Temple: Shri Guru Kottureshwara Temple
The Shri Guru Kottureshwara Temple, dedicated to Saint Kottureshwara, is a renowned temple situated in the Bellary district in Karnataka. Every year people throng to this temple to get blessings. This is one of the ancient temples in South India and lies 19 km away from Kudligi, a quaint village in Karnataka.
Shri Guru Kottureshwara Temple – History
The temple of Shri Guru Kottureshwara has four shrines (Muttas) which can be classified as per the below details:
- Darbar Mutta or Doda Mutta – The big shrine or the king’s assembly. In this shrine, Lord Kottureshwara solved the problems of the people.
- Murkal Mutta – Lord Nandi first descended and settled down in this shrine or Mutta.
- Gachina Mutta – Lord Kottureshwara meditated in this shrine and reached Lord Shiva.
- Thotal Mutta – The Lord blessed his devotee in this Mutta, who immediately had a child.
In the outskirts of Kottur there is a temple of Kotturamma or Goddess Parvati. She is neither the consort nor is related to Lord Kottureshwara. This temple is maintained by the Karnam family in Kottur.
Shri Guru Kottureshwara Temple – Mythology
The place Kotturu has been named after the saint Guru Kottureshwara. In the ancient times when the Veerashaiva and other backward religions were under threat, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati sent Nandi the bull to Shikapura/Sarasipura (now known as Kottur) to protect these people. Lord Nandi decided to come to earth in the guise of an ascetic. People referred to Saint Nandi as Kottureshwara. In Kannada, Kotu means to give and Ishwar refers to Lord Shiva.
Lord Nandi first reached earth in the guise of an untidy saint and settled in the Markal Mutta in Sarasipura (now known as Kottur). Initially people started troubling the saint by throwing stones and using abusive words. However, all those who troubled the saint were blinded by the Lord. The people realized their mistake and bowed down in front of the saint.
This incident made Saint Kottureshwara famous and people used to visit him to find solutions to their problems. One such myth is that a boy lost his buffalo and came to visit the saint. The saint kept his hand on the dead buffalo’s head and the buffalo came to life. This incident spread like wild fire and more and more people came to visit the saint.
Shri Guru Kottureshwara Temple – Festivals
One of the most famous festivals is held in the month of February just before Maha Shivratri. This is the Rathotsava or the Guru Kottureshwara Theru festival in which the Lord is kept inside a palanquin or Ratha and the tribal people of the region serve him milk.
The Ratha moves at a specific time on that particular day and this time depends on the time at which a particular Nakshatra or a star matches the Mula (astrology). This Ratha moves on its own a bit which signifies the presence of Lord Kottureshwara. After the Ratha moves on its own, devotees start pulling it and many offer garlands, coconuts and bananas to the Lord.
On the day of Rathotsava, devotees are given prasadam which is in the form of dana. Another festival known as Karthikotsava is held in December every year. The temple is decorated with diyas for a period of six weeks, making the whole shrine brightly glow.
How to Get to Shri Guru Kottureshwara Temple
The temple of Shri Guru Kottureshwara is best accessible by road. This shrine is situated 253 km from Bangalore and hence the nearest international airport is Bangalore airport. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (K.S.R.T.C) operates regular overnight bus services from Bangalore to Kottur so that devotees can visit this shrine. The nearest railhead is Harihar.
You’ll need to take a bus from Harihar to Kottur to reach this temple town. People may come from nearby areas like Davangere (129 km drive), Hagaribommanahalli (28 km drive) and Kudligi (19 km drive).