Saturday, 26 January 2013

The ancient Sun Temple of Karnataka

Mention the Sun temple and one is instantly transported to the Konark Temple in Orissa. The Sun temple at Konark has become so famous that it has overshadowed all other similar structures in India.
Yes, India does have almost a dozen temples dedicate to the Sun God and some of them are as old if not older than the Sun Temple of Konark.  If you go by the architecture, the Sun Temple at Modhera in Gujarat is no less impressive as any other temple.
While the Sun temple was built in the 13th century  in sandstone by King Narasimha Deva of Eastern Ganga dynasty, the Modhera temple was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty.
Apart from these two temples, there are temples to the Sun in Karnataka, including an ancient temple, and one in Bangalore.
Bangalore has a beautiful temple for the Sun God at KR Colony, Domlur, off Airport Road. It is about a km or less from the Venkateshwara Temple in Domlur. This temple was built sometime in 1995.
However, the oldest Sun temple in Karnataka is in Naravi in Belthangady taluk of Dakshin Kannada district. Naravi is in the foothills of the magnificent Western Ghats and it is just 20 kms from Karkala road.
Naravi is located on the Karkala-Dharmasthala Road. The Sun temple is very well known in the district and it was built sometime in the 14th century.
There is an interesting legend around the construction of this beautiful temple. A pious woman, Rama Devi,  belonging to a rich family is credited with the construction of the temple.
Rama Devi was a devotee of  Surya or Sun, She always prayed to the Sun before undertaking any task. She also took food only after seeing sun rise.
However, she went without food for several days when seasonal changes made it difficult  or almost impossible for her to see the Sun every day.  When it rained heavily during the monsoons, the Sun could not be seen for days together.
Surya noticed her plight and decided to alleviate it. He appeared to Rama Devi in her dream and asked her to install his idol in a temple in Naravi.
Surya also told Rama Devi that his idol was lying near a river. Rama Devi unearthed the idol and had it installed in the present location.
Lord Suryanarayana is the main deity and it is believed to belong to the 14th century. The idol is made of Rudraksha stone and it is two and half feet in height. The hands of the deity hold lotus and there is a beautiful crown on the head.  
The temple has been renovated recently. Daily offerings such as Karthika Puje, hoovu Puje, Suryanamaskara seva, Adithyahridaya japa, Siyala Abhisheka, Ranga Puje, Ksheerabhisheka is offered to Surya as per Madhwa tradition.
The annual Jathra of the temple is very popular. The serene Suvarna rover flows besides the temple. 
By the way there is a legend about how Naravi got its name.  A local priest of the Surya Temple repeated the mantras “Na Ravi” several time over. The name became popular and soon the place came to be known as Naravi.
Karkala, Moodabiridi and Belthangady are all in a radius of 25 kms from Naravi.
There is also another lesser known Sun Temple in Mangalore, This is the old temple of Surya at Maroli.
Maroli is a small village adjoining Alupa village. Both the villages are at the mouth of the Netravathi river. 

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. hi..thanks for sharing..this week end i am planning a trip to br hills resort and also near by place k gudi resort...

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  3. Nice , there is another temple related to sun god near M.S building which is 200 years old and god himself has appeared in this place and there is no idol here , he appeared for a perdon by name devanga doddanna for his honest devotion that is the reason why we see here lot of government departments nearby that's why this ancient and sacred city BENGALIRU became capital of the state .

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  4. Nice & prolific information please visit temple near M.S building, Bangalore which is 200 years old related to sun god

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