Saturday 9 March 2013

A Garuda and Astagrama Iyers

This is a unique village in the sense that the Wodeyar Kings of Mysore initially invited migrants from Tamil Nadu to settle down here and provide professional services to the then Government.
Most of the migrants who came down from their native in Tamil Nadu and settled down here were Iyer Brahmins from Thanjavur and surrounding areas. Once they settled down to life in a new village, they began providing professional services to the Mysore Government.
Their expertise was in the field of cuisine, accounts, administration and personnel and they provided these services with sincerity and devotion. The Wodeyar Kings were so impressed by the new inhabitants that they assigned eight villages to them and invited more of them to settle down there.
The Iyers of these villages are called Astagrama Iyers. The Ashtagram Iyers are known for their intelligence and scholastic aptitude. The village of Devara Samudra is also famous for its yearly Ankalamma Jatra, a series of festivities that concludes with a procession of the local god, housed in a large chariot.
Today, all this is history and the name of the original village where the first Tamil settlers stayed flashes past as we drive away from Mulagabal in Kolar district.
This is the village of Devaraya Samudra in Mulabagal taluk and it is 80 kms from Bangalore. Though it is just two kms from Mulabagal, almost all the thousands of travelers who traverse the busy National Highway No 4 ignore it.
However, the small village is very easy to spot even from the National Highway. As you near Mulabagal, you see a grey coloured hill in the distance. This hill is near the village of  Devaraya Samudra.
This is a typical Indian village with a hill which is a trekker’s delight, a few temples and a well-known tank. However, what sets this village aside from other villages is that it has made a name for itself  for having produced scholars and men of letters.
Devaraya Samudra the main village in Ashta grama or eight villages. It has a literacy rate of  95 per cent and many of its inhabitants are well-settled in India and abroad. The village has produced professionals who hold key and top positions in information technology, medicine, management and construction fields.
Another legend says the name Devaraya came from Krishna Deva Rayua and it was he who wanted the Tamils from Thanjavur to be settled here. Samudra refers to the lake near by.
This is one of the biggest lakes in the area and it is the lifeline of several villages. It is spread across 502 acres but years of neglect and encroachment of water channels have led to the lake becoming dry today.
The lake is also know as Ashtagrama kere  or lake of eight villages. The lake covers the villages of Devaraya Samudra, Keeluholali, Mallappanahalli, Doddaganahalli and Tattanagunte.
Residents of  Devaraya Samudra say it has been more than a decade since the lake was filled to the brim. The last time the lake overflowed was two years ago when there was torrential rains. However, the water did not last long and it could not be used for agriculture.
The main canal and sub-canals connecting the lake to the villages have been encroached upon. At one time, more than 3,000 families were dependent on water from the lake for agriculture. Over the last decade it is difficult for these farmers to get even one crop in a year.
The village lies between Kolar and Mulbagal on the Old Madras Highway. The hill near the village will excite any climber or trekker. However, there are no steps or path to the top. Through the slopes look friendly, there are several steep patches.
Locals will tell you to be careful as panthers have been sighted on the hill. You can sight foxes and mongoose too. The moat around the hill was one of the feeder canal that supplied water to a lake nearby. It was built during 1960 at a cost of only Rs 3,000.  
The climb to the top will take about an hour. The top has a wide plateau with a stone pillar and the many boulders and caves. The view of Mulabagal, Devara Samudra and the surrounding villages is awesome.
When you descend the hill, you can see  two prostrate images of Garuda, the Vahana of Vishnu. The larger of the Garuda is built of bricks and mortar.
Locals will tell you that the large Garuda was built in 1840 in 42 days. Each day, rituals were held and free food served to the devotees. When finished, the Garuda was consecrated by a saint Ishwara Poundareeka Dixit.
This is the only Garuda Shayana in Karnataka. There are three others in India and they are Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
Both the Garudas have been declared a protected monument by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
Devara Samudra has some interesting temple too. The Thailamba Vaidyanatheshwara temple has the shrines of Shiva, Parvathi, Ganesha and Navagrahas.
The outer courtyard of the temple has a beautiful shrine of Mahadwara Ganapathy. The annual car festival is held on full moon day of Magha masa.
The Lakshminarayana temple has a fine image of Vishnu and Lakshmi in sitting posture. During April, the Pallakki Utsava draws about 10,000 devotees from Kolar, Bangalore and surrounding places.
The temple of Ankalamma, the village Goddess, and Anjaneya temple with a five-foot image is worth visiting.  
Devara Samudra is 19 kms after Kolar, 10.9 kms from Mulbagal and about 80 kms from Bangalore.

No comments:

Post a Comment