Thursday, 7 November 2013

The second of the three Rangas

The second of the three Rangas is the Ranganatha Temple at Shivanasamudra.
Shivanasamudra is the smallest of the three islands of Srirangapatna, Shivanasamudra and Srirangam. The idol here and the temple too is the smallest among the three.
Shivanasamudra is not only a religious centre but also a historical one. It is also the place where one can see two beautiful waterfalls-Gganachukki and Barachukki and the power generating station.
Shivanasamudra is accessible by road from several places, including Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya, Malavalli and Chamarajanagar.
Since we are writing about seeing the three rangas in a day, we will confine ourselves to the journey from Srirangapatna to Shivanasamudra.
A small town in Mandya district, Shivanasamudra forms the boundary to Chamarajanagar district. Several decades ago it was called Heggur. It has the distinction of having Asia’s first hydro electric power station. This happened way back in 1902. The western branch of the Cauvery forms the twin waterfalls of Gaganachukki, whereas the eastern branch is the Bharachukki falls. The Gaganachukki waterfalls are best viewed from the Shivanasamudra watch tower.
The Madhya Ranga is a small but beautiful temple. The idol is also known as Jaganmohan Ranga. The Someshwara temple nearby has a idol of Meenakshi. It is also called Meenakshi temple. There is a Srichakra here believed to have been consecrated by Shankaracharya.
The journey from Srirangapatna to Madhya Ranga takes a little over an hour. The nearest railhead is Maddur.
There are scores of  pilgrim and tourist places around Shivanasamudra. They can be covered in a day or two. It is better to have your own transport as some of the places are way off the tourist map. Let me start with some better known tourist places.


This is near Shivanasamudra but it is not as well known as the former. There is a beautifully located Inspection bungalow overlooking the deep Shimsha valley where the river Shimsha joins the Cauvery. You can reach this place by the road that branches off from the main Maddur-Malavalli-Kollegal road


This is the lost town of the Gangas. It was once the capital of the Gangas till the Cholas overan it (It was during the Gangas that the statue of Gomata was built at Shravanabelogala).
Several temples here are buried under sand. The architecture of the temples is awesome. It is at this spot that Alamulu, the wife of the Vijayanagar Viceroy of Srirangapatna, cursed Raja Wodeyar. The curse said Wodeyars will not have any male heirs: that Malagni will transform into a whirlpool and that Talakad will be buried under sand.
The Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanatheshwara and Mallikarjuna temples represent the five lingas and consequently the five faces of Shiva. Hence, Shiva here is called Pancha Pathi and the Panchalinga Darshana is held once in 12 years. The last such event was held in 2009.
The Cauvery here is fairly deep and it is dangerous to venture into the middle. There are plenty of guides to help you around the temples.
Talakad is 45 kms from Mysore and 133 kms from Bangalore. Talakadu is 27 kms from Shivanasamudra. It is on the left bank of the Cauvery. It is here that the East flowing Cauvery changes course. Therefore, there are many whirlpools.


Twenty five kms from Talakadu and 35 kms from Mysore is Somanathapura which has one of the most exquisite Hoysala temple dedicated to Somanatheswara or Chennakshava. The temple was built by Soma, a Dandanayaka  or commander in 1268 when Narasimha, the third, was the Hoysala Emperor. This is the last major temple of Hoysala dynasty.
The Temple is built on a raised platform so that the devotees can perform pradakshina of the temple. It is stellar in shape and the outer walls are beautifully carved.


This is a pilgrim centre on the banks of the Cauvery. It is 48 km from Mysore, 25 km from Somanathapur, 18 kms from T. Narsipura and very close to Takalad. The temple of Lord Mallikarjuna is one of the Pancha Linga temples.
It is believed that Arjuna, the Pandava, stayed here and he consecrated the Shiva Linga here. Every year during January and February, a week-long festival and fair is organised where cattle and agricultural products are traded. This fair attracts thousands of people.
The place is called Mudukuthore (break and turn) as the Cauvery here takes a turn.

T Narsipura

Tirumakudalu Narasipura or T Narsipura is the only place in south India to host Kumba Melas. A small town in Mysore district, it is situated at the confluence of three rivers-Cauvery, Kabini and Spatika Sarovara or the mythical underground river.
The Skanda Purana rates T Narsipura as one of the Trimakuta Kshetras  or holy places with the confluence of three rivers. The word Narasipur  comes from the famous Gunja Narasimhaswamy temple that is located on the right bank of the Kabini.
This is just 14 kms from Somanathapura and five kms from Takaladu.


This is an important religious centre and it houses the Sosale Vyasa Raja Matha. It is one the left bank of the Cauvery. This Vyasa Raja matha is distrinct from the Abbur or Kundapura Vyasaraja Matha. The Abbur Matha is headquartered at Abbur near Chennapatna. The renowned Madhwa seer, Vyasa Raja, (1447-1539) visited this place. The matha has brindavanas of nine saints and hence it is called Nava Brindavana. (Do not confuse this with the Nava Brindavana at Hampi). It is 3 kms from T. Narsipura.


This is another small town in Mysore district. It is famous for its sheep called Banur sheep. Not many know that this is the place where the great Madhwa sage, Vyasa Raja, was born.The place where he was born is now the Vyasa Raja Matha. There is a small idol to show the place where he was born in 1447.
The Kodandarama temple and theYoga Narasimha temples here are outstanding.
Bannur is 34 kms from Takaladu, 64 kms from Mysore and 14 kms from Sosale.


You will come across this town when you head from Shivanasamudra to Srirangam. Kollegal is in Chamarajanagar district and it is a well-known silk centre.  Kollegal is the main junction where you can Salem, Coimbatore, Ooty, Mysore, Bangalore, Shivanasamudra and Kozhikode. Chamarajanagar at 30 kms away is the nearest railhead.
Kollegal is 30 kms away from BR Hills and it has easy access to MM hills and several forest and picnic spots. There are many temples in Kollegal.
Shivanasamudra isjust 15 kms away. Maradi Gudda in Kollegal is a famous place as is the Gundal reservoir.   


Today, this town on the Bangalore-Mysore highway is known for its Maddur vada. This is in Mandya district and it is 19 kms from Mandya city and 81 kms from Bangalore. It is a little over 40 kms from Shivanasamudra.
The Ugra Narasimha Temple has sannidhis for Ugra Narasimha,  Sowmya Nayaki, Narasimha Nayaki,  Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Yashoda, Krishna, Srinivasa and the alwars.
The temple is unique and Yashoda is seen breast feeding Krishna in the sanctum. Brahma is seen held from Krishna's nabhi.
Arjuna wanted Krishna to give him a darshan of  Narasimha.  Krishna advised Arjuna that he would be able to see Narasimha as he was a Ugra (angry) avatar. He, therefore, requested Brahma to craft a stone replica of Ugra Narasimha. This was installed in Maddur temple andArjune had his wish fulfilled.
In earlier days,  Maddur was called Arjunapuri as Arjuna worshipped in this temple. Later, Kadamba rishi came and worshipped here.
Another famous temple is that of  Varadaraja Swamy which was by the Hoysala Emperor Vishnuvardhan. The Emperor’s  mother was blind and Ramanujacharya, the Srivaishnava saint philosopher, asked Vishnuvardhana to take his mother to Kanchi Varadarajaswamy temple for curing her blindness.
As she was too old to travel, Varadaraja came in the dream of t Vishnuvardhana and ordered him to construct the temple in Maddur itself. The king got artistes from Kanchi and created the idol of Sri Varadaraja. After the installation of the idol, a mandala pooja -48 days pooja- was perfoemed and on the forty eighth day when the Emperor’s mother came to worship the God, her eyesight was restored. The Varadaraja here is also called as Nethra Narayana.


Very near Maddur (13 kms away and 95 kms from Bangalore) is the world famous bird sanctuary of Kokre Bellur. This is just off the Bangalore-Mysore road.  During October and November every year, the village of Kokre Bellur transforms into a home to migratory birds. Flocks of painted storks (ibis leucocephalus) and spot billed pelicans (pelecanus philippenis) come here to build their nests and rear their young. The trees are always swarming with storks and pelicans.


The presiding deity of Marehalli Temple here Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy (Perumal Narasimha who is in a sitting posture with Lakshmi on his lap).
The deity is a chaturbhuja – having four hands. The ancient temple is enormous in size. A canal carrying Cauvery water runs in front of the Temple.

Bhimana Kindi

This is natural rock formation. It is located at Bhimana Kindi in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district. The arch formation of the rock is over the hill. It is a breathtaking place near Kanchina Halli village. It is on the Chennapatna route via Halaguru.


Muthathi or Muttatti is on the banks of the Cauvery near Malavalli.  It is surrounded by dense forest which is the home of the Cauvery  Wildlife Sanctuary. Muthathi is associated with Seetha, Rama and Hanuman. Many animals such as deer, elephants, squirrels and several species of birds can be spotted. The river here has several   whirlpools and powerful currents which have led to the deaths of several people. In the last three years, 108 people have died here and of them Bangalore accounts for 85.
Muttatti is 40 kms from Malavalli.


One of the world’s best angling camps is in Bheemeswari which is in Malavalli taluk. This also called Cauveri fishing camp. It is regared as a perfect picnic and fishing spot for masheer near Muthathi. Bheemeswari is located in between Shimsha and Mekadatu.  You can easily spot crocodiles, wild boars, jackals, leopards and birds. This place is a natural habitat for Masheer fish.
The Jungle Lodges and Resorts operate resorts here.


Seventy two kilometers away from Shivanasamudra and twenty kms from Maddur is the toy town of Chennapatna. This is a famous silk centre and it is also called as Toy town as it manufactures a variety of wooden toys. The toy industry was first introduced here by Tippu Sultan.
Chennapatna is known for some of the finest temples. Ramanujacharya consecrated the Varadaraja (Srinivasa) temple here. The Madhwa saint, Vyasa Raja, also built a Srinivasa temple here. Both the temples are near to each other.
Near Chennapatna is the Apremaya Swamy Temple. Rama, Lakshmana and Sita came here during their Vanavasa. The Srinivasa idol here is magnificent and there are several legends about it. There is an idol of Krishna which is called Ambegallu Krishna. Purandara was so enraptured by it that he burst into a song “Jagododarana”.


There are several other places like Abbur which houses the Brindavana of  Bramanye Theertha and it belongs to the Abbur or Kundapura Matha. Nearby is the cave or Guhe where Purushottama Theertha, the guru of  Nramanye Theertha, disappeared in a cave. The cave is accessible but the road is bad and you have to trek through fields to go to the place. There is an Anjaneya Temple here.


This is the small town that Bramanye Theerha founded sometime in the 15th century. It is just before Chennapatna when you approach it from Bangalore side. Just after the Chennapatna lake on your left on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, you will find a lot of autos parked on a road. Take this road and it winds its way to this obscure village. 
There is a Hanuman here and it was consecrated by three Madhwa seers-Bramanye Theertha of Abbur Matha, his cousin brother, Sripadaraja of Mulabagal Matha and Vyasa Raja of Vyasa Raja Matha. Purandara Das also visited this shrine and sung a song.
There is an old house belonging to the archaka of this small temple. He says this was the house which Bramanye Theerthe himself constructed. Only a portion of an inner wall remains and the rest have been repaired and  reconstructed.

Kambada Narasimha

This is a temple which you come across on the road to Bramanye Pura. As you turn left from this road to Bramanye Pura, you can see a Garuda Sthamba on the middle of the road. Stop here and yopu can see a hillock a little distance away. The Kambada Narasimha Temple is on this hillock.
Legend has it that Purushottama Theertha used to worship the Kambada Narasimha every day walking from Abbur, which is 8 kms away. After him, Bramanye Theertha followed the practice. However, he found it a difficult task to carry holy water  to perform abhisheka all the way from Abbur. He then constructed the Bramanye Sarovara nearby. 
The Maddur-Chennapatna-Kanakapura sector has several hill and trek places. The entire areas is full of temples, hill ranges and small tanks and lakes. All these are easily accesible provided you have your own transport. The Maddur-Mandy-Chennapatna sector is full of eateries and some of the best hotels and restaurants. Nature is at its best here. 


  1. Hi,very nice blog..thanks for such a good post.i need visit good resorts nearby Bangalore so please help out in finding good resorts

  2. Hey Samyuktha, great descriptive blog about my hometown karnataka!! I really adore the way you described Bhimeswari as it was one of my best preferred day-out spots as a young child...Good job..a few pics would've been great.

    1. Yes, Indrajit, Many of the places mentioned deserve a photo and of course Bhimeswari. We will include the photos shortly. Thanks for the compliment.

  3. Hi,
    Very nice info but you would have given my geo location.