Ambegalu Krishna: A temple for the childless
India is a land of temples and there are thousands of temples in almost all nook and corner of the country. Many of the temples have a history of their own and the Stala Purana (local history) is worth looking into.
There are many ancient temples in Karnataka and I would like to write about one such temple on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. Travellers from Bangalore to Mysore will come across a the spire of gopura of a temple just after Chennapatna town. This is the Apremaya Temple which has a history of its own.
The temple stands on sand and not on solid ground in Doddamallur village. Legend has it that the temple was built more than 3000 years ago. There is a document dated 980 AD that talks about lighting lamps to the deity.
The main idol is Apremaya which means one who has no vices and it is a temple dedicated to Srinivasa. The idol is carved out of Saligrama stone. Rama is believed to have stayed here for several years and performed several rituals after his exile from Ayodhya. Therefore, this place is also called Dakshina Ayodhya. Ask the priests to show you the structures where he is supposed to have performed religious rituals.
The Puranas give information about this temple and place. They say Lord Aprameya was worshipped by King Vijyapala in Krutha Yuga, Sage Kanva in Thretha Yuga, Sage LambhaShrava in Dwapara Yuga and Vigyanaeshwara in Kali Yuga.
Another folklore is that sages Kanva and Kapila worshipped Apremaya here and that they still do so today. Locals say that they have heard of the doors of the inner sanctum sanctorum opening and ringing even after the temple is locked for the night. Even the temple bells ring during these times, they say.
The idol of Ambegalu Krishna (Ambe Kallu) is believed to have been consecrated here by Sage Vyasa. It is also called Navaneeta Krishna (Benne Krishna).
The idol is small and Krishna has butter in one hand. There are several; ornaments on the idol, including a pendant of tiger claws. Couples wanting children come here and pray by offering cradles.
This idol is located behind the idol of Apremaya.
When Purandara Dasa came to Chennapatna and saw this idol, he was so overcome with its beauty that he sang “Jagadoddharana Aadisidalu Yashode.
There is a small four pillared mantapa in front of the Gopura of the temple. Almost all visitors tend to overlook the Mantapa or give it only a cursory look. But this structure too has a history of its own. It is called Purandara Mantapa and it was built in honour of Purandara Dasa after he came to the temple and composed Jagaoddharana.
Visit the Vishnu Theertha nearby which is believed to be the place where Mahalakshmi was born in a loctus flower. The Nadi Narasimha temple nearby is also worth a visit. Legend has it that if you walk around the temple 12 times with a coconut in hand, your wish will be fulfilled.
The temple is roughly 60 kms from Bangalore and 2 kms from Chennapatna. It is on the banks of Kanva river. The temple is open from 8 a.m., to 12 noon and again from 5-30p.m., to 8-30 p.m.
The great Srivaishnava saint Ramanajucharya visited this temple as did the Madhwa saint and philosopher Vyasa Raya (the earlier avatar of Raghavendra Swamy).(EOM