A Timeless Blend of History, Spirituality, and Tradition

Kadri Manjunath

Stands as an iconic structure in the bustling city of Mangalore

Abstract :

Kadri Manjunath Temple, located in the vibrant city of Mangalore, Karnataka, is not just an architectural marvel but a repository of history, tradition, and spirituality. The temple’s remarkable history dates back to the 10th or 11th century and is associated with a unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist influences. This article delves into the temple’s historical significance, architectural brilliance, and its annual festivities that continue to attract devotees from across the world.

Introduction :

Kadri Manjunath Temple stands as an iconic structure in the bustling city of Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Its historical importance is reflected in its age-old architecture, tales of emperors and inscriptions, and its continued relevance as a place of worship. This article seeks to uncover the layers of history and spirituality that make Kadri Manjunath Temple a unique and enduring site.

Historical Significance :

The temple dedicated to Manjunatheshwara has its roots in the 10th or 11th century. While its original structure dates back to that period, it underwent a transformation into a complete stone temple in the 14th century. The temple’s history can be traced through inscriptions and artifacts, making it an essential site for historical enthusiasts.

The centerpiece of the temple is a bronze idol of Lokeshwar, standing at about 5 feet in height, making it one of the oldest South Indian temples. It boasts an inscription dated 968 A.D. (or 1068 A.D.) engraved on its pedestal. This inscription, attributed to King Kundavarma of the Alupa Dynasty, narrates the installation of the Lokeshwara idol in Kadarika Vihara and mentions Mangalore as “Mangalapura.” This striking idol has three faces and six arms, with a detailed crown depicting a Dhyani Buddha.

A stone inscription in Tulu, Kannada, and Malayalam scripts dating from the 12th to 13th century A.D. found in the temple’s kitchen further attests to the involvement of the local rulers and landlords in contributing land to the temple. The temple’s rich history is also detailed in the 1730 A.D. text, Kadli Manjunath Mahatmyam, which recounts its association with Natha Mantha.

Mythological Roots :

Kadri Manjunath Temple is steeped in mythological significance. According to legend, Parashurama, residing in the Sahyadri mountains, sought a place for his penance. He prayed to Lord Shiva for a suitable location and was promised that Shiva would reincarnate as Manjunatha for the betterment of the world. Lord Parashurama created the site by throwing his axe into the sea. As a result, Lord Shiva, accompanied by Goddess Parvathi, took residence at Kadri, leading to the formation of the seven Theerthas, in accordance with Manjunatha’s instructions.

Buddhist and Hindu Heritage :

Kadri Manjunath Temple is a unique fusion of both Buddhist and Hindu legacies. Buddhism was practiced in this region until the 10th century AD, and after the decline of Buddhism, devotion to Manjusri and Avalokiteshvara continued. The temple’s Nath cult embraced Buddhism and Tantric Shiva tradition, leading to the transformation of many Buddhist temples into Hindu places of worship. King Kundavarma’s inscription provides evidence of this transformation, as he was a devotee of Shiva and not Buddha. This complex history reveals how Kadri Manjunath Temple encapsulates diverse religious traditions.

Architectural Splendor :

The temple’s architecture follows the Dravidian style and features a Shiva linga as the chief deity. However, the highlight is the bronze statue of Lokeshwara, standing at 1.5 meters in height. It is renowned as one of India’s finest bronze statues, featuring exceptional craftsmanship. The temple’s natural spring, Gomukha, is believed to receive water from the Bhageerathi River in Kashi (Varanasi), hence its name as Kashi Bhageerathi Theertha. The water flows into nine adjacent ponds where visitors ritually cleanse themselves before entering the temple.

Annual Festivities :

Kadri Manjunath Temple comes alive during its annual Jathra Mahotsava, held in January. The festival spans nine days, commencing on Makara Sankranti. A procession of the Malaraya Daiva’s bhandara (divine symbol) is a prominent feature, and offerings are made in the kadri kambla. The festival includes a theertha snana, dwajasthambha arohana, the lighting of kanchi sthambha, and bali uthsava. Four days of uthsava bali follow the mass feeding and celebrations.

Savari Bali is held over four days, with Lord Manjunatha visiting various kattas in different directions, each with its unique significance.

The Maha Rathotsava, or chariot festival, is a grand spectacle during the festival. Devotees from all over the world gather to witness the event.

The festivities conclude with the Avabritha Snana day, featuring thulabhara seve, Avabritha snana, Chandramandalotsava, and Dhwaja arohana.

A unique highlight of the temple’s annual celebration is the Malaraya Daiva Nemotsava. This special event pays tribute to Malaraya Daiva, the right servant, and Anappa Daiva, the left servant of Lord Manjunatha. The procession of the bhandara from the temple to Kadri Hills marks the beginning of the Nemotsava, where rituals are held in the daivasthana for Malaraya and Bhanta Daiva. The bhandara eventually returns to its original location in G.K House Kadri Kambla, where it was originally brought from.

Cultural programs, guided by Sudhakar Rao Pejawar and Mallika Kala Vrinda, complement the religious festivities. These events showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region and add vibrancy to the celebrations.

Delicious meals, or anna prasadham, are provided to all devotees during the Jathra Mahotsava. The temple’s daily routine includes various rituals such as Maha pooja, Uthsava bali, Nithya bali, and Bhootha bali, which are observed with great devotion.

Conclusion :

Kadri Manjunath Temple is not just a place of worship; it is a living testament to the confluence of history, spirituality, and tradition. Its unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist influences, its historical inscriptions, and the annual Jathra Mahotsava make it a remarkable pilgrimage site in Karnataka. For centuries, the temple has attracted devotees from across the world, all seeking the blessings of Lord Manjunatha and the vibrant cultural experiences that accompany this timeless tradition.

Editor – Kaalchakra Team

[ Note – Before Concluding anything as a Finale, Please Go through Original Scriptures of Vaidik Literature Written in Sanskrit and Also with Meaning of That time of Language. Because English is a Limited language to Explaining the Deeper Knowledge of Vaidik Kaal. ]