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Karnataka - Mekekattu Nandikeshwara Temple

Mekekattu Nandikeshwara

Mekekattu Nandikeshwara Temple is absolutely a historical location, situated approximately 20 kilometers from Kundapura town. Mekekattu Nandikeshwara Temple lies in the limits of Udupi taluk, situated in a remote place near Saibra katte. The place is very close to Barkur in Shirya village. As per the legend, the temple is built by Parshurama and it is just like other major temples of coastal Karnataka. This temple is considered to be at least 1000 years old. It’s said to attract a large crowd during Sankaranti festival, especially during annual festival, Hasara and Sedi.

Temple Facts:- The Outstanding attraction is, mekkekattu temple includes a huge collection of coloured idols made of wood, many of that measured 10 ft. height. This ensures that no Abhisheka is performed in this temple. The wood will not with stand any of the offerings made during rituals. The statues are made of Halsa Mara (Jack Fruit tree) found in abundance in the forest nearby. The majority among the wooden statues are in warrior attire, giving a feeling that this complete collection of wooden statues are created to recollect an event of battle that might have been taken place here during 1600-1700 A.D (No Historic proof for this battle is discovered so far, however might be connected to mogul or Bahamani invasion). The deities are 10 ft. tall and colourfully painted. The deities lasted for around 150-200 years after which they are remade. It was lastly remade in 1970, and it was repainted in 2007. The place in and around Barkur had 365 temples out of which only 05 are functional, the rest have been destroyed. A few even hold an imitation of the old handgun or sword, carved as if prepared for battle. Each and every wooden statue is given a local legendary name.

Mythology- Folk lore

This place has two folklores associated with it. The first story is associated with sage Parshurama. According to the legends, when drought hit this area sage Agastiya came here to perform Yajna to please the rain god. During the Yajna, the Asurakumbha started bothering the sages. To rescue the sages, Bheema killed the demon with the help of the sword gifted by lord Ganesha.

The other tale had been told by the head priest of the temple is associated with the Allupas Dynasty. The Allupas (means: Kings) 450-1400 C.E were a minor dynasty who ruled parts of coastal Karnataka. Later with the dominance of Kadambas in Banawasi, they became feudatory to them. With this changed political scenario soon they became the feudatories to Chalukyas, Hoysalas and Vijaynagara Rayas. It’s believed that the temple was built by one of the kings of Allupas Dynasty. However the name of king is unknown. The king of Barkur was attacked by the neighbouring king and he went to seek help from a sage in Jambur. The sage helped the king by requesting Lord Shiva (Who had agreed to grant the sage’s wish) to send his army. The mighty army of lord Shiva commanded by Nandi defeated the enemy and thus securing the kingdom. The king later built the temple for lord Shiva’s army for their help.

To reach Mekekattu Nandikeshwara Temple, below are the nearest railway stations :

  • Kundapura - 8km
  • Saibrakatte -2kms
  • Udupi – 26 kms