have been built by the Cholas and is 900 years old. The idol is said to have been installed by a bairagi(tramp) and hence the name. The temple has some beautiful stone pillars reflecting the architecture of the past and also houses multiple terracotta tiled enclosures. 

The Kallu Ganapati Temple in Padumundu Shiriyara village, is within a rocky cave. The entrance to the temple is through a narrow passage amidst several large boulders which surround the shrine. In fact, the roof is also made of rocky boulders that are precariously stacked. The sanctum houses the shrines of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi and Lord Ganesha.  

 The Guddattu Sri Vinayaka Temple, located close to Shiriyara town is a unique temple and is about 700 years old. Legend has it that Lord Ganesha was made to sit here by Lord Shiva himself after the former had consumed excess honey that caused a burning sensation in his stomach. The self-manifested idol of Lord Ganesha is in a rock and is in a sitting position. The idol can be seen through a small opening and devotees queue up to catch a glimpse.

A distinguishing feature of the temple is that after the daily pujas are conducted, the idol is submerged in water up to the neck level. The Ayurkoda Abhisheka is a special puja conducted here wherein the existing water is drained from the cave, Abhisheka is performed and about thousand pots of water is freshly drawn from the well and filled until the deity is submerged. The Akki Kadubu Seve which is an offering of steamed dumplings made from rice and urad dal is also considered sacred.