Garbaratchambigai Temple

Garbaratchambigai Temple, Thirukarukavur

Garbaratchambigai Temple is an famous  ancient temple situated at Thirukarugavur in Tanjore district of Tamil nadu. Goddess Garbharakshambika is one of the most popular form of shakti in Tamil nadu. The temple is noted for the belief that childless couples who worship here with devotion and faith. Goddess Shri Garbarakshambigai Amman here cures infertility related problems to women. Goddess blesses them to conceive and also helps them for safe and trouble free delivery. The Shri Garbharakshambigai Sameta temple is spread over a wide expanse with huge towering Gopurams and a beautiful water tank in front of it. The main sanctum of this temple has the Shiva lingam and Goddess Garbharakshambika is situated to the left of the Shiva temple. It is believed that the Nandi at this temple is in Swayambhu vigraham (Self manifested).

The shrine of Goddess Garbarakshambigai is situated to the left of the Shiva temple. A shrine dedicated to Lord Subramanya is also seen here. Garba means Pregnancy, Raksha means ‘To protect’  and Ambigai is one of the names of Parvati devi. Mullaivananathar here is prayed to overcome skin diseases. And the abhishekam for the Lord is with Punugu only done on Shukla Paksha (Valarpirai) Pradosham.

Garbarakshambigai Temple

History and Legend of Garbaratchambigai Temple

  • Two Rishies Gowthama and Gargeya did penance in this garden of mullai flowers. Sage Nithuvar was living here with his wife Vedhika. One day when Sage Nithuvar was away, sage Urdhvapada visited the mullai garden. Vedhika was tired and sleeping deeply without showing hospitality to the sage.
  • She was having pains due to pregnancy but Urdhvapada unaware of her difficulties got angry. He thought that she didn’t bother to wake up and felt she could be sleeping purposely. He decided to curse her .The curse made her get diseased and it also hurted the child in her womb.
  • The curse made her to have worst pain and she thought she would be losing the child and foetus may not survive. In worst pain of her life and deeply hurted that her own child is being gradually destroyed and prayed to Goddess Parvathi to help her.
  • Goddess Parvati took the avatar of Garbarakshambigai and appeared before Vedhika. And protected her child in the womb by holding it in a “kalasam ” – divine pot.  The goddess helped the child grow in the divine pot until it grew as full fledged child.
  • When Vedhika cried as she was not able to feed the baby with her milk. A sacred cow came in front of the temple and made a lake of sacred milk. Vedhika prayed to Goddess Garbarakshambigai to remain in the temple forever and bless all women with their difficulties.

Significance of the Garbaratchambigai Temple

  • The Shiva Lingam found in the main sanctum of this temple is a Swayambu Lingam, made up of ant hill mud. Therefore no water abhishekam is done for this idol. But, the Lingam is only pasted with Punugu.. It is believed that people who are affected with incurable diseases can offer “Punugu Chattam.”
  • Goddess Garbarakshambigai is the goddess of mercy to bless women with gift of childbirth and safe pregnancy.They give castor oil in small bottle which can be applied to pregnant women and for women seeking child birth.They give ghee prasad which has to be taken internally for next few days.
  • Goddess Garbarakshambika in Garbarakshambigai Temple is the supreme personality of Motherhood and the sanctum sanctorum. Her beautiful idol , which is about 7 feet tall and decked in beautiful kanjeevaram sarees and exquisite jewellery.
  • She is adorned with fragrant, colourful flowers which are offered in abundance .The Goddess has the most radiant smile on her face depicting positivity and a ray of hope. For the thousands who throng to her abode she is not just an idol but a ray of hope.

Garbaratchambigai Temple Temple Timings

Garbaratchambigai Temple remains open from 5:30 AM to 12:30 AM in the morning and 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM in the evening.  The abhishekam is performed from Monday to Thursday from 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM.

During Friday and Saturday abhishekam is performed at 8:00 AM only. No abhishekam is performed during festivals and Sunday due to large number of devotees visiting the temple.

Festivals celebrated at the Garbaratchambigai Temple

Vaikasi Brahmotsavams: Vaikasi Brahmotsavam commenced in a grand manner at this temple. Amid Vedic chants and recitals of verses from scriptures, the priests perform the rituals in the temple. There are processions that are conducted and large number of people participate in the processions.

Navarathiri: Navarathri is celebrated for 10 days in the month Purattasi. Every year the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. These two junctions have been chosen as the sacred opportunities for the worship of the divine power. The most important Navratri in a year is the Sharadiya Navratra which begins on the first day of the bright half of Ashvin or Ashwayuja (September-October) as per traditional Hindu calendar. Number of devotees visit the temple during this period of time.

Margazhi utsavam: Margazhi is the one of the most significant month among twelve tamil months. Margazhi festival is celebrated at all temples in Tamilnadu and India. Mainly this festival is celebrated in all Vishnu temples and Shiva temples.The another importance of this margazhi is that the Tamil Holy Scriptures “Thiruppavai” and “Thiruvempavai” are read during this month.In this month, there are many programmes for SriVaishnavas in particular. On all the thirty days of this month, Tirupavai Pasurams will be rendered in the early morning in all temples and houses.

Panguni Uthiram: Panguni Uthiram is a day of importance to Hindus especially those who belong to Tamil nadu. It falls on the day the moon transits in the asterism of Uttara-phalguni. The day connotes the wedding of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, Lord Muruga and Devasena and other celestial couples. According to Ramayana, it is on this day that Sita married Rama. Also, this is said to be the birthday of Lord Ayyappa. It is also believed that on this day, Goddess Mahalakshmi came to life on Earth from the ocean of milk which was churned by the Devas and the Demons. Panguni Uthiram is the day to eliminate doshas in nuptial life. If the marriage was not conducted on auspicious time and if there are any doshas.

Thirukkarthigai: Tamil Nadu celebrates Karthigai Deepam as the traditional festival. This festival of lights involves lighting lights almost anywhere to put an end to darkness. The  festival starts at around 4:00 AM in the early hours and the Bharani Deepam is lit at the temple. In the evening the Mahadeepam is lit on the top of the hill at around 6:00 PM. People believe that the huge light lit during 5:00 will make people close with Lord Shiva on Karthigai Deepam. Lord Shiva will shed all his blessings during this special time of the year.

Poojas and Rituals at Garbaratchambigai Temple

  • Women who come here to pray for pregnancy and childbirth just offer flowers and do archana for goddess.The women in pooja shop requests them to first show their offerings of flowers,lamps etc. to lord mullai vana nadhar here and then enter the garbarakshambigai sannidhi.
  • Virgins whose marriages are delayed for long periods and married women who have no issue for a long time should come to this Garbaratchambigai Temple in person. They should wash the steps with a little ghee draw ‘ Kolam and perform Archana to the Goddess.
  • The childless couples offer ghee, which will be placed at the feet of the Goddess Garbarakshambigai and given to them. They should consume a little of the ghee at night daily for about 48 days and the woman will conceive.  
  • The women who are expecting deliveries should offer castor oil, which will be placed at the feet of Sri Karparakshambigai, and offered to them. During labor pains, this oil should be rubbed on their abdomen and this is believed to remove all complications of deliveries.
  • Kattalai Archanai is done on the particular date of the stars and the prasadams are sent on the monthly basis. Pregnant women consume it during their pregnancy period. It is one type of archanai which is done.
  • Women light up eleven lamps and pray for the safe delivery. On performing the Garbarakshambigai Homa, childless couples attain parenthood and pregnant women undergo safe delivery. The Homa heals many complications and issues related to fertilities and pregnancies. The impediments in the process of getting pregnant are smoothened with the beam of positive energy from this goddess.
  • There is also a tradition of placing the child in one plate of weighing plate and balancing it with other goods like the food grains, ghee, oil, fruits, currency coins, gold, silver etc. and this is known as Thulabaram. Earboring and Tonsure prayers can also be performed in Garbaratchambigai Temple. One just have to call them in order to make the necessary arrangements.

How to reach the Garbaratchambigai Temple

By Air: The nearest airport is in Trichy. There are various auto rickshaws and share autos are available to reach the temple.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is the Papanasam railway station. The railway station is situated adjacent to bus stand. Thirukarugavur is situated 6 kms south of Papanasam and the railway station is about 3 kms from the place.

By Road: Thirukarukavur is situated in Thanjavur-Kumbakonam main road. Several buses ply between Papanasam and Saliyamangalam at 30 minutes interval.Papanasam is 25 kms from Thanjavur and then to Thirukarukavur 6 kms from Papanasam.

Where to stay

There are no rest houses from Garbaratchambigai Temple administration. Garbarakshambigai Amman Seva maiam is a rest house maintained by Thirumathi.Dr.Jayam Kannan.

  • Hotel Simran Heritage Contact: Station Road, Moudhapara, Near Fafadih Chowk
  • Hotel Pace Contact: 217, Pace City I, Sector 10A, Near Hero Honda Chowk
  • Manyaa Hotels Contact: Khasra No. 500, Khandsa Chowk, Opposite Sector 10 A, Before Sector 37 Industrial Area
  • Motel Melfort Contact: Raj Nagar, Near Delhi Jaipur Highway, Raj Nagar Mod
  • Gautam Retreat Contact: M-200, South City I, Behind Unitech House

Where to eat

Offering food to the devotees is more than attaining heaven. So there is a Annadanam Samam Danam and there is a free mid-day meal to more than 100 devotees daily. More than 5 lakhs people have been offered Annadhanam in this temple.

Nearby Temples

Brihadeeswarar Temple: Thanjavur Brihadeeswara temple is one of the most ancient temple, situated in the city of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. Thanjavur named after the legendary asura “Tanjan”, is one of the ancient temples in India. The temple is most famous due to its uniqueness as among the greatest glories of the Indian architecture. The complex that houses the main sanctum is known as the ‘Periya Kovil’. Thanjavur had the distinction of being specifically constructed as a religious city with the temple centermost.

Gangaikonda Cholapuram: The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva. The temple is renowned for having the biggest Shivalingam, with a 4 meter Lingam in South India. The majestic entrance of the sanctum is adorned by the beautiful image of Goddess Saraswathi. The temple has 9 storeyed Vimana with a height of 185 feet. Vimanam has intricate carvings reflecting the Chola style on it.

Darasuram Temple: Darasuram is 4 Kms from Kumbakonam. This temple built by Raja Raja Chola dedicated to Lord Siva, is either called as Drasuram temple or Airavateswara Temple. This is well preserved temple of  the 12th century Chola Kingdom. The ceiling of the temple has exquisite carvings. Minute work on the pillars  fills the mind with awe and fascination. The main mandapam of this temple is in the form of a chariot drawn by horses. The steps are stones, which give different musical sounds when tapped. All the seven swaras can be had at different points.

Tirumanancheri Temple: This temple is quite famous among the devotees from the Hindu community who wish to find suitable life partners for marriage or in order to overcome. All times are considered auspicious since Lord Shiva and Parvathy are in a bliss here always.The temple is crowded at all times of the year, showing the importance of marriage in our community. One is supposed to offer special prayers to the lord. The shrine of Thirumananjeri is closely associated with legends that tell the story of Shiva’s marriage to Parvati.

Kailash Manasarovar

Kailash Manasarovar, Tibet Autonomous Region, China

Kailash Manasarovar- The dream of any ardent Hindu devotee is the soul fulfilling spiritual visit, often called as the ultimate pilgrimage is to the abode of the supreme Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati at Mount Kailash.  The beautiful, calm and mystical Linga shaped peak is located at an altitude of 22,028 feet above sea level.  The majestic peak is situated among the Gangdise Mountains, also known as the Kailash Range. The range forms a part of Transhimalaya in Tibet China. The two mystical water bodies – Lake Manasarovar (believed to have been a creation of Lord Brahma’s mind) and Lake Rakshastal (Lake of demons or Rakshas) lie just beside the peak.

The holy peak is believed to have been worshiped even before the beginning of Hinduism and other religions. It is religiously significant not just for Hindus, but also for the Tibetan religious sect called Bon, Buddhism, and Jainism. The Buddhists call the peak as Gangs Rin-po-che or the Kangri Rin-po-che meaning “Precious Jewel of Snows”. The Bon call the peak as Nine Stacked Swastika Mountain and Water’s flower.

The trek to the base of Mount Kailash is however extremely arduous and risky. The peak is situated in a remote and inhospitable area. Persons willing to have a glimpse of the Mount should be extremely fit and tolerant to altitude sickness and low oxygen conditions. No one is allowed to set foot on the peak. One can only circumambulate Mount Kailash or worship it from a distance.

The pilgrimage to Mount Kailash is incomplete without paying respect to the mystical and enchanting Lake Manasarovar. This lake is the situated at an altitude of 14, 750 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. The circumference of the lake is 88 km long and its complete circumambulation takes 4-5 days to complete. The lake is near the source of River Sutlej, and a few kilometers away from the source of River Indus and the Brahmaputra. It is believed that the Lake was once surrounded by eight monasteries. However, only a few are left today, the Chiu Gompa being the prominent one. The lake is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Sati.

History and Legends of the Kailash Manasarovar

  • It is believed that Mount Kailash and the Lakes of Manasarovar and Rakshastal have existed since time immemorial. They are the creations of God that nobody can put a date to. Hundreds of pilgrims belonging to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism take the pilgrimage to this divine place to receive the blessings of their respective beliefs of God.
  • The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra was stopped between the period of 1954 – 1978 due to political and border disputes between India and China. It was renewed later in the 1980’s.
  • According to Hindu beliefs, Lake Manasarovar was created in the mind by Lord Brahma. Hence, the name “Manas” meaning Mind and Sarovar meaning Lake was given to the Lake. The Buddhists associate the Lake with legendary Lake Anavatapa, where Maya is believed to have been conceived with Buddha.
  • According to the legend regarding the origin of the lake, it is believed that Lord Brahma had 12 sons who performed rituals and several austerities on the dry land. To create a more serene and suitable place for them to earn their merit, Lord Brahma created the Manasarovar Lake.
  • As per Buddhist legends, Buddha’s mother Maya was transported here by the Gods. She took a bath in the water of the Manasarovar Lake and her body was purified. She witnessed a white elephant running towards her down the Mount Kailash as Buddha entered her womb.
  • The Rakshastal Lake has a legend of its own to contribute to the glorious Hindu mythology. The lake lies just west of the Manasarovar Lake and is also known as the Ravana Tal. It is believed that the Lake was created by the King of Lanka, Ravana when he was performing severe penance to Lord Shiva in order to obtain the Atmalinga from him. The lake is a saltwater lake, unlike the Manasarovar Lake which is fresh water in nature. The lake does not support aquatic life and hence considered poisonous by the locals. Even though the visitors don’t enter the lake, they do pay their respects along their journey to it. The two lakes are connected via a small stream of water named Ganga Chhu.

Kailash Manasarovar

Significance of the Kailash Manasarovar Pilgrimage

  • It is mentioned in the ancient scriptures that anyone who takes a dip in the holy Mansarovar Lake and circumambulates the peak, gets absolved of his or her sins for generations and attain salvation. The Kailash Manasarovar Lake is believed to have healing powers.
  • Kailash Manasarovar Lake is believed to be the abode of the Hamsa or the Swan of Lord Brahma, one of the holy Trinity.
  • The Lake is also considered to be one of the fifty-one Shakti Peethas where the Right hand of Goddess Sati fell to Earth after the Daksha Yagna episode of Hindu mythology. The Goddess is worshiped here as Dakshayini. The site is extremely sacred to the Shakta sect of Hinduism.
  • In the Vishnu Purana, a description of Mount Kailash states that the four sides of the peak are made up of Crystal, Ruby, Gold and Lapis-Lazuli (deep blue semi-precious antique stones).
  • The Mount Kailash is also known as the Axis Mundi of the World. This means that the Mount provides the connection between the physical world and the spiritual world. It is the axis around which the world has been created by the Gods.
  • The visit to Mount Kailash peak is considered extremely sacred as it is situated near the sources of some of the longest and the holiest rivers that flow through Asia. These rivers are Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra, and
  • Apart from being considered as extremely sacred by Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, the peak has significance in other religions too. The Jains call the peak as Mount Ashtapada or the Meru Parvat, where the founder of Jainism and the first Tirthankara Rishabhadeva attained Moksha. The Buddhists consider the peak as the navel of the universe. It is also the home of the Buddha Demchok or Chakrasamvara, the representation of supreme bliss and harmony. The three hills rising from the peak are considered as the abodes of Bodhisattvas Manjushri, Vajrapani, and Avalokiteshwara. The Bon religious sect worships the peak as the abode of the sky Goddess Sipaimen.
  • It is religiously believed that no one should step or climb the peak as it is considered a sin. It is claimed by locals that such ventures have ended up having tragic and disastrous consequences. It is believed that the stairways or the ridges on Mount Kailash lead to Heaven.
  • During the journey to Mount Kailash, one can also visit other holy peaks like Ravana Parvat, Hanuman Parvat, Padmasambhava, Manjushri, Vajradhara, Avalokiteshwara, Jambeyang, Shavari, and Norseng. These peaks are extremely sacred for the Buddhists.
  • In Buddhism, Lake Manasarovar is believed to be round shaped Sun representing “Brightness and Good Nature” while the Lake Rakshastal which is crescent shaped represents “Darkness and Evil”. The narrow connection named Ganga Chhu represents the small difference and the gray area between these two aspects of life.
  • The famed Gauri Kund or the Parvati Sarovar is located en route to Mount Kailash. This is believed to be the lake where Goddess Parvati gave birth to Lord Ganesha and made him stand as a guard while she was taking a bath. Lord Ganesha stopped Lord Shiva from meeting Parvati and in a fit of rage, Lord Shiva beheaded Ganesha. Distraught Parvati requested Lord Shiva to forgive Ganesha and bring him back to life. Lord Shiva replaced Ganesha’s head with the head of a nearby elephant and since then, Ganesha came to be known as the “Elephant headed God”.

Kailash Manasarovar Temple Timings

The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in co-operation with the Indian Mountaineering Federation every year between the months of May-September.

Dress code at Kailash Manasarovar

  • Tibet is an extremely cold and dry part of the world. The weather is unpredictable throughout the day. During the months of May-September, the day temperature is most likely to be around 10-20 degree Celsius. The nights are expected to be extremely chilly and windy. Hence, one must be prepared with warm clothes, sweaters, socks, gloves, mufflers, ear covers, scarves, Vaseline, dry fruits, umbrellas, torches and sports shoes.
  • Although medical facilities will be provided by both the Indian and the Chinese Governments, it is recommended that one should carry basic medicines for fever, body pain, altitude sickness, dehydration, vomiting, and dysentery and muscle pain.

How to reach Kailash Manasarovar

A limited number of Indian pilgrims are allowed to visit the Kailash Manasarovar every year. They are monitored by the Indian and the Chinese Governments.

There are two routes to reach Mount Kailash from the Indian side. They are mentioned as below:

  • Route 1: The Lipulekh Pass Route

         The Yatra begins with a 3-4 day stay at Delhi. The tentative duration for the yatra would be 25 days with a cost             of about 1.6 lakh per person.

  • Route 2: The Nathu La Pass Route

         The Yatra begins with a 3-4 day stay at Delhi. The duration of the yatra would be 23 days with    the cost of 2                 lakhs per person.

  • Apart from the Government conducted travel package, one can also book a private package that reaches Mount Kailash via Kathmandu, Nepal. This journey takes only 16-18 days to complete and is covered in jeeps. However, the cost, as well as safety, remains an issue as the packages are privately operated and do not come under the Government preview.
  • The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km long. The circumambulation is made in the clockwise direction by the Hindus and the Buddhists while in an anti-clockwise direction by the Jain and the Bon followers.

Where to stay

The Government tours provide accommodation to the pilgrims both on the Indian as well as the Chinese side. The tour cost includes basic accommodation for all the devotees. The Tibetan authorities have constructed small hotels and lodges to facilitate easy movement and rest for the visiting pilgrims. Private packages include a comfortable stay for devotees and camping gear is also provided to whomsoever who wish to stay outdoors.  One can also hire or buy private tents and stay on the banks of the Manasarovar Lake or in the monasteries.

Where to eat

The devotees are served pure vegetarian cuisine during their trip to Mount Kailash and Manasarovar. The cuisine is mainly North Indian or Chinese. Breakfast items are generally Bread toasts, Paranthas or Pooris. Rice is served as lunch. It is advised to carry snacks and dry fruits in the case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.

Tulja Bhavani

Tulja Bhavani Temple – Ferocious Goddess Parvati

Tulja Bhavani Temple is a Hindu Temple which is situated in the hills of “Bala Ghat” in Osmanabad district in Maharashtra. Earlier Tuljapur was known as Chinchpur. This temple worships Goddess Bhavani which is a ferocious form of Goddess Parvati. The word Bhavani means “life giver”. Apart from being a ferocious form of Goddess Parvati, she is also known as Karunaswaroopi which means “filled with mercy”. Tulja Bhavani Temple is located approximately 45km from Solapur which is located in Maharashtra.

There are three Tulja Bhavani Temples located in India. It is said that the first temple was built in Tulja in the 12th century. The second and the third temples were built in 1537-1543 CE in Chittorgarh and Patnakuva Gandhinagar respectively. Tulja Bhavani of Tuljapur stands second among the Shakti Pithas. Lord Tuljabhavani is considered as family deity of many families like Bhosale Royal Family, the Yadavs and many more belonging to different castes all over India.

It is believed that Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of Maratha Kingdom always seeked her blessings as a result of which she gave him “the Bhawani Sword” for success in his quest.

tulja bhavani

History and legend of Tulja Bhavani Temple

  • The history of Tulja Bhavani Temple can be found in the Skand Puran. The story says that there was a knowledgeable man known as Kardabh. Afer his death his wife Anubhuti performed a penace at the banks of river Mandakini.
  • Anubhuti performed this ritual so that Goddess Bhavani could look after her infant child. While she was performing the ritual, a demon known as Kukur tried disturbing her. Mata bhavani came to her rescue and killed the demon. Since then Mata Bhavani is known as Tulja Bhavani.
  • During the 1920s, there were around 5000 people that lived in Tuljapur. The place where this incident took place is now known as Tuljapur. Mata Bhavani’s idol is known as “Swayambhu” idol
  • This Goddess is worshiped in a granite image which is 3 feet high. She has eight arms and each holding weapons and bearing the head of the demon Mahishasura. Her other names are Tulaja, Turaja, Tvarita, and Amba.
  • It is also said that a demon named Matanga created destruction upon devas and humans who went to Brahma for help. On Brahma’s advice, they went to Goddess Shakti after which she took the form of destroyer and killed him bringing back peace in the reign. She was powered by other seven goddesses also known as Sapta Maataas. They included Varaahi, Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Kaumaari, Indraani and Saambhavi.
  • Legend also potrayed that the Goddess killed the demon named Mahishasura who was disguised as a wild buffalo and, therefore, she is also named as Mahishasura Mardhini which means “Murderess of Mahishasura”.

Significance of the Tulja Bhavani Temple

  • Tulja Bhavani Temple’s entrance is known as Sardar Nimbalkar. The next two entrances are named after Shivaji Maharaj’s parents, Raja Shahji and Rajmata Jijaju respectively. Upon entering the main enterance, we can find a temple dedicated to Markandeya Rishi. This temple is found on the right side of the main enterance. After coming down the stairs one can see the main temple, the Tulja Temple.
  • Infront of the temple, there is a Holy fire pit located. Raja Shahaji Mahadwar and Rajmata Jijavu Mahadwar has two libraries named Shree Dnyaneshwar Dharmik library and Shree Tukaram Dharmik library.
  • After descending from the stairs one can see “Gomukh Theerth” and “Kalakh” on the right and left side respectively. Kalakh is also known as “Kallol Theerth”. The devotees first take a holy dip in these shallow tanks of holy water known as Theerth.
  • We can find many other temples in the premises like Amruth Kund and Datta Temple. We can also find Siddhi Vinayak Temple on the left side of the main entrance and Aadishakti and Aadimata Matangadevi temple on the right. Goddess Annapurna temple is also located on the premises.

Tulja Bhavani Temple Timings

  • Before the morning prayer, a large drum is played loudly to call all the devotees for prayers. This drum is played in the drum house of Tulja Bhavani temple at 5 a.m. The drum is played three times in a day.
  • At 5:30 am the prayer is performed by the Mahant. Tukoji Bua is the present Mahant of Tulja Bhavani Temple.There is a presence of the Karvir Princely state durng the Charantirtha Puja.
  • The Mahanta first washes Idol’s mouth and feet from hot water, aromatic oil, dudhkhir, and pan. After which all the devotees sing the holy songs know as Arti.
  • After Arti, the Goddess is offered Nevaidya of Bhaji Bhakri. This Nevaidya is offered by the descent represenattive of the devotee, Uparkar. Later Nevaidya of kheer is offered by the representative of the former princely state Karvir.
  • At 9 am, the Goddess is bathed with Panchamrut and curd. Goddess is also offered honey, sugar, and banana. After this Goddess is bathed in Gomukh water. Devotees also bathe the holy throne of Goddess by mango, sreekhand, and curd. After the bath, big holy meal known as Mahanevaidya is offered to the Goddess.
  • At noon, the devotees again sing Arti and lights Dhup and Camphor.
  • At 6 pm Goddess is again bathed and pooja is offered. This time, all the arrangements are done by Karvir.
  • At night, the holy water from Gomukh and Nevaidya of Ghee and cooked rice is offered. This ritual is known as Prakkshal.
  • Musical instruments like tal, zanj, and dimdi are played in every Arti.

Festivals celebrated at the Tulja Bhavani Temple

  • Tuljapur Bhavani Festival– This festival is celebrated for four days and four nights. Devotees pray and worship Goddess throughout the festival. Tulja Bhavani festival is celebrated twice in a year. This festival includes rituals like Sasthi, Bhavani Ashthami. On Bhavani Ashthami, the devotees fast until they offer flowers to the deity. On the next day, girls who have not reached puberty yet are fed and offered presents. These girls are represented as the young form of the Goddess. The last of this festival is known as Vijaydashmi. On this day, the Goddess is carried to the river and immersed in the water. There is a distribution of sweets and the devotees enjoy that this festival will again be celebrated next year. This festival is known as Durga Puja in West Bengal and is celebrated almost same. This festival symbolizes win of good over evils. This festival is also known as Navratri.
  • Ganesh Chaturthi- Ganesh Chaurthi is another very important and famous festival. This festival is celebrated with great pomp and show in the town of Tuljapur. This festival is held in the months of August and September. This festival is celebrated in the honor of Lord Ganesha. Ganesh Chatirthi is traditionally celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi in the months of Bhaadrapada according to the Hindu calender.
  • Diwali– Diwali is one of the important festivals of Hindus. This festival is celebrated in the months of October and November and is also known as “Festival of Lights”. People of Tuljapur celebrate this festival with great pomp and show. During this festival, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are worshipped.
  • Holi- Holi is another imporatnt festival for the natives of Tuljapur. This is a “Festival of Colors”. This festival is celebrated with great pomp and show in India. This festival charges the atmosphere. Holi celebration is started by Holika Dahan where people gather and sing and dance.

 How to reach: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By Air- Tulja Bhavani Temple has its nearest airport in Osmanabad which is approximately 15km away from the temple.
  • By Train- There is no railway station in Tuljapur so the nearest option is Osmanabad.
  • By Bus– One can easily get buses to Tuljapur from various cities in the country.

 Mumbai to Tuljapur

  • By Air– There is no direct flight service from Mumbai. The aerial distance from Mumbai to Tuljapur is 354km. To go to Tuljapur from Mumbai you can take a flight from Air India till Hyderabad and then reach Tuljapur by taking Indica.
  • By Train– There is no direct connectivity through the train as well. You can reach Osmanabad from the train and then reach Tuljapur hiring a taxi.
  • By Bus-There is no direct route for Tuljapur from Mumbai but there is nearly 1 or more direct bus service between Mumbai and Tuljapur. They are known as Raja Travels.

Pune to Tuljapur

  • By Air– There is no direct flight service from Pune to Tuljapur.
  • By Bus– There is few regular bus service that that help you in reaching Tuljapur. There are services like Sana Travels-Azeem which take passengers from Pune to Tuljapur directly.

Hotels in Tuljapur: Where to stay

There are accomodation facilities provided by the Temple trust for its pilgrims. They have started a Dharamshala for the pilgrims where they can stay free of cost. There are many private organizations who provide accomodation facilities to the pilgrims. They have a very nominal charges. These private oraganization has many facilities like hygienic environment, internet facilities, homely food etc.

Where to eat

Apart from the food that we get in Tulja Bahvani Temple, there are many restaurants nearly who offer food at very reasonable rate. They provide food in a very hygienic condition.

Nearby Places to visit

  • ChintamaniThis is avery beautifully stone structured temple situated out the main Tuljabahvani Temple.It is believed that the Goddess Chintamani has guided its devotees to take right decisions in their life. This temple is surrounded by many shrines like Yamai Devi, Narsimha, Khandoba, and Matangi. This play is mostly visited on Tuesday, Fridays and Sundays. On full moon days, devotees come to Chintamani Temple to take blessings.
  • Kallola Tirth- Kallola is huge water tank situated in the Prakara Temple. This temple is located in Tuljabhavani Temple. Kallola Tirth is around 40ft by 20ft in dimension. It is walled on all the sides. Legends say that the Kallol contains sacred water from river Ganga which flowed from the mountain ranges of Himalayas. It is also said that while merging in the tank, the water made a great noise because of which it was named Kallola Tirth.
  • Vishnu Tirth– This Tirth is situated in the north-eastern part of the main temple. Vishnu Tirth has three entrance. All the three entrances are connected through stone steps. It is believed that after taking a dip from this tirth, all the sin done by a person is washed away.
  • Gomukh Tirth- Gomukh is a very famous and sacred waterfall. The water comes out from the stone structure that looks like the mouth of a cow. The holy water from which the Goddess’s idol is bathed comes from Gomukh Tirth.
  • Ghatshila Temple– Ghatshila Temple is situated in Tuljapur. It has a devotional and mythological story behind it. It is said that Lord Ram and Lord Laxman went by ghats and rocks of Tuljapur in search of Sita. Legends also say that Goddess Bhawani stood on the rocks of Lord Rama to guide him to reach Lanka and rescue Sita. Devotees come all way from India to pay offering to Lord Rama. Pilgrims visits this rock temple which was built in the medieval period.

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

The first thing that comes to the mind of any devotee when they hear the name of the historic city Madurai is the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple located on the banks of the legendary River Vaigai. The presiding deity of the Temple is Goddess Meenakshi (Goddess Parvati) and her consort Lord Sundareshwara (Lord Shiva). As per historical research, initially, Lord Sundareshwara was worshiped as the primary deity. However, in due course of time, the importance shifted to worshiping Meenakshi as the primary deity. Such is the love and devotion of people towards the Goddess that no one who visits the city even thinks about leaving it without seeking her blessings. Meenakshi Temple is one of the epitomes of the Dravidian style of architecture. As one enters the Meenakshi Temple premises, one can feel the spiritual pull towards the shrines and a feeling of peace of mind.

Meenakshi Temple is considered as the city center of the 2500-year-old ancient city. Ancient records show that the Meenakshi Temple was the center of the city from which the streets arose and spread in all directions.  The Meenakshi Temple has been mentioned innumerable times in Tamil literature such as the Sangam literature. The Meenakshi Temple has been glorified in the revered Tevaram, a 7th-century work by the three Saivite Nayanars, Appar, Sundarar, and Thirugnanasambandar.

Meenakshi Temple Temple has four main entrances, one in each cardinal direction. The four Gopurams of each of the main entrances are intricately carved depiction sculptures of several Gods and Goddesses, holy animals and even demons. The tallest Gopuram among them is the South Tower (built in 1559)at a height of 170 feet (52 m). The oldest among them is the East tower built in 1238. The shrines of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara are covered on top by a golden vimanam or a shikhara. The ceilings of the inner corridors are colorfully painted and provide a beautiful visual experience. It is estimated that around 33,000 exquisite sculptures are found in the Temple complex.

Goddess Meenakshi can be distinctly identified because she is always represented as a graceful lady wearing a green saree holding a Parrot in her right hand. The name Meenakshi can be split into “Meen” meaning Fish and “Akshi” meaning Eyes, thus giving the meaning as the “Lady with the Eyes of a Fish”.

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

Madurai Meenakshi Temple History

  • The present structure of Meenakshi Temple Complex was built by the Nayakars of Madurai, especially during the reign of King Thirumalai Nayakar in the 15th century. However, the original Temple is believed to date back to as old as the 7th century. This is evident by the works of the Tamil Saint Thirugnanasambandar who has sung praises of the deity and the Temple in his work that dates back to the seventh century. The original temple is believed to have been constructed sometime during the late 6th to an early 7th century by the Pandya King Kulashekhara.
  • In the 14th century, there arose an internal disharmony over the succession to the throne after the downfall of the Pandyas dynasty. Taking advantage of the dispute, Ala-ud-din Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate sent his general Malik Kafur in 1310 to invade Madurai. He marched south and ransacked all the cities and small kingdoms that fell on the way. When he reached Madurai, he pulled down the Temple towers and destroyed several sculptures and historical records. However, the main shrine of Meenakshi Amman and Sundareshwara were left intact. This incident led to the beginning of the spread of Islam in southern India, especially in Tamil Nadu.
  • The renovation and rebuilding of the Meenakshi Temple started under King Viswanatha Nayak. The Meenakshi Temple was then expanded into its current state under the reign of Thirumalai Nayak during 1623 – 1655. He was responsible for the construction of several mandapams inside the Meenakshi Temple complex, especially the Vasantha Mandapam and the Kilikoondu Mandapam (Corridor of Parrots).
  • The corridors of the pristine temple tank, as well as the Meenakshi Nayakar Mandapam, were built by the famous and brave Rani Mangammal, one of the very few Women rulers of Ancient India.
  • According to the legends, the Pandyan King Malayadhwaja, and his queen Kanchanamala were childless and performed “Putra Kameshti Yagna” for a child. Lord Shiva was appeased and requested Goddess Parvati to be born to them. She obliged and arose from the sacrificial fire as a little girl with three breasts. The king was worried but was assured by the Lord that the third breast will disappear once she meets her match. The girl was named Taadanthagai and was brought up as a princess.
  • At the time of her coronation, she waged war against the three holy kingdoms of Sathyaloka (Brahma’s abode), Vaikunta (Vishnu’s abode) and Amravati (Devas’s abode). After defeating them all, when she reached Kailash to defeat Lord Shiva, she stopped as she realized that Lord Shiva was her divine companion. Her third breast disaapeared at the spot. She realized that she was the avatar of Goddess Parvati. It was decided that they will marry and rule the city of Madurai together.
  • On the day of the marriage, Lord Shiva came to the wedding ceremony without anyone accompanying him except a dwarf named Gundodara. Meenakshi was surprised and haughtily remarked that all the wedding arrangements will be wasted as there were not many attendees on behalf of the bridegroom. Lord Shiva challenged them to fulfill the needs of the dwarf. The king fed the dwarf everything from the wedding kitchen as well as every dish prepared in the city that day, but the dwarf could not be satisfied. When there was nothing else left to eat, he demanded water to quench his thirst. The city’s water supply was exhausted. Goddess Annapoorneshwari recommended that only Ganga would satisfy his thirst. Lord Shiva summoned River Ganga to flow and directed the river to flow through the city. The river was eventually named as Vaigai.
  • The marriage was a divine occurrence and was attended by all the Gods and the Goddesses. Lord Vishnu was supposed to attend the event but was delayed by Indra. Angered, he left to Alagar Kovil but was eventually convinced by Lord Shiva. The event is described as Alagar Thiruvila and is still celebrated. The marriage was presided over by a local deity known as Pavalaakanivai.
  • After the marriage, both Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi ruled Madurai for a period of time before returning to Kailash.
  • As per ancient history, a Lotus-shaped city was built by the Pandyan King Kulasekhara around the Shiva Linga (Sundareshwara) worshiped by Lord Indra. It is believed that Lord Shiva was impressed by his devotion and blessed him. During the blessing, nectar dripped from his locks of hair and fell on the Earth. As a result, the city came to be known as Madhurapuri, Madhu meaning Honey. With the passage of time, the name became Madurai.

Significance of the Meenakshi Temple

  • The idol of Shri Meenakshi Amman is made of greenish black stone. The Linga of Lord Sundareshwara is believed to be one of the 68 Swayambhu Lingas worshiped in India. The Swayambhu Lingas are believed to be the representations of Lord Shiva that have risen from the ground by themselves. They have not been manmade and are naturally occurring. The Linga is supported by 64 Bhootaganas, 32 Lions, and 8 Elephants.
  • The Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal of Lord Nataraja, a form of Lord Shiva. Pancha means Five, Sabhai means hall and Sthala mean place. Lord Nataraja is referred to the form of Lord Shiva when he performs the different forms of Cosmic Dance. These five Sthalas or places represent the different forms of cosmic dance performed by Lord Nataraja. They are symbolized in sculptures depicting the respective postures and made out of precious elements. The sculpture of Lord Nataraja worshiped at the Meenakshi Amman Temple is called “Velli Ambalam Natarajar” and it is made of “Velli” meaning “Silver”. The uniqueness of this representation is that Lord Nataraja is shown with his right leg raised instead of the usually left leg as represented in the other depictions. The other four Temples with such unique sculptures are located in Chidambaram (Gold), Thiruvalangadu (Emerald), Tirunelveli (Copper) and Coutrallam (Art).
  • The Porthamarai Kulam, meaning the “Pond with the Golden Lotus” is the name given to the sacred Temple Tank. It is also called as Adi Theertham, Shiva Ganga, Utthama Theertham, Gnana Theertham and Mukthi Theertham. It is believed that the tank was initially created by Lord Shiva himself when he thrust his Trishul into the Earth on request from Nandi.
  • It was believed in ancient times that the worthiness of any new literature can be judged by placing the book on the surface of the tank. The poor quality literature would sink while the scholastic ones would remain afloat. It is believed that taking a bath with the water from the Theertham will provide Mukti or Moksha in life. It will also lead to the fulfillment of desires.
  • Meenakshi Temple is an architectural wonder. The imposing 14 Gopurams of the Temple Complex are awe inspiring and intricately carved. The numerous Mandapas of the Temple like the Thousand Pillars Mandapam, Ashta Shakthi Mandapam, Kambatadi Mandapam, Puthu Mandapam, Viravasantharaya Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam, Mudali Pillai Mandapam and the Mangayarkarasi Mandapam tell us stories about Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati sculpted out of rock. There are several legends of Lord Shiva depicted in statues like the Thiruvilayadal (Games of Lord Shiva), Mahabharatha, Bikshadanar, and Ramayana.
  • A unique fact that can be observed about the placement of shrines is that the shrine of Lord Sundareshwara is exactly one-fourth of the total area of the temple. The shrine of Goddess Meenakshi is exactly one-fourth of the area of Lord Sundareshwara’s shrine. This might indicate that in the earlier times, Lord Shiva was given ritualistic importance over Goddess Meenakshi.
  • Meenakshi Temple forms a part of the new top 30 wonders of the World and was a nominee for the “New Seven Wonders of the World”.
  • A huge Ganapathi idol is worshiped just outside the sanctum out of Goddess Meenakshi. This idol is supposed to be at least 1500 years ago. It was discovered by the King Thirumalai Nayak during the digging of the Temple area for its renovation.
  • As one comes out of the sanctum of Goddess Meenakshi, one must look up to the ceiling to see a recently painted 3-Dimensional image of Lord Shiva’s Linga. The Linga gives us an illusion of following us as we circle around it below.

Madurai Meenakshi Temple Timings

  • Madurai Meenakshi Temple opens at 5am and closes at 9:30pm. It remains closed in the afternoon from 12:30pm to 4pm.
  • The devotees can choose to have a free darshan or a paid darshan depending on the crowd. Special darshan tickets are available at Rupees Fifty and Rupees Hundred.
  • Persons with disabilities and their one companion will be allowed to have darshan through a special entrance.

Dress Code

Men and women with exposed shoulders and legs are not allowed to enter the Temple premises. The main sanctums of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara are open to only Hindus. However, visitors can view the Mandapams and the other architectural features of the Temple.

Festivals celebrated at Meenakshi Temple

  • Chitthirai Brahmotsavam – Arulmigu Thirukalyanam – The grand festival of the wedding between Lord Sundareshwara and Goddess Meenakshi is celebrated for a period of 12 days in the month of Chitthirai (April). The festival begins with the flag hoisting on the Dhwajasthamba as an invitation to all the Gods and Goddesses to attend the celebrations. The Pattabhishekam (Coronation) of Goddess Meenakshi takes place on the 8th day of the festival. The Dikvijayam procession begins on the 9th day signifying the victories of the Goddess until she reached Kailash. The tenth day is celebrated as the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam. Thousands of pilgrims gather at the temple premises to witness the divine moment. The Ther or the Rath Yatra of the deities begins on the next day. The gigantic and decorated chariots are pulled by thousands of ardent devotees and taken around the streets of the temple. Lord Alagar is also worshiped on the banks of the Vaigai river where he halted to bestow gifts to the deities.
  • Aavani festival – The important festival is celebrated for 18 days during the month of Aavani (August). This marks the event of the coronation of Lord Sundareshwara as the King of Madurai.The first six days of the festival are dedicated to Lord Chandrashekhar. the coronation takes place on the seventh day. The ritual of Tirupparakundram Subramanya and Thiruvadhavur Manickavasaka Perumal bidding farewell takes place on a ninth day.
  • Navarathri – The festival dedicated to Goddess Amman is celebrated in a grand manner for ten days. The idol of the Amman deity is decorated in a different manner on all the nine days and her blessings are sought by thousands of pilgrims. The “Kolu” is arranged in the “Kolu Mandapam”. Kolu is the unique way of celebrating Navarathri, especially in Tamil Nadu in which several idols of the Gods, Goddesses, and their creations are kept in several steps and worshiped. Kalpa Pooja and Laksharchana is performed for the Goddess every day. The Temple premises are lit with lamps throughout. Several cultural festivals are held in the temple premises.
  • Teppotsavam – The float festival is annually held in the city during the Tamil month of “Thai” which happens in January. The idols of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara are taken around in a grand procession in the waters of the famous Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam. The festival attracts thousands of devotees who come to have a spiritual darshan of their favorite deities on this joyous occasion. The festival was started in the 17th century by the King Thirumalai Nayak. On this special day, the idols are taken to the banks of the Teppakulam and kept on the Mandap near its banks. The devotees queue in miles to have a darshan. The idols are then kept on a raft and pulled by hundreds of men and women, who pull the raft amidst cheers to the deities. The Gopurams of the temples are lit up in the evening followed by the fireworks display which marks the end of the day’s proceedings. The idols of the deities are then taken back to the Meenakshi Amman Temple with great enthusiasm.

Some of the other major festivals celebrated at the Temple are Maasi Mandala festival in February, Kanda Shashti in November, Deepavali, Oonjal festival, Aadi Moolaikottu festival, Vasanthotsavam, Arudhra darshanam, Thiruvenbavai and Thiruppavai festival.

Poojas and Rituals of Meenakshi Temple

  • The daily ritual of worship includes Pooja at six times of a day. Each Pooja consists of Abhishekam of the deities, Alangaram (decoration with ornaments), Naivedyam (offering of food) and Deepa Aradanai (Aarti with lamps).
  • Thiruvanandal Pooja – This is the first Pooja of the day and begins at 5 AM. The deities are bathed as per ritual and then dressed up in decorative ornaments. The morning Aarti is performed.
  • Vilaa Pooja and the Kalasandhi Pooja – These Poojas comprising of Abhishekam and Aarti takes place between 6:30 AM to 7:15 AM.
  • Thrikalasandhi Pooja and the Uchikkala Pooja – These Poojas begin at 10:30 AM and continue till 11:15 AM.
  • Maalai Pooja (Evening Aarti) – This ritual can be observed between 4:30 PM till 5:15 PM.
  • Ardhajama Pooja – The night Aarti takes place at 7:30 PM and the Naivedyam ends at 8:15 PM.
  • Palliarai Pooja – The last Pooja of the day starts at 9:15 PM. This is a special Pooja where the idol of Lord Shiva is taken around in a palanquin to the sanctum of Goddess Meenakshi and both are put to rest for the day.
  • Annadanam – The temple authorities allow Annadanam to be conducted on request of the devotees at the rate of Rupees Four Thousand per two hundred persons.

How to reach Madurai

  • By Air – The nearest airport is the Madurai International Airport. The city is well serviced by flights connecting major cities like Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, and Bengaluru. The airport also connects flights internationally to cities like Dubai, Singapore, and Colombo.
  • By Train – The Madurai Junction is well connected to several important cities in India like Chennai, Trivandrum, Cochin, New Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Kolkata, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Goa and many more. Several trains connect Madurai internally to other major towns like Tiruchi, Kanyakumari, Nagercoil, Tuticorin, Karaikudi, Rameswaram, Tirunelveli, Tanjore and Coimbatore.
  • By Road – The city is well connected to all major cities in Tamil Nadu as well as the neighboring states. Several private bus operators also operate regular buses to the holy city until late midnight. The roads are clean and well-constructed.

Where to stay

The city provides a large number of options for stay ranging from five-star accommodation to low cost lodges and hotels. The Germanus Hotel, Supreme Hotel, and the Meenakshi Inn are some of the hotels preferred by the visiting tourists.

Where to eat

The city of Madurai is called “Thoonganagaram” meaning “the City that never sleeps”. It is a fact that the city offers unparalleled culinary delights to everyone who visits the city throughout the day and the night. Some of the must-tries among the food items are the roadside Kotthu Parathas, Jigarthanda drink, Badam Halwa, Curry Dosa, Idly, and Biryani. Some of the popular hotels that one must visit according to the locals are Amma Mess, Muniyandi Vilas, Simmakal Konar Kadai and Murugan Idly Kadai.

Nearby Temples

  • Thirupparakunram MuruganTemple – The holy temple is located just 7 km away from the city of Madurai. It is considered as the first among the six abodes of Lord Murugan, also known as Lord Karthikeya. The Temple Complex consists of several rock cut caves that house the deities, Lord Karthikeya, Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga, and Lord Vinayaka. The Temple is ancient and as per records, dates back to the Pandyan era. It is believed to have been built even before the 7th century.  As per the legends, this is the place where Lord Karthikeya wed Devaiyani, daughter of God Indra.
  • Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple – The sacred shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan is located 25 km away from Madurai city. This Temple is one of the holy six abodes of Lord Murugan. The main shrine is located beside a stream called “Nupura Gangai”.Several popular local legends are associated with the Temple. One of the most popular legend being of the famous Tamil Poet Avvaiyar being given darshan by the Lord himself.
  • Alagar Kovil – The sacred temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is located just 20 km away from the Madurai city. The temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu mentioned in the Divya Prabandha, a work by the Azhwar Saints in the 6th to 9th century. Hence, the temple is believed to exist even before the periods of the Alwars. The Lord is worshiped here as Kallazhagar, a local form of the deity. The main shrine of the majestic Temple houses Lord Vishnu a reclining posture (Uragamellayan posture), accompanied by Sridevi and Bhudevi.
  • Vandiyur Mariamman Temple – This unique but mesmerizing temple is situated about 3 km away from the Meenakshi Amman Temple. The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman and Goddess Durga who merge together into a single form and worshiped here as Goddess Ambika – Durga or popularly as Durga-Mariamman. She is seen in a sitting posture with a smile, holding a rope and a stick, with her left leg pressing the demon Mahishasura onto the floor. The people of Madurai consider her as an Aadhi-Deivam. They seek permission and approval of the Goddess before planning and proceeding to any event in their lives.
  • Yoga Narasimha Perumal Temple – The Temple is located 8 km from the city of Madurai in Otthakadai. The village of Narasingam is home to the ancient temple situated at the foot of the Yanaimalai hills. The Temple is more that 1300 years old as the date of construction around the main deity is believed to be 770 AD during the reign of the Pandyas. The Temple is mentioned in the Sthala Purana, Brahmanda Purana, and the Thiruvalaiyadal Purana. The deity worshiped is Lord Vishnu in a fierce Narasimha form. According to several legends, the temple is the site where Lord Shiva worshiped Lord Narasimha and took a bath in the holy Chakratheertha to be relieved from the Brahma Hatthi Dosha.
  • Thirumohoor Chakrathalvar Temple – This legendary temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is 12 km away from Madurai city towards Melur. This Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams that are glorified in the Divya Prabandha composed by the Tamil Saints Alwars from the 6th to the 8th century. The deity is worshiped as Neelamegha Perumal and Lakshmi as Tirukannapura Nayaki. The region is also called as Mohanapuram and Mohanakshetram. This temple is believed to the site where Lord Vishnu appeared as the celestial beauty Mohini to annihilate the demon Basmasura. This is also supposed to be the place where Mohini lures all the demons during the churning of the oceans episode and gives them an empty pot. The Temple and the surrounding regions have been mentioned in Brahmanda Purana and Matsya Purana. The Chakrathalvar is unique in the feature that the idol represents 16 hands with 16 weapons. This type of representation can be found nowhere in India.

Kollur Mookambika Temple

Kollur Mookambika Temple – Temple of Knowledge and Wisdom

The legendary temple of Sri Mookambika is situated at Kollur in the Udupi district of 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 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 Temple frequently to receive the blessings of the Goddess.  The 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 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

Kollur Mookambika Temple History and Legend

  • The documented evidence of the Kollur Mookambika Temple dates back to 1200 years. The first 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 the 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 daily at 5am and closes at 9pm. 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.

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 the 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 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: Poojas and Rituals

The below daily Poojas are performed every day:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Road, Rail and Air

  • By Air – The nearest airport is the Bajpe International Airport, Mangalore situated at a distance of 140 km from the 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 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 Hotels: Where to stay

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.

Nearby Temples

  • 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.