Monday, January 19, 2009


Nanjangud - History

The main temple at Nanjangud is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, whose another name is Nanjundeshwara. Nanjundeshwara means the God who drank poison. Hindu mythology quotes an interesting legend in which the Gods and demons churned the ocean in search of the nectar of immortality. During this churning, there were lots of artefacts that emanated out of the ocean, including poison. To prevent the poison from spreading across the universe and destroying it, Shiva came to the rescue and drank the poison. His wife Parvati then held his throat tightly to prevent the poison from spreading to the rest of his body. Nanjanagud literally means the place where Nanjundeshwara resides.

Nanjangud has been a major Shaiva centre since times immemorial. The original Nanjundeshwara temple is said to be of Ganga period (325 - 1000 CE). This temple has then been renovated by the Hoysala kings. Both Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan had close associations with this temple. Wodeyar kings have provided various grants to renovate the temple.

Nanjundeshwara temple - Nanjangud, Mysore

The town is famous because of the huge temple dedicated to Lord Nanjundeswara also referred to as Srikanteswara. It is believed that sage Gauthama stayed here for some time and installed a Lingam, the idol form of Shiva. Nanjangud is also known as 'Dakshina Kashi' or Varanasi of the South.

The temple was originally built by the Ganga rulers in the 9th century during their occupation of this region. The residing deity of the temple was later called Hakim Nanjundeswara; a title given by the Great Tippu Sultan who had faith in the God. It is said and inscribed in the temple history that his favourite and beloved elephant was bestowed with eyesight by the Lord, after Tippu Sultan's vow with the local deity. The Sultan then had a Lingam made of jade along with an emerald necklace and donated it to the temple. The Vaidya Nanjundeswara, even today is said to be a healer for his believers, and one can see even today worshippers doing Urulu seve, a ritualistic practice after taking bath in the Kapila river.

Twice every year thousands of worshippers gather for the famous Chariot Festival locally known as the Dodda Jathre and the Chikka Jathre. Idols of Lord Srikanteshwara, Goddess Parvathi, Lord Ganapathi, Lord Subramanya and Lord Chandikeshwara are kept in five separate chariots and a traditional puja is performed to the idols early in the morning on the Jathre day. After the puja chariots are flagged off. Thousands of devotees pull the Chariots carved out of wood, across the streets of the old town. The town remains immersed in festivities on the Jathre days.

Parashurama Kshetra - Nanjungud, Mysore

Near Nanjangud is the sangam, where the Kapila and Kaundinya rivers meet. This place is termed as Parashurama Kshetra which is where the sage Parashurama is said to have cleansed himself from the sin of beheading his mother. A small rivulet called Suvarnavathy also joins the rivers here. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Parashurama here.

Nanjangud is famous for the Ayurveda medicines manufactured by the Late Sri. B.V.Pandit. The Sadvaidyashala established by him serves people very successfully. Ayurvedic medicenes produced here are marketed all over India. In earlier times (1950-70) a tooth powder brand made locally called 'Nanjangud Hallupudi' was also very famous all over Karnataka.

The temple was originally built by the Ganga rulers.The residing deity Nanjundeshwara was later given a title "Hakim Nanjundeshwara" by Tippu Sultan who had great faith in the lord. It is inscribed in the temple that Tippu's beloved Elephant was bestowed with eyesight by the lord after Tippu's vow with that deity. Tippu Sultan then had a linga made of Jade and Emerald necklace and donated it to the temple.

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