Aishwarya Rao
A brilliant journey cutting across the glorious green canopy of Karnataka began with the darshan at our family deity’s- Kateel.

Kateel (Cut-eel) is a magnificent Durga temple right in the middle of river Nandini is located 27 kms north of Mangalore. The presiding deity of this temple is the “Sowmya Rupa” or the softened manifestation of the fierce Durga Parmeshwari. The deity’s unusual sitting posture is evident as her feet peep out firmly from under the elaborate decoration and a grand saree (most likely to have been an offering from her devotees).
The deity had such an unmistakable charm, certain ‘cuteness’ about her that almost everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of her poised form before we left. With the sound of flowing water (Nandini) and the echo of gigantic rain drops falling on the temple roof in the background it would have been easy to have remained immersed in the lure of this temple.

Legend has it that Nandini (the daughter of the sacred cow Kamadhenu) was cursed by a sage Jabali, to flow as a river on earth and that Durga takes birth as her daughter to release her from the sage’s curse.
You can read more about Kateel history here.
Kateel can easily be the starting point of your pilgrimage+of a weekend getaway. Not only is it located only 25 minutes from the city, but the route to the temple is also absolutely scenic, cheerful and green. Our next destination was Udupi. However on the way to Udupi we stopped at four other must visit sites.

First was the Bappanaad Durga Parameshwari temple located in Mulki. It is believed that Bappa, a Muslim merchant was responsible for building this temple. A detailed explanation of the temple history is available here.

At the temple, you are likely to notice the fine architecture, the neatly maintained premises, and the temple authorities who are friendly and personal. The Bappanaad Dolus (drums) an essential part of the temple’s annual utsava (festival) hang majestically in a corner. If you like you can capture some of these antique instruments on camera as you are allowed to do so.
Our next stop was at Sri Vishweshwara temple, Yellur.The deity Vishweshwara is represented by the Shiva linga with an imposing face. The Linga is made of ‘Rudrakshi Shila’ a rare variety of stone and we were told that the Linga was discovered by a tribal woman who found the ground bleeding after she cut the woods. The attraction in this Yellur temple is the giant ox (Nandi) who is decorated splendidly during festivals and other special occasions. More information is available here.
Kunjaragiri Durga and Pajaka Kshetra
Located on a hill in Pajaka (the birthplace of Sri Madvacharya) around 9kms from Udupi is the Kunjaragiri Durga temple also known as Durga Betta. With two flights of stairs, it is an easy climb up hill. This is a must see location as it offers a fascinating panorama of the land around and the Arabian sea beyond.
Upon climbing down we visited the ancestral home of our Guru, Sri Madvacharya at Pajaka Kshetra. It is amazing to see how the place tightly holds traces of the life of Sri Madvacharya. Every visitor is first taken to see the Ananteshwar deity in the premises and then guided around the house. One is offered snippets from Sri Madhva’s life (in Kannada of course) including stories about the magical banyan tree and the two mammoth rocks that Madva used as a lid to protect milk from cats. It might be useful to have someone with the knowledge of the language accompany you.

After quick darshans at the Chandreshwar and Ananteshwar deities in Udupi we landed at one of the most ancient temples in Udupi, that of Sri Krisha. The idol is adorable and is decked up elaborately with rich jewels and stones. Although one can see him only through a small window on the beautiful carved door of the shrine, the spectacle is breathtaking.
The manifestation, believed to have been installed by Sri Madvacharya leaves a memorable and lingering impact. One must not miss the “Kanakana Kindi”, a small window through which Kanakadasa, a lower caste devotee of Sri Krishna is supposed to have been blessed with his darshan.
You can find the legend of Udupi Krishna here. If you land up in Udupi around lunch or dinner time (like we did) there is a vegetarian restaurant by name Sarovar that you might want to check out.
On our way to Murudeshwar from Udupi on Saturday night, we stopped at Anne Guddi a Ganesh temple. A large silver Ganesh dressed in rich tones awaits his audience and five year olds take up the responsibility of distributing the prasadha. After a long and magnificent day we headed to Murudeshwar through pouring rain and highway traffic. The Maravanthe beach beside the road added to the excitement late that night
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5 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Nice Post Aishwarya. I had gone on a similar trail in Dec last year,...Looks like I have missed quite a few places..I was travelling from Bangalore-Dharmasala-Kateel-Mangalore-Udupi-Murudeshwar

    The coastal trip was brilliant, but found it difficult to appreciate the architecture of Malnadu region temples. Probably I am more used to the Gopurams of AP/Tamil Nadu...but then Shringeri and Belur blew me away...should visit those temples again!..:)

  2. I havent been to Belur. Would like to go there one day!

  3. Divya Rajan Says:

    Hi Aishwarya,

    I happened to stumble upon your blog today. Ancestry-wise I'm from M'lore/Udupi and its nice to see these places being profiled so well in your blog.

  4. Hi Divya,
    Thanks for your note. Mangalore is such an amazing place that one doesn't have to try hard to describe it! I am a Madhwa through Dad's side of the family and it was amazing to visit these places - especially Madvacharya's home and listen to the stories. Probably the most unforgettable trip of my life!

  5. Thank you for valuable information.
    Hare Krishna!
    Chandan Yatra Das