Monday, 17 December 2012

The temple built by the Pandavas

This is one of the few temples in India that was consecrated by the Pandavas. Though it is located at the foothills of the Western Ghats, very little is known about it to the outside world.
The rock inscriptions scattered around the area traces the origin of the temple to the Pandavas. Another legend connects this place with the death of Bakasura at the hands of Bheema.
This place is strategically located in one of the richest areca growing places in India. Yet, its name continues to evoke a little more than  a passing interest.
This is Vittla in Bantwal taluk which is not only famous for the temples built by the Pandavas but also an old palace the ruins of which can still be seen.
It is also called Vittel and it is situated 18 kms from Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district. It is also 14 km from Putur and 40 km from Mangalore.
Apart from its temple, Vittla is famous for Arecanut, cocoa, pepper and coconut.
There are five lingas in Vittla and it is enclosed within a three-storied temple. The temple faces West and the sanctum has the Lingas -Sadyojotha, Vanadeva, Aghora, Ishana and Thatapurusha. These are the five features of Shiva. 
The size of the linga corresponds with the size and stature of the Pandavas. It is commonly known as the Panchalingeshwara Temples.
The temple is sculpted like the back of an elephant. The Domba Heggade family runs the temple
The Pandavas had come here during the Agnathavyasa.
The Sthalapurana ascribed the consecration of the idols to all the five Pandavas. What is remarkable is that the geographical features mentioned in the Upa Katha of  Bakasura Vadhe in the Aranya Kanda of the Mahabharata can been seen on the periphery of the temple.
The cave or Gavi where Bakasura lived near here is on a hillock in the thick forests of Kalenjimale.The place where Bheema killed Bakasura can be seen . Other places associated with the Bheema-Bakasura legand are Netthare Kere (puddle of blood), Chipparu where the head of Bakasura was found and Kayyaru where the hands of Bakasura were discovered.
Another important landmark is the Vittla palace.
The ruler of Vittla, Achuta Heggade, was captured and hanged to death by Hyder Ali with whom he had a running battle. Achuta Heggade was supported by the British in his war against Hyder.
One of  Achuta’s descendents, Ravivarma Narasimha Domba Heggade, fanned the fire of revolt against the British after the death of Tipu in 1799, but he was captured and hanged by the British.
The Heggade family still lives in the palace.
Vittla is located on a junction of four roads connecting Puttur, Kasargod, Mangalore and Saletur. Vittla is an easily accessible place.

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