Shrikanteshwara or Nanjundeshwara Temple in Karnataka
Srikanteshwara temple in Karnataka is also named as Nanjundeshwara temple where Nanju means poison and Nanjundeshwara is named to god who swallowed poison came out when Samudra Madan between gods and demons. Srikanteshwara temple enshrines Lord Shiva who is also named as Nanjundeshwara in kannada.
Srikanteshwara temple or Nanjundeshwara temple in Karnataka is an ancient and famous temple in south known as Dakshina Kashi or Varanasi of South in India. This Nanjundeshwara temple is one of the biggest temples in Karnataka located on the right banks of River Kapila, with its vast area of about 560 sq. meters built in Dravidian style of architecture.
Nanjundeshwara temple in Karnataka has largest Gopuras with seven gold plated Kalasas on the top of the Gopura related to seven stories. The main entrance of the Srikanteshwara temple is facing eastwards. This temple enshrines with three other main deities along with Lord Nanjundeshwara (Shiva) his wife Goddess Parvathi and Lord Vishnu along with his wives Goddess Sridevi and Bhudevi.
The Shivalinga installed in Srikanteshwara temple is about 1m height. which is believed that this Shivalinga was installed by the sage Gauthama. And is worshipped by Parashurama when he stayed here for some time on his journey to get cleansed from the sin of beheading his mother.
Along with main Shivalinga there are more than 100 lingas located in the temple of Srikanteshwara temple of different sizes and forms. Apart from those Lingas, Sahasra Linga is the most famous and the oldest one to visit. There are sixty six Idols of shaiva saints called as Nayamnars.
History of Shrikanteshwara or Nanjundeshwara Temple:
The Nanjundeshwara temple or Srikanteshwara temple has undergone frequent extensions in phases and contributions as the state of Karnataka was ruled by different rulers for about 10 centuries i.e. from 9th to 19th century by Cholas, Gangas, Hoysalas, Dalavoys, Wodeyaras and Krishnadevarayas.
Lord Nanjundeshwara residing in this Srikanteshwara temple was also worshipped by Muslim king Tipu Sultan when his royal elephant lost its eyesight as he had faith on this god, soon after the elephant’s eyesight got recovered. From then onwards the god Lord Nanjundeshwara was named as Hakim Nanjundeshwara” by the king Tippu Sultan where Hakim means Doctor. So Lord Nanjundeshwara is worshipped as Vaidya Nanjundeshwara till today by devotees.
Festivals related to Shrikanteshwara Temple:
This Nanjundeshwara temple or Srikanteshwara temple is very famous for festivals such as Maha Shivarathri, Chikka Jathra, Girija Kalyan, Dodda Jathra, Teppothsava and Laksha Deepothsava are celebrated in this temple.
Srikanteshwara temple has major event as Rathotsava or the Chariot festival of Lord Nanjundeshwara which is held twice in a year named as Dodda Jathre and Chikka Jathre.
Dodda Jathre is a big fest celebrated in the month of March/April On the day of MahaShivrarthri. On this day devotees pull five Chariots in the main streets of the old town and thousands of devotees visit the town of Nanjangud for the festival on this day. Even devotees pull five chariots while some devotees do Jagaran on this night as on the night of Maha Shivarathri. The five chariots are dedicated to Ganesh, Srikanteshwara, Parvathi, Subramanya and Chandikeshwara.
Another famous occasion celebrated during in the month of in November/December is a small fest called as Chikka Jathre. On this festival devotees pull three chariots with respective gods.