Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple – Symbolising Marital and Family Harmony
- 1 Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple – Symbolising Marital and Family Harmony
Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Shakti located in Kateel, Karnataka. The Temple is situated on an islet formed naturally in the middle of the River Nandini. The town of Kateel lies 29 m from Mangalore city center and is considered as one of the holiest temple towns in India. The town of Kateel gets its name from the words ‘Kati’meaning “the middle or the ‘center’ and ‘La’ meaning ‘the place’. Thus, the word Kateela means “The place in the center” referring to the center of the River Nandini which originates in the Kanakachala mountain and flows till Pravanje where it integrates into the sea.
The Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple administration is also dedicated to charity as it provides free Annadanam and other aids free of cost to the weaker sections of the society. The Temple runs five educational institutions (a primary school, a high school, a junior college, a first-grade college and the Center for Post-Graduate Studies and Research in Sanskrit) free of cost for the poorer sections of the society.
The Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple architecture resembles the Kerala style of construction. Apart from the deity Goddess Durga Parameshwari, one can also visit several smaller shrines inside the Temple Complex. After entering the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple from the main entrance, a huge rock can be seen just before entering the bridge. This is the Raktheshwari form of the Goddess from where she came out as a Bee to kill the demon Arunasura. The rock is worshiped three times a day and devotees offer tender coconuts to the rock as a symbol of their affection for the Goddess. The Temple also has shrines dedicated to Mahaganapathi, Shasthara (Lord Ayyapa), Kshethrapalaka, Nagasannidhi, Goddess Chamundi and to Lord Brahma.
History and Legend
- The legend behind the origin of the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple is an interesting read. The source material is mentioned in sources like Markandeya Purana, in the Sahyadrikanda of the Skanda Purana, Sri Nirjararanya Mahatmayam and in Devi Bhagavatha Mahatmayam.
- The legend begins with the battle between Goddess Shakti and demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. Both were eventually killed in the battle. However, Arunasura, their minister fled the battle and gathered all the remaining demons. He became their king and started disturbing the sages and munis by disturbing the Yagnas. The Gods learned of this and stopped the rains which left Earth barren and deserted. The people starved and started ill practices like looting, cannibalism, and killing of animals. Seeing the situation worsening, Maharishi Jabali visited Lord Brahma and requested him to send Kamadhenu (a holy cow) for completing a ritual to appease God. Lord Brahma replied that since Kamadhenu was unavailable, Nandini her daughter would come for the ritual. However, Nandini refused and insulted the Maharishi again and again. The Maharishi became angry and cursed her that she will flow as a river on the Earth’s surface. Nandini was mortified and prayed to Sri Adi Parashakti. The Goddess said that she could not lift the curse, but she will take birth from Nandini and relieve her from the curse in due course of time. Satisfied, Nandini descended on Earth and started flowing from the Kanakachala mountain, through the hermitage of Maharishi Jabali and finally ended her journey at Pravanje where she joined the sea.
- Meanwhile, Arunasura started strict penance and obtained a boon from Lord Brahma. He wished that he will not be killed by any God, demon, reptile, Yaksha, Gandharva, Kinnara, Kimpurusha, Siddha, Sadhya, Vidhyadhara, man, woman, by any weapons or by animals on two and four feet. Lord Brahma granted him the boon. He asked for a boon from Goddess Saraswati who blessed him by saying that as long as he chants the Gayathri Mantra every day, Death will not touch him.
- Boosted by the boons, he created a huge army and started terrorizing people. He even defeated Indra and subjugated him. Lord Indra went to the trinity for help. Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva requested the help of the Supreme Mother Sri Adi Parashakti. She agreed to help but said that Arunasura had to be converted into an atheist so that he stops chanting the Gayathri Mantra daily.
- Brihaspathi, disguised as a Brahmin met Arunasura and after a long debate, convinced him of the futility of his belief in reciting the Gayathri Mantra. He convinced Arunasura that he was the supreme being and should be worshiped above all Gods and Goddesses. Arunasura eventually became a tyrant.
- Sri Adi Parashakti disguised herself as a beautiful and seductive Mohini and appeared in the gardens of Arunasura’s kingdom. He was informed by his ministers of the beautiful damsel in the Gardens. Arunasura reached the garden and was captivated by her beauty. He proposed her but she refused. After trying to persuade her repeatedly, she went inside a rock. Arunasura broke the rock and out came a swarm of bees that stung him all over the body. The Goddess took the form of a big and furious bee named “Bhramara” and repeatedly attacked him until he died. Maharishi Jabali along with other Gods offered the furious form of the Goddess with tender coconut from the Kalpavruksha of heaven and calmed her down. Maharishi Jabali, Indra, Nandini and other Gods requested her to make the place as her abode.
- Sri Adi Parashakti appeared as a Linga in the middle of the River Nandini. The River splits into two at the point of the Linga’s appearance and then rejoins later to join the sea.
Significance of the Temple
- The Linga of the main deity, Goddess Durga Parameshwari is an Udbhavalinga meaning that it is self-manifested and not installed by anyone. The Linga is the decorated in the form of Goddess Ambika, a form of Durga who symbolises marital and family harmony.
- The Goddess is bathed with tender coconut water as it is believed that it is her favorite drink. No one drinks Tender coconut water in the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple without offering it to the Goddess first. As per the legend, the Goddess appeared as the dancer Mohini in Arunasura’s garden. Hence, the Yakshagana dance is performed for her by the devotees on every special day throughout the year.
- The Sanctum of the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple is perpetually wet and the Kumkum offered to the devotees is always wet. It is believed that River Nandini blesses the devotees in this way. The Temple is primarily visited by devotees to settle family and property disputes as well as to relieve themselves from heat-related diseases and infections.
- The Annadanam is performed in the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple twice daily. Thousands of pilgrims are fed daily in the huge kitchen that is well equipped with all the modern amenities. During the Mesha Sankranama, the Balimoorthi or the Utsava Moorthi is worshiped in the Annadanam hall in front of heaps of rice and coconut. The rice is then distributed as the Prasadam to all the devotees having darshan that day.
- The Kateel Mela is a unique and popular feature attributed to the Temple. The tradition began in the mid-19th century and continues till date. The Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple currently has five troupes of Yakshagaana artists who perform the art and drama of the Yakshagaana for the devotees. The devotees genuinely believe that Goddess Durga reveals a part of herself during the performance.
- The Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple provides a large number of special services named as “Prayschitha Seva” that can be performed at the Temple premises. These Sevas are Chandika Yagna, Tender coconut Abhishekam, Trikala Pooja, Griha Shanti (akin to the Navagraha Pooja), Durga Homam, Mrityunjaya Homam, Siver Chariot festival and the Golden Palanquin festival.
- The Theerthasnana or bathing in the Theertha (holy water) in the Temple is considered as extremely sacred. It is believed that one can redeem himself from his sins and fight misfortune in his life after taking a Snana or bath with the holy water. For the Theerthasnana, the Temple administration makes special provisions for the devotee and has to be informed in advance.
- The Golden Chariot housed at the Temple Complex is the biggest Gold Chariot in Karnataka. The value of the chariot can be estimated at Rupees four billion.
Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple Timings
- The Temple opens at 4 AM and closes at 10 PM every day.
- The Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple remains open until midnight on special occasions like Navarathri and other important festival days.
- The cleaning and sanctification of the Temple start at 4 AM. The main Sanctum is opened after the Abhishekam at 6 AM to the devotees.
- The morning Abhishekam and Poojas to the Udbhava Linga and the Mollabimba begin at 6:30 AM.
- The Mahapooja takes place at 12:30 PM in the afternoon.
- The Pradosha Pooja or the evening Pooja is performed at 7 PM followed by Sevas offered by the devotees. The Mahapooja is then performed at 7:30 PM.
- The Rangapooja takes place at 8:30 PM followed by the closing of the Temple at 10 PM.
- The Temple provides free lunch and dinner to all the visiting pilgrims. The Timings are 12:30 PM to 3 PM and 8:30 PM to 10 PM.
The Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple administration does not impose any strict dress code but it is recommended to wear decent clothes to the Temple. Shorts, Bathing wear, and miniskirts are not allowed inside the Temple. Any material made of animal skin is not allowed inside the temple premises.
Festivals celebrated at the Temple
- Annual festival – The grand Temple festival begins on the day before the Mesha Sankranama (Solar New Year). The gateway and the entrances to the Temple are decorated and Ankura Pooja is performed for the deity. On the day of Mesha Sankranama, the temple flag is hoisted called as Dhvajarohana. After the mid-day Pooja of the day, the Palla Pooja is performed. In this Pooja, heaps of rice and coconuts are kept in front of the deity and worshiped. The rice is then distributed to the devotees as Prasadam. In the evening, the Ashtavadana is performed for the deity. This ritual is performed to acknowledge that Sri Adi Parashakti is the ultimate embodiment of knowledge itself.
- The evening Bali or the cart is taken out daily for eight days in the evening at 7:30 PM. In the evening of Mesha Sankranama, the new almanac along with rice, coconut, a mirror and new ornaments are kept in front of the Goddess and worshiped to receive blessings for the New Year. On the third and the sixth day, the deity is worshiped in a chariot named Chandramandala and is taken around to a place called Jalakadakatte and back.
- On the fifth day, the Goddess is worshiped in a silver chariot that is drawn around the streets by hundreds of devotees. On the seventh day, the grand Rathotsava takes place. The Goddess is worshiped in the big chariot named as the Brahma Ratha. The Ratha Hoovina Pooja (Pooja by offering flowers) is performed amidst beating of the drums and other musical instruments. The Yakshagana artists take part in the festival too. The deity returns to the Temple and a Mahapooja is performed. The Prasadam is distributed followed by the night Pooja signaling the end of the rituals.
- The last day of the festival begins with the Shodashopachara Pooja followed by the Thulabhara Seva. In the evening, the idol is taken to Yekkaru, 2 km away in the Brahma Ratha. The deity is then transferred to the smaller Chandra Ratha and then the ritual immersion of the deity is carried out in River Nandini. On returning to the temple, the Agni-Keli is held. It is a sport in which two opposing teams throw burning torches at each other. Fireworks show is also held late into the night.
- Vasanthotsava – The festival marks the beginning of the spring. Special Poojas and rituals are followed for the Goddess at the Vasantha Mandap of the Temple. Lots of flowers, fruits and vegetables are offered to the Goddess first and then later distributed to the devotees as Prasadam.
- Hattanadhi Pattanaje – The Yakshagana troupes end their tour on the tenth day of the Vrishabha month which usually falls in May. Six podiums are set up on the Ratha street where they perform for the last time for the year after which they stop for the year.
- Sri Krishna Janmashtami – The Temple celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna in a grand manner. The Mosarakudde ( an earthen pot filled with buttermilk is hung on top between two poles) ritual is celebrated amidst great fanfare followed by a Yakshagana performance in the evening.
- Kadiru Habba or Navanna – This unique celebration in the month of Bhadrapada or August – September signifies the good health and prosperity. On this day, a bunch of spikes of corn is taken to the temple and sanctified in the presence of the Goddess. The devotees then take them to their homes where they hang these spikes in front of their homes and granaries. The Temple provides a feast to the devotees in the evening.
- Navarathri – The grand festival dedicated to the Goddess is celebrated for nine days followed by Vijayadasami on the tenth day. The Chandika Homam and the Ranga Poojas are conducted on all nine days of Navarathri. On the fifth day, Lalitha Panchami is celebrated with Chandika Homam in the afternoon and the Suvasini Pooja in the evening. The Goddess is offered with Kadabu (a local delicacy) followed by the Rangapooja. Several cultural programs, classical music, and dance programs are held dedicated to the Goddess.
- Magha Pournami – The auspicious day is celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of Magha or January – February. The day signifies the descent of River Nandini to Earth to relieve the severe drought conditions and sufferings of the human race. The Goddess on this day is offered Milk Payasam or Kheer and a performance by the Yakshaganas in the evening concludes the celebration.
Besides the above festivals, several other important days are observed by the Temple administration like Rashi Pooja, Dhanu Pooja, Bhajana Mangalothsava, Deepothsava, Thulasi Pooja, Deepavali, Naraka Chaturdashi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Sowra Upakarna, Simha Sankranama and Naga Panchami.
Poojas and Rituals
- Thrimadhura Naivedyam – The Goddess is offered Sugar, Honey, and Butter as Bhog or Naivedyam for the day on behalf of the devotee.
- Panchamrutha Abhisheka – The deity is bathed with five holy “Amrit” or Nectar. They are Milk, Honey, Curd, Sugar, and Ghee.
- Ranga Pooja – The Goddess is worshiped with either 24 rows of Deepams or with 64 rows of Deepams on behalf of the devotee.
- Aksharabhyasa – The couples with children of age 2 – 5 can perform the Seva as a start to the education of their children. The performing of this ritual is special because the presiding deity Sri Durga Parameshwari is the Goddess of intelligence and knowledge.
- Sathyanarayana Pooja – The Pooja is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Pooja can be performed on any day but is believed to be extremely auspicious if performed on the eve of Chithra Pournami. The Pooja is performed to attain peace, prosperity, to remove obstacles and to be free from the negative thoughts. The Pooja usually begins with Ganapathi Pooja and then the Navagraha Pooja.
- Chandika Yagna – The Chandika Homam requires the presence of 7 priests. They chant the 700 verses and hymns from the Devi Mahatmayam. Offerings of the Payasam (sweet pudding or Kheer) are made to Agni during the chantings.
- Tulabhara Seva – This Seva includes the devotee sitting on one side of the Tula or the weighing balance. On the other side, offerings are arranged until the weight of the devotee and the offerings balance themselves. The offerings are then donated to the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple.
- Annadana – The Maha Annadana Seva can be performed by the devotees. The food or the Prasadam will be worshiped and distributed to all the visiting devotees for the day on behalf of the prescribing devotee.
- Trikala Pooja – The Seva includes performing three Poojas in a day, one each at dawn, noon and dusk.
- Mrityunjaya Homam – This Pooja is done to increase longevity and immortality of the person. The devotee asks for forgiveness from Lord Shiva and asks for a long healthy and prosperous life.
- The Kateela Yakshagana Mela – The Kateela Mela is a Seva in which troupe of artists performs the Yakshagana drama with music and dance for the devotees. It is believed that the Seva pleases the Goddess as she loves art, music and dance. Currently, the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple operates five different troupes of artists who perform at night as per devotee’s wish. The themes of the dramas or the dances are Puranic in nature and enlighten one about the origins of Indian culture and traditions. The booking of this Seva should be made well in advance as the demand for the performances remains high throughout the year.
How to reach Kateel: Road, Rail and Air
- By Air – The nearest airport is the Bajpe International Airport in the city of Mangalore which is just 16 km away. Mangalore is well connected to several major cities and towns of the country. Regular flights are available from New Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, and Bengaluru.
- By Train – The nearest railway station is Mulki which is 11 km away from Kateel. It is connected to Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Subrahmanya, Surathkal, Mookambika, Murudeshwar, Honnavar, Karwar, Gokarna, Thane and Mangalore. The other important stations nearby are Surathkal (18 km) and Mangalore (28 km). Mangalore Junction is connected to several cities of the country.
- By Road – The town can be approached on NH17. Regular buses are operated by both the Government as well as the private operators from Mangalore, Bengaluru, Mysore and several other pilgrim towns in Karnataka.
Where to stay
The Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple administration has constructed three lodges to accommodate the devotees. These lodges provide the basic facilities like AC, Parking facilities and 24 hours power supply. The names of the lodges are Nandini Lodge, Bhramari Lodge, and Durgaprasad Lodge.
Apart from the staying options provided by the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple, several private lodges are available for booking. Some of the popular ones are Laxminarayana Mandira and the Gopalkrishna Sabha Bhavana.
Where to eat
The Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple administration provides free meals every day to all the visiting devotees at 12:30 PM and 8:30 PM. Apart from the Annadana, there are a few small hotels located near the Temple complex that serves good quality food. A variety of cuisines ranging from simple South Indian, North Indian, Chinese and Italian are served at the Hotels here.
- Kudupu Sri Anantha Padmanabha Temple – The Temple is located just 22 km away from the town of Kateel. The presiding deities of the Temple are Lord Anantha (Lord Shiva) and Lord Padmanabha (Lord Vishnu). The Temple is well known for Serpent worship. The deity Sri Anantha Padmanabha faces west. The Temple complex also consists of a Naga Bana (place for serpent worship) and several smaller shrines dedicated to Jarandaya, Goddess Shree Devi, Lord Subrahmanya and Lord Ganapathi.
- Sri Udupi Krishna Temple – The unique Temple of Sri Krishna in a Bal Avatar is situated at a distance of 25 km from Kateel. The idol of Sri Krishna is represented as a child holding a churning rod in one hand and a rope on the other. This form of Krishna cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. The idol is believed to be made in Dwarka during Sri Krishna’s reign by his wife Rukmini.
- Sri Raja Rajeshwari Temple, Polali – The ancient temple that dates back to the 8th century is situated in a town called Polali, 23 km away from Kateel. The unique feature of the Temple is that the idol of the presiding deity Sri Raja Rajeshwari is 10 feet tall and is fully molded in clay. The River Phalguni flows besides the Temple. The Temple has rich history and significance and is mentioned in various scriptures like the Markandeya Purana and the Ashoka inscriptions.
- Nelliteertha Temple – The Temple is also called as the Nelliteertha Cave Temple and is located 20 km away from Kateel. The Temple dates back to 1487 AD. The presiding deity of the Temple is Lord Somanatheshwara, a form of Lord Shiva. It is believed that this is the cave where Maharishi Jabali performed strict penance to appease Goddess Adi Parashakti to annihilate the demon Arunasura.The Temples of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Durga are situated nearby to honor them for annihilating the demon.
- Besides these Temples, the city of Mangalore is just 27 kms away. Several religious centers and historic temples are home to the city. Some of them are Sri Mangaladevi Temple, Sri Kadri Manjunatha Temple, Sri Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, and the Sri Sharavu Managanapathi Temple.