Nanjundeshwara Temple at Mysore, Karnataka
Nanjangud is a taluk headquarters in Mysore district and is an important center of pilgrimage. Nanjangud is on the banks of the River Kapila (Kabini) tributaries of the Cauvery River. The name of the town is derived from the huge Nanjundeshwara or Sri Srikanteshwara Swamy Temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva who is locally known as Nanjundeshwara. It was also known as Garalapuri in the Sthalapuranas. Nanjangud is considered as one of the sacred Hindu pilgrimage center and also known as the ‘Dakshina Kashi’ (southern Kashi). The temple town of Nanjangud is situated about 23 Km. from Mysore and 162 Km. from Bangalore.
The temple’s main entrance is facing eastwards and has a Gopura (tower) on the entrance which is about 120 feet high and is one of the largest Gopuras in Karnataka. It has seven stories and has seven gold plated Kalasas on the top of the Gopura.This temple has 3 main deities, Lord Nanjundeshwara, Goddess Parvathi (wife of Lord Shiva) and Lord Vishnu with Sridevi and Bhudevi. The Shivalinga (Idol of Lord Shiva) is about 1 m in height.
The other deities in the temple are Ganesh, Subramanya (Muruga or Karthikeyan), Goddess Sharada (Saraswathi), Chandikeshwara, Navagraha, and Nandi (Bull).
There are sixty six Idols of shaiva saints called as Nayamnars. There are more than 100 lingas in the temple which are of different kinds and sizes of which Sahasra Linga is not to be missed. The Srikanteshwara (Nanjundeshwara) Linga is the oldest one.
Sri Nanjundeshwara Temple at Nanjangud is one of the ancient temples of Karnataka. The original Nanjundeshwara temple is said to be of Ganga period (325 – 1000 CE). Later, 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.
It is believed that sage Gauthama stayed here for some time and has installed a Shiva Linga, the idol of Lord Shiva. Lord Nanjundeswara also referred to as Lord Srikanteswara, Vishakanta, Nanjunda. It is also believed that Lord Nanjundeshwara cures diseases of his devotees. The spacious temple also houses minor shrines of Lord Narayana, Chandikeswara, Parvathi, Natya Ganapathi and others.
As per Hindu mythology, while searching for nectar of immortality the Gods and demons churned the ocean. During this churning, poison emanated first out of the ocean, to prevent the poison from spreading across the universe and to destroy it, Lord Shiva came to the rescue and drank the poison. Lord Shiva’s wife Parvathi then held his throat tightly to prevent the poison from spreading to the rest of his body and killing him. Narada held his mouth so that he did not vomit it out. The poison remained in his throat, making it blue in colour. So Lord Shiva is also called Neelakantha, or “the blue-thorated one”. Nanjanagud literally means the place where Nanjundeshwara (God who drank poison) resides. Nanjundeswara is also described as one who cures diseases of his devotees.
When Tipu Sultan’s Royal elephant had lost its eyesight, he worshiped Lord Nanjundeshwara and had faith in Him. The eyesight of the elephant got recovered and Lord Nanjundeshwara was called as “Hakim Nanjundeshwara” by Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan then donated a Shiva Lingam made of jade (precious green stone) along with an emerald necklace to the temple. Hakim means doctor, Lord Nanjundeshwara is also called as “Vaidya Nanjundeshwara” and is even today said to be a healer for his devotees.
Nanjangud has been a major Shaiva centre since times immemorial. The temple is a large complex structure in the Dravidan style, and appears to have been originally built by the Gangas (or Cholas) and additions were made to it through centuries till 1900, by the Hoysalas, Vijayanagara rulers, Palegars and others. Wodeyars of Mysore have provided various grants to renovate the temple. It was renovated by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and the tall gopura was built in 1845. It is one of the biggest temples of Karnataka, 385 ft. in length and 160 ft. in breadth.
There are 200 big and small shrines inside the temple like the Narayana, Chandikeswara, Parvathi, Natya Ganapathi and others.
The Rathotsava or the car festival will be held during March/April every year, lakhs of devotees gather for the occasion. During the Rathotsava cultural program’s, illumination of the temple, a colorful floating festival (Theppotsava) are conducted.
Other Places of Interes
- Sri Raghavendra Swamigala Mutt – Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt which is called as Preteeka Sanidhi is situated on the road to the right of the Nanjundeswara temple. The uniqueness of this Mutt is one can find an idol of Sri Raghavendra Swamy instead of the usual Brindavana.
- Parashurama Kshetra – is the place where the Kapila and Kaundinya rivers meet (sangam). It is believed that sage Parashurama have cleansed himself from the sin of beheading his mother in this place. A temple temple dedicated to Lord Parashurama can be found here.
Timings of Temple
06.00 am – 10.00 pm – On Mondays
06.00 am – 01.30 pm and 04.00 pm – 09.00 pm – Other Days
Festivals celebrated at Temple
Maha Shivarathri, Girija Kalyan, Chikka Jathra, Dodda Jathra, Teppothsava and Laksha Deepothsava are the main festivals celebrated along with other festivals dedicated to Lord Shiva.Dodda Jathre (Big fest) in which 5 Chariots are pulled by the devotees in the main streets of the old town is celebrated in the month of March/April and on this day thousands of devotees come to Nanjangud for the festival. Devotees pull Five Chariots during this day and some of the devotees also do Jagaran on this night as on the night of Maha Shivarathri. The five chariots are dedicated to Ganesh, Srikanteshwara, Parvathi, Subramanya and Chandikeshwara. They carry their respective idols. Chikka Jathre (Small fest) is celebrated usually in November/December month. During this day, three chariots are pulled by the devotees. A procession of 11 small chariots will take place on Srikanteshwara Jayanthi. Chariot with Idol of Lord Subramanya is pulled by devotees on the day of Skanda (Subramanya) Shashti.
Getting there and around
- By Air – Mysore airport is nearest airport to Nanjangud. Alternatively one can use the airports at Bangalore ,Coimbatore or Calicut for reaching Nanjangud.
- By Rail – Nanjangud has a railway station and the temple is around 1.0 kms from the railway station.The nearest railway junction is at Mysore. Bangalore and Mysore is well connected by trains and there are two trains which travel towards Nanjangud every day from Mysore and Chamarajanagara.
- By Road – From the state capital Bangalore, one can take the State Highway 17 which goes to Mysore and then onwards to Nanjangud. The total distance from Bangalore to Nanjangud is around 163 km. State buses ply regularly between this route.
There are many places to stay in Nanjangud. It ranges from the Economical Accommodation services offered by Temple to good Lodges and Hotels. There are not Star Hotels in Nanjangud. Since Nanjangud is about 24km from Mysore and frequent bus services, some people prefer to stay in Mysore instead of Nanjangud according to their comfort.Its better to reserve the accommodation in advance if planning to visit Nanjangud during special and festival days as there will be too much crowd in the town. One can have a look at below given accommodation options :
- Yathri Rooms of Srikanteshwara Temple.
- Girijakalyana Mantap.
- Many Hotels and Lodges which provide accommodation facilities.
Temple contacts information
Sri Srikanteshwara Temple,
Nanjangud, Mysore District,
Karnataka – 571301
Phone : 08221 – 226245