Nanjangud Travel Guide

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Nanjangud , a holy place, described as Garalapuri, is famous because of the huge Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple. It is believed that sage Gauthama stayed here for some times and installed a Linga, the idol form of Shiva. Nanjangud is also known as 'Dakshina Kashi' or Varanasi of the South.

Nanjangud is situated on the right bank of the river Kapila or Kabini, one of the tributaries of the Cauvery River, and nearby the town is the Sangam, where the Kapila and the Gundlu rivers join. The spot is called "Parashurama Kshetra". It is here that Parashurama said to have had himself expiated for the sin of beheading his mother. A stream called Churnavati, over-flowing from the tank, joins the Gundlu or Kaundinya River here. There is a Parashurama temple of the Mysore style, now renovated fully and in the sanctum Lord Parashurama is worshipped. This quiet place has shrines of Maruthi and a newly built Basaveshvara temple.

The notable temple and place of pilgrimage at Nanjangud is the Nanjundeswara temple, one of the huge temples of Karnataka. It has grown in the course of 1,000 years, beginning from the Ganga times till the 19th century. The spacious temple has minor shrines of Narayana with consorts, Chandikeswara, Parvathi, Natya Ganapathi and others. There are many cells with Lingas enshrined in them. There are 122 images in the vast prakara or enclosure. There is a vast pillared mantapa inside. The temple has many bronzes Uthsava (procession) idols and a good number of vahanas (carriages) used on different festivals.

The nine-storied tall Gopura or tower is ascribed to the queen of the Mysore kings, Devarajammanni, wife of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1849). The tower, nearly 120 feet in height has fine stucco images and decorations and gold-gilded kalashas atop, seven in number, each about three meters in height, flanked by two horns, a common architectural style of Dravidian construction.

Nanjayya appears to be a folk God, later identified with Lord Shiva and described as Nanjunda. The name Nanjunda is explained as Shiva who had partaken Halahala or poison and it is this Nanjunda who became Vishakanta or Shrikanta by digesting it. Thus the deity is called Nanjundeswara and Srikanteshwara. He is also described as one who cures diseases of his devotees. There are many temples in and around the town built in the Ganga, Vijayanagar and the Hoysala styles.The Muslim ruler Hyder Ali Khan had strong faith in God Nanjunda and addressed him as 'Hakim Nanjunda' as an eye ailment of his beloved elephant was said to have been cured by administering the holy water (theertha) from the temple. He has donated an emerald necklace to the God.

A major event in the pilgrim town is the Rathotsava or the car festival of Nanjundeswara. Besides the 'big Jathra' (big car festival), a 'chikka Jathra' (small car festival) is also organised every year during two auspicious days. Hundreds of pilgrims are attracted for the two Jathras (festivals). Besides cultural programmes and illumination of the temple, a colorful floating festival (Theppotsava) is also conducted during the celebrations.

Another important centre in Nanjangud is the Raghavendra Math, situated on the road to the right of the Nanjundeswara temple. It was founded by the close of 15th century and great gurus or heads like Sudheendra Thirtha and RaghavendraThirtha headed this institution. It has a fine collection of Sanskrit manuscripts and copper plates.

Temple Timings:
Weekdays: 6.00 a.m. to 1.30 p.m & 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Sunday: 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.

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