Saturday 18 January 2014

The little-known temple of BR Koppal

There are scores of  temples dedicated to Srinivasa, Ranganatha and Narasimha in the Bangalore-Mysore belt and many of them such as the Ranganatha temples at Srirangapatna and Magadi, the Srinivasa temples of  Apremeya in Dodda Malur and  Bangaru Tirupathi and the Narasimha temples of Maddur and Melkote are well-known.
In fact the districts of  Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya, Ramanagar, Hassan and Kolar which form part of  south Karnataka abound in temples dedicated to Hari and his ten avatars, including Srinivasa and Narasimha.
However, there are many temples which are not as well-known as the temples of Melkote or Magadi. One such temple is that of Sri Manikarnika Gunja Sri Lakshmi Narasimha at Baburayana Koppal  or BR Koppal, which is near Srirangapatna.
The temple is situated at the confluence of Lokapavani and Cauvery rivers.
The deity is Narasimha and he has a small bead, called gulaganji in Kannada, held up in his right palm. This means that this kshetra is more sacred (by the weight of a gulaganji) than the Manikarnika Ghat at Kashi. That is why the deity here is called Manikarnika Sri Gunja Lakshmi Narasimha.
The Manikarnika Ghat of Kashi is supposed to be the very place where Lord Vishnu dug a pit with his chakra while he was performing penance. The pit was filled with his perspiration when he started meditating. When Lord Shiva shook his head in admiration, his jewelled ear ornament fell into the pit with a resounding murmur. This is how the bathing ghat Manikarnika in Kashi got its name.
It is the same name of Manikarnika that distinguishes this Narasima Temple. Local legend has it that Brigu performed penance here.
A little distance away from the Narasimha temple is the beautiful hill of Karighatta where a temple dedicated to Srinivasa is built. Nearby is the famous Naimishamba temple.
The Manikarnika temple is 120 kms from Bangalore and 35 kms from Mysore and it is on the Bangalore-Mysore road. 
e bridge on the river Cauvery before entering Srirangapatna, a left turn on the highway leads to Babu Rayan Koppal and the temple. It is about
Another temple dedicated to Narasimha is the Sri Gunja Narasimha Swamy and Agasthyeshwara Temples at T. Narsipura. The Gunja Narasimhaswamy Temple is on the left side of Cauvery and even here Narasimha has a gulaganji in his right hand.
There is also a Narasimha temple in Srirangapatna. However, the most famous temple of Narasimha in the area of that of Yoga Narasimha in Melkote. This temple is accessible only after a back breaking climb from a steep cluster of steps.  

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