Religious Places

Durga Temple In Aihole, Karnataka

Written by Sudhir Kumar

Durga temple Aihole Kannada is in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It is apsidal in plan, along the lines of a Buddhist chaitya, a high moulded adisthana and a tower – curvilinear shikhara. A pillared corridor runs around the temple, enveloping the shrine, the mukhamandapa and the sabhamandapa.

About Durga Temple :

The temple of Goddess Durga Parameshwari in Katil is one of the most sacred and most visited temples in Karnataka. The sanctity, serenity and beauty of this place attract most of the pilgrims and visitors throughout the year.

It is really amazing to know that the temple is situated such that it is surrounded by River Nandini on all sides. The entrance of the temple is marked by well-carved and painted arch. One has to cross a small bridge that connects the temple and the road and leads you to the outside hall. The hall has a small book stall that sells the books on the importance of the temple, the place and the Goddess.

Once you cross the bridge, on your left there is the entrance that leads you to the inner compound where you can see the temple. The walls of the temple are of wooden unlike in most of the other temples.

The temple opens in the morning at 4:00 am. After cleaning the idol of the main deity, devotees and visitors are allowed to have a darshan. The first pooja of the day will be performed at 6:30 am during which the devotees can have the fantastic opportunity to see original stone idol of the Goddess. Later 10:30 am the Goddess is adorned with jewellery and garlands, called as Alankara. Devotees can then have Alankaara Darshan of the Goddess. In the afternoon hours, i.e. at about 12:30 pm, Maha pooja will be performed and prasadam will be distributed to the devotees. Towards evening, Pradhosha Pooja will be performed at 7:00 pm. It is then followed by various other poojas like Kumkumarchane, Sahasranama, Durga Namaskara, Huvina Pooja etc. that a devotee can perform for some amount. The tickets will be available at the counter outside. At 9:30 pm in the night, Maha Pooja is performed and the temple is closed for visitors at 10:00 p.m. But at the time of the festival or when there are some special poojas performed by devotees the temple will remain open till 12 O clock in the midnight.

Attractions Of Durga Temple In Karnataka :

The Durga Temple at Aihole is one of the most celebrated and intriguing ancient Hindu temples. One of the most beautiful and well-preserved temple, it has a unique tapered-oblong plan, and one could never be tired of walking around it and admiring its shape. The photogenic Durga or the fortress temple is planned along the lines of a Buddhist chaitya, a high molded adisthana and a tower – curvilinear shikhara. A pillared corridor runs around the temple, enveloping the shrine, the mukhamandapa and the sabhamandapa. All through the temple, there are beautiful carvings.

The temple derives its name from Durgadagudi meaning ‘temple near the fort’. Dedicated to Vishnu, the temple appears to be a Hindu adaptation of the Buddhist chaitya (hall) with its apsidal end. Standing on a high platform with a ‘rekhanagara’ type of Shikhara, it is the most elaborately decorated monument in Aihole. The columns at the entrance and within the porch are carved with figures and ornamental relief’s. The temple appears to be a late 7th or early 8th century construction.

The Durga (Fort) Temple is notable for its semicircular apes, elevated plinth and the gallery that encircles the sanctum. The interior is filled with fascinating carvings. Chamundi Devi trampling the buffalo demon, Narasimha – the half-man, half-female deity. Then there is image of the fearsome Mahishasuramardini or the Mother Goddess Durga destroying the demon Mahisha. The temple appears to be of the late 7th or early 8th century. Then there is image of the fearsome Mahishasuramardini or the Mother Goddess Durga destroying the demon Mahisha.

 History :

The existence of every temple has a legend behind it and so is for Durga Parameshwari temple and the existence of the river Nandini. Existence of Nandini River around the temple: It is said that this region did not witness rain for years and was hit by severe draught so much that even the Brahmins were forced to eat meat and people were on the verge of giving up their principles. Sage Jabaali who could not witness this situation thought to put an end to the human suffering. Through his ‘Jnana Drishti’ Jabaali realized that the root cause of all the troubles was Arunasura, the demon who escaped from death.  When Goddess Durga killed Shumbha and Nishumbha, Arunasura, one of the ministers, had fled from the scene to save his life. Later he became the head the Rakshasas (demons) and began to disturb the sages and obstruct their Yagnas which in turn resulted in no rains and draught.

Sage Jabaali then decided to perform a Yagna on a large scale in order to please the Gods. For this the sage wanted the celestial cow, Kamadhenu so she can provide him with unlimited quantity of the necessary ingredients required for Yagna. But as Kamadhenu was involved in some other Yagna, Devendra asked Jabaali to take Kamadhenu’s daughter Nandini who was equally good as her mother. Nandini, who was then over-whelmed with proud, refused to accompany Jabaali to the earth where evil was prominent. Jabaali, with all his benevolence, requested her, but in vain. In his anger, Jabaali cursed Nandini to be born as a river on earth in which people take a dip to ward off their sins. Nandini then prayed for forgiveness at the sage and he advised her to pray to Goddess Durga to redeem herself from his curse.

Nandini appealed to Goddess Durga who appeared to her and informed her that though Nandini would be born as a river so as to fulfil the curse, Goddess Durga herself would be born as Nandini’s daughter and reside in the centre of the river. Due to this Nandini would be relieved of the sin and attain purification. Thus, on Magha shudda Poornima, Nandini emerged as a river from Kanakagiri and during her course of flow, brightened the earth once again with lush green. Jabaali performed his yagna to please the Gods who bestowed rains and the earth was once again blooming.

How To Get There :

Air : Kateel is located about 5 kilometers from the Bajpe Bus stand. As such going to Bajpe, using the Kavoor- Marakada Route is the most convenient as the road is well maintained since it is also the access route to the Mangalore Airport.

Rail : The Nearest Railway station is Bagalkot.

Road : Aihole is connected by road to: Pattadakal (17 kms), Badami (46 kms) Bangalore (438 kms). Further the winding roads amidst green hills and valleys make it a very pleasant and memorable experience. Once in Bajpe town, take the straight road leading north to go to kateel. There are service busses plying between Mangalore and Kateel at a frequency of about 10 busses an hour. Cost by Bus About Rs. 10-15/-

Durga Parameshwari Temple Local Info :

Shri Durga Parameshwari Temple,
Kateel Post Office – Kateel
Mangalore Taluk,
Dakshin Kannada District
Karnataka – 574148.
Phone No.: 91-824-700361, 700591
Free Lunch and Dinner is offered to devotees and visitors.

About the author

Sudhir Kumar

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