Nanjangud is situated on the right bank of the river Kapila or Kabini, one of the tributaries of the Cauvery River. Nanjangud, also known as Garalapuri, is famous because of the huge Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple. The name Nanjunda is explained as Shiva who had partaken Halahala or poison and it is this Nanjunda who became Vishakanta or Shrikanta by digesting it. Thus the deity is called Nanjundeswara and Srikanteshwara. He is also described as one who cures diseases of his devotees.
The Muslim ruler Hyder Ali Khan had strong faith in God Nanjunda called him as ‘Hakim Nanjunda’ as his beloved elephant’s eye aliment was cured by administering the holy water (theertha) from the temple. He has donated an emerald necklace to the God. This place is called the Dakskina Kashi or Varanasi of the South.
Both Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan had close associations with this temple.
According to the Mythology Sage Gauthama installed a Linga, the idol form of Shiva. Nearby the town is the Sangam, where the Kapila and the Gundlu rivers join, there is a spot is called “Parashurama Kshetra” that Parashurama said to have had himself expiated for the sin of beheading his mother in a stream called Churnavati joining Gundlu or Kaundinya River. Parashurama temple, shrines of Maruthi and a newly built Basaveshvara temple are some important places to visit.
The huge Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple was built by the Gangas in the 19th century. The temples has many minor shrines like the Narayana with consorts, Chandikeswara, Parvathi, Natya Ganapath and others. There are many lingas, mantapa, vahanas (carriages) Uthsava Murthis (idols used during procession).
The nine-storied tall Gopura or tower is ascribed to the queen of the Mysore kings, Devarajammanni, wife of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1849). The 120ft tower boasts of stucco images, decorations, 7 gold kalashas each 3 meters tall exhibiting the Dravidian architecture.
Another important centre in Nanjangud is the Raghavendra Math, situated on the road to the right of the Nanjundeswara temple. It was founded by the close of 15th century and great gurus or heads like Sudheendra Thirtha and RaghavendraThirtha headed this institution. It has a fine collection of Sanskrit manuscripts and copper plates.
A popular variety of banana locally known as Nanjungud Rasabaley has also made Nanjangud famous all over the region.
Car Festival / Chariot Festival
The Rathotsava or the car festival of Nanjundeswara, the ‘big Jathra’ (big car festival), a ‘chikka Jathra’ (small car festival are some of the festival celebrated in grandour in this place. During this time cultural programmes, illumination of the temple, a colorful floating festival (Theppotsava) are conducted.
The chariot festival is held twice every year. The traditional pujas are offered to five idols in different chariots namely Lord Nanjundeshwara, Lord Ganapathi, Lord Subramanya, Lord Chandikeshwara and Goddess Parvathi. After the puja many devotees pull the Chariots through the city of Mysore.
Nanjungud Temple Timings
- Weekdays: 6.00 a.m. to 1.30 p.m & 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
- Sunday: 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.
How to reach Nanjungud
- Distance: From Bangalore 163 kms, Mysore 27 kms
- Nearest Town: Chamarajnagar
- Nearest Railway Station: Nanjungud
- Nearest Airport: Mysore Airport