The legendary temple of Sri Mookambika is situated at Kollur in the Udupi district of Karnataka. It is one of the most famous temples in Karnataka. Goddess Mookambika is an avatar of Goddess Parvati who is believed to have descended to Earth to annihilate the demon Kaumasura. The Kollur Mookambika Temple holds high spiritual value and receives lakhs of pilgrims every year.
The Kollur Mookambika Temple is one of the seven Mukti Sthalas of Karnataka. The presiding deity is Goddess Mookambika worshiped here in a unique form of a Swayambhulinga. The idol of the Goddess is believed to have been installed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya himself. It is believed that Sri Mookambika embodies all the Gods of the realm in herself and thus worshiping her is equivalent to worshiping all the Gods at the same time.
Pilgrims from all over the country, especially from the southern states of Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh visit the Kollur Mookambika Temple frequently to receive the blessings of the Goddess. The Kollur Mookambika Temple is known to be “The Temple of knowledge and wisdom”. Goddess Mookambika is worshiped here as the Shakti Devatha.
The architecture of the Kollur Mookambika Temple is unique and belongs to the Keladi kingdom period. The Kollur Mookambika Temple comprises of the Sanctum or the Garbhagriha, a hall and the Lakshmi Mantapam. The Sanctum has a quadrangular shape with a Vimana Gopuram.
The tower of the Sanctum is covered with gold. Besides the main shrine, several other shrines dedicated to Lord Subramanya, Dashabhuja Ganapathi, Anjaneya, Chandramouleeshwara, and Gopalakrishna. Behind the Swayambhu Linga of Goddess Mookambika, an idol of the Goddess is kept. The idol of Goddess Mookambika has three eyes and four arms. She holds a Sri Chakra in one hand and a conch in the other.
Kollur Mookambika Temple History
The documented evidence of the Kollur Mookambika Temple dates back to 1200 years. The first Kollur Mookambika Temple is believed to have been built by the Great Parashurama himself. The Linga is believed to have been worshiped since the times of the Sage Kola Maharishi and the idol of the Goddess had been installed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
The King Halugulla Veera Sangayya constructed the stone walls inside the Kollur Mookambika Temple and created several of the present structures under the orders of Rani Chennamaji.
The Kollur Mookambika Temple has been patronized by different kingdoms and people till date. Many have contributed graciously to the development of the Temple. The legendary Rani Chennamma offered precious emerald jewelry to the Goddess which she still adorns. The Vijayanagara Empire King Krishnadevaraya presented a Gold Mask which is kept as a Temple treasure. The King Chennamaji presented a Gold face for the Lingam. The Late MG Ramachandran, CM of Tamilnadu presented a Silver sword to the Goddess.
The legend of the origins of the Kollur Mookambika Temple and the importance of the region of Kollur are mentioned in the Skanda Puranam. The legend begins with the Tapas or Penance of Sage Kola Maharishi. At the same time, another demon by the name of Kaumasura was doing penance for Lord Shiva. He wanted immortality and great strength as a boon from Lord Shiva.
The Gods were aware that if he achieves his boon, he will unleash a reign of terror on Earth. Therefore, when Lord Shiva appeared before him, Goddess Parvati made him dumb or Mooka. As a result, he was unable to ask for a boon and came to be known as the Mookasura. The event enraged him and he started disrupting the penance of Kola Maharishi. The Sage requested the help of the Goddess in annihilating the demon.
She appeared in an integrated form imbibing the powers of the Trimurti as well as of the other Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati. She killed Mookasura and hence came to be known as Goddess Mookambika. On the request of Kola Maharishi, she stayed at the place in her divine integrated form.
As per one legend associated with Sri Adi Shankaracharya, one day he was unable to stand up after his meditation. It is believed that Goddess Mookambika himself prepared a medicine for him with a combination of herbs taken from the Kodachadri hills nearby. Sri Adi Shankaracharya recovered and eventually introduced the custom of preparing the Kashayam Theertham for the visiting pilgrims so that they attain good health.
The mythology associated with River Sowparnika, the perennial river that flows beside the Kollur Mookambika Temple is also worth learning. It is believed that a Garuda named Suparna prayed on the banks of the river to relieve his mother of all the sufferings and bad luck. The Kollur Mookambika Devi appeared before him and granted his wishes. The River was named after the Garuda as the Sowparnika. This river contains rich extracts of herbals as it passes through the Kodachadri hills.
Significance of Kollur Mookambika Temple
The Goddess Mookambika is represented as the Linga and is worshiped as Adi Shakti as she embodies both Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakthi (Parvati). On the left side of the Linga, as an Adi Shakti Goddess Mahakali, Goddess Mahalakshmi, and Goddess Saraswathi have integrated as one. On the right side, as an Udbhavalinga, Mookambika has been integrated with Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva.
A gold chain divides the Linga into two – the larger left side and the smaller right side. The left side represents Goddess Mookambika or Parvati and the right side represents Lord Shiva. No Abhishekam is done for the idol, only Poojas are performed for her. The Abhishekams are performed for the Linga only.
The idol of Goddess Mookambika is made of the material called the Panchaloha element. The Panchaloha is traditionally an alloy of five metals. The composition of the alloy was kept as a secret for several centuries and is often mentioned in the Shilpa Shastras. The metals involved were later found out to be a mix of Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron and Lead. It is believed that worshiping idols made of the Panchaloha material imparts balance, self-confidence, health, fortune and peace of mind.
The region of Kollur is among the seven Mukti Sthalas in Karnataka. The other six are Udupi, Subramanya, Kumbhashi, Kodeshwara, Sankaranarayanan, and Gokarna. These places are together known as the Parashurama Kshetras. It is believed that these Temples were built on land which was claimed by Parashurama from the sea.
It is believed that Sri Adi Shankaracharya had a dream during his penance in which Goddess Shakthi appeared. He later installed the idol resembling the image of her in the shrine. The Shankara Simhasanam situated inside the Kollur Mookambika Temple is the place where he meditated and had a vision of the Goddess.
The Kodachadri hill range situated just beyond the Temple is believed to be a part of the legendary Sanjeevini Mountain that Lord Hanuman carried for the ailing Lakshman in the Ramayana. The hills are home to rare species of herbs. The Ambavanam and the Chitramoolam areas within the range are believed to be the places where Sri Adi Shankaracharya meditated. Several Theerthams are located at the range.
Offering sincere prayers and offerings to the Goddess relieves one of the ailments, financial problems, business hurdles, marital issues, and the problem of infertility. The Chandika Homam performed here has immense value and the advance booking has to be done for the Seva.
It is believed that offering prayers to the Goddess enhance excellence in education and in creative pursuits. Performing music and other arts at the Saraswati Mandapam of the Kollur Mookambika Temple is considered a divine and a blessed experience.
The Kashaaya Theertham that is distributed to the devotees in the evening is made of ginger, pepper, cardamom, lavang and Jaggery. It is a ritual that is practiced since the time of Sri Adi Shankaracharya who introduced this Theertham as a medicinal drink.
Kollur Mookambika Temple Timings
- Kollur Mookambika Temple opens at 5 am and closes at 9 pm.
- The devotees are allowed for general darshan from 5 AM to 7:15 AM, 7:45 AM to 11:30 AM, 12 PM to 12:20 PM, 12:45 PM to 1:30 PM, 3 PM to 6:30 PM, and evening 5 PM to 9 PM.
- The evening 5 PM to 9 PM darshan is allowed only on normal days. The devotees are not allowed for darshan during this time on days like festivals or special festivities.
- Special darshan facilities are available on the northern side of the temple by paying Rupees hundred only.
- Disabled citizens, as well as senior citizens, can have direct darshan of the deities. They do not have to wait in the long queues.
- As a Prasadam, free lunch and dinner are provided to the visiting devotees at 12 PM and 8 PM respectively.
- Parking facilities and Footwear stand are available for devotees.
- Bathing Ghats are available for devotees on the banks of the River Sowparnika and the Kashi Theertha.
Kollur Mookambika Temple Dress code
The Kollur Mookambika Temple administration requests the male devotees to remove their shirts and vests before entering the Temple premises. Clothes such as Coats, Hats, Turbans, Bermuda and Shorts, and Lungi are not allowed inside the temple. The Women are requested to dress decently. Women who have delivered a newborn should not enter the Temple for the first eleven days after the birth. Pregnant women are not allowed inside the temple after 7 months.
Festivals celebrated at Kollur Mookambika Temple
- Navarathri – The festival is celebrated in a grand way during the month of October for ten days. The festival period is considered as the most auspicious time to worship Goddess Parvati and her other forms. On the tenth day, known as the Vijayadasami, devotees conduct the practice of Aksharabhyasam. It is a ritual in which young kids and their parents participate and perform the act of writing on a plate of rice as an initiation to their educational career. Several Poojas dedicated to the Goddess are performed throughout the ten days like Ranga Pooja, Suvasini Pooja, Lalitha Vruta, Kalpoktha Pooja and the Ghata Sthapana. On the ninth day, the Maha Chandika Yagna and a Pushparathotsavam are performed.
- Annual Ratha Festival – The annual Ratha Yatra festival is celebrated for ten days in the month of March – April. During these ten days, the Goddess Sri Mookambika is taken around the town in different Vahanas or vehicles and worshiped with reverence.
- On the first day, the flag is raised, known as the Dhvajarohana. This is an invitation o all the Gods and Goddesses to come and attend the festivities of the Kollur Mookambika Temple.
- On the second day of the festival, the Goddess is taken around the village in a Peacock chariot and the Ashtavadana Seva is performed to her in the Saraswati Mandapam.
- The Katte Utsava and the Ashtavadhana Seva are performed in the evening to the Goddess in the Saraswati Mandapam on the third day.
- On the fourth day, the Katte Pooja is performed at the Sri GopalaKrishna Temple. Sri Mookambika is then taken to the Saraswati mandapam in a different chariot named Pushparatham.
- The Goddess is transported to the Saraswati Mandapam in the Rishaba Vahana on the fifth day.
- On the sixth day, the Goddess is taken around the town to the Saraswati Mandapam in the Gaja Vahana.
- The idol of the Goddess Sri Mookambika Devi is taken to the Saraswati Mandapam on the seventh day after the Pradosha Pooja and the Rangapooja has been performed. Then the Goddess is taken to the west side of the Mandapam in the Simma Vahana.
- The eighth day is marked by the celebration of the Maha Rathotsava, in which the Goddess is taken around the taken in the Brahma Ratham and various Poojas are performed to her in the evening.
- The Churnotsava (smearing of the Goddess with flowers and gold paste), Okuli (devotees and priests smear themselves with colored water), and the Teppotsava (Goddess is taken around in a float on the Sowparnika River) occurs on the ninth day.
- The tenth day is marked by the lowering of the flag, Poorna Kumbhabhishekam, and the Prasadam distribution.
- Mahashivaratri – The festival is celebrated in February or March. The festival signifies the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. Some also believe that this is the day when Lord Shiva absorbed the poison that turned him blue during the churning of Amrit episode in mythology. The day is celebrated with great reverence. Devotees keep fast and sing bhajans throughout the night and into the day. Special Poojas are performed for the Linga.
- Ugadi – On the festive day, special preparations made with Neem will be offered to the Goddess throughout the day. In the evening, between 5:30 PM to 6 PM, the Goddess will be kept at the Saraswati Mandapam. The Mangala Aarti is performed. The “Panchanga Shravana” is held after that. This ritual involves predicting important events of the year like Rain, political affairs of the country, agriculture and national occurrences.
- The Ashtabhandha Brahmakalashotsava – This auspicious celebration happens once in 12 years. The Linga is given a ritualistic bath with 1008 Kalasas of holy water.
Kollur Mookambika Temple Sevas
The below daily Poojas are performed every day at Kollur Mookambika Temple.
- The Danthadavan Bali Pooja and the Udayakaala Pooja are performed at 7:30 AM.
- The morning Mangala Aarti takes place at 8 AM. The devotees are given a special Prasadam named Gudu Shanti.
- The Pradoshana Pooja is performed at 6 PM. Afterward; a special theertham called the Kashaaya Theertham is distributed to the devotees.
At the Kollur Mookambika Temple, around 64 Sevas and Poojas can be performed dedicated to the Goddess. Listed below are some of the main Sevas that one can perform:
- Sahasranama Kumkumarchana – The Pooja includes doing Archana to the Goddess with Kumkum along with the recital of the 1000 names of the Goddess in a devoted manner.
- Ashtottara Kumkumarchana – The Pooja includes doing Archana to the Goddess with Kumkum along with the recital of the 108 names in a devoted manner.
- Panchamrita and Phala Panchamrita – The Lingam of Adishakti is bathed with Panchamrit which includes Milk, Sugar, Curd, Honey and Ghee. The Phala Panchamrit includes an addition of fruit in the ritual, usually a Banana.
- Ksheerabhisheam – The Lingam of Adishakti is bathed with Cow Milk amongst the recital of several mantras and shlokas.
- Ekadasha Rudrabhisheam – This Pooja is an elaborate form of the Rudrabhishekam. In the Pooja, all the eleven Rudras of Lord Shiva are worshiped by reciting shlokas like Laghu – nyasam and the Rudra Trishati. The Rudram is recited eleven times as per instructions in the Shiv Puraanam.
- Mookambika Alankara Pooja – The Goddess Mokkambika is adorned with all her jewels and worshiped reverently at Kollur Mookambika Temple.
- The Maha Pooja – In this ritual, all the major Poojas of the day will be performed in the name of the devotee. The Poojas that will be performed are Alankara Pooja, Paramanna Naivedyam, Yedenaivedyam, Harivana Naivedyam, Shata Rudrabhishekam, Panchamrutha Abhishekam, Pushpa Rathotsava and Lalki Utsava.
- Chandika Homam – 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) is made to Agni during the chantings. The special Homam has to be booked years in advance. The devotee has to arrive a day before the Homam. The Homam begins at 8 AM in the morning and ends at 11:30 AM.
- Naamkaranam – The naming ceremony of the infants can also be performed with the blessings of the Goddess at Kollur Mookambika Temple.
- Vidyarambam Pooja – The children along with the parents can perform this Pooja dedicating it to Goddess Saraswati to initiate the educational career of their offspring. The Pooja is performed between 6:45 AM to 1 PM daily for children above the age of 3.
- Udayastamana Pooja – This is a unique type of Pooja performed for one full day, starting from dawn till dusk. There is a total of 18 Poojas done for the devotees throughout the day.
- Anna Santharpane – The devotee can provide Annadanam for the pilgrims for one whole day on obtaining a receipt.
Besides these Poojas, one can also perform other Poojas like Parivara Pooja, Pushpanjali, Mahatrimudhara, Ganahoma, Nithya Naivedya, Nanda Deepa, Punyaha Prayaschita, Thulabhara and Vahana Pooja.
How to reach Kollur Mookambika Temple
- By Air – The nearest airport is the Bajpe International Airport, Mangalore situated at a distance of 140 km from the Kollur Mookambika Temple. Trains and buses are available from Mangalore to Kollur. The Temple is located just 500 mts from the Bus Stand.
- By Train – The Kundapura and the Byndoor railway stations are situated at a distance of 32 km and 28 km respectively from the Temple. Trains connecting BYndoor and Kundapura from Mangalore, Mumbai, Thane, Udupi, Bengaluru and Gokarna are available. State Bus Transport and private taxis are available from the stations to the Kollur Mookambika Temple.
- By Road – Regular Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses are available from major cities and towns in Karnataka like Bengaluru, Mangalore, Udupi, Mysore, Murudeshwar, Gokarna, Shimoga, and Sringeri.
Kollur Mookambika Temple Accommodation
The Kollur Mookambika Temple administration has constructed a few Guest Houses which provide a wide range of rooms that can be booked as per the devotee’s needs. Non – Deluxe rooms, deluxe rooms, Air-Conditioned rooms and dormitories are all available for rent at a nominal rate. The Guest houses are The Lalithamba Guest House, The Sowparnika Guest House, Matha Chatra Guest House and the Jagadambika Guest House.
Apart from the Guest houses run by the Kollur Mookambika Temple Administration, several private hotels and lodges are also available for accommodation. Some of the popular options are the Bhagirathi Tourist Home, Kairala Residency, and the Mookambika Palace.
Kollur Mookambika Temple – Where to eat
The Kollur Mookambika Temple administration provides free meals in the Temple premises at 12 PM and at 8 PM to all pilgrims. Besides that, a number of small vegetarian restaurants are available outside the Temple Complex. The cuisine is mostly South Indian.
- Maranakatte Sri Brahma Lingeshwara Temple – The revered Temple is located at a distance of 25 km from Kollur. It is believed that Goddess Mookambika performed a Marana Homam here after killing the demon Mookasura. The temple is dedicated to Lord Brahmalingeshwara along with Malyali Yakshi and Vata Yakshi. A Sri Chakra has been installed in front of the sanctum by Sri Adi Shankaracharya himself.
- Kumbhashi Sri Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Annegude – The Temple is one of the seven Mukti Sthalas of Karnataka located 45 km away from Kollur. The legendary temple is dedicated to Lord Ganapathi. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Ganesha blessed Bheema (one of the Pandavas) with a sword with which he killed Kumbhasura, a demon.
- Byndoor Seneshvara Temple – The Temple is situated 28 km away from Kollur. The history of the Seneshvara Temple can be traced back to many centuries as per evidence. However, it is believed that the temple has existed since the Treta Yuga. It is believed that the Linga was installed by Lord Rama. He had initially wanted to build the bridge to Lanka from here but was advised against it by the Sage Bindumaharishi.
- Bagvadi Mahisamardini Temple – The temple dedicated to Goddess Mahishasura Mardini, an avatar of Durga is situated 30 km away from Kollur. It is believed that Goddess Mahakali killed the buffalo faced demon by the name of Mahishasura at this place. The Temple is around 1000 years old and was constructed by Dugappa Nayaka.
- Saukuru Durgaparameshwari – The Temple is located at Gullwadi in the Udupi district at a distance of 31 km from Kollur. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga, Devotees come here to pray for good marital life, freedom from financial problems, removal of fear psychosis and for good health.
- The Kodachadri Mountain Range – The mountain range is located at a distance of 25 km from the Kollur Mookambika Temple. This hill is considered extremely sacred as it is believed that this hill was a part of the Sanjeevini hill carried by Lord Hanuman to heal Lakshman. The hill is believed to possess 64 varieties of rare herbal plants and 64 sacred springs. It is here that the famous Sage Kola Maharishi performed penance and Goddess Mookambika created a waterfall for the use of the Sage.