In India, there are many superstitions and myths associated with cats. But people from Bekkalale, a village consider the cat as a form of a goddess Mangamma and worship the felines with utmost reverence. The village is in Maddur Taluk, Mandya.
Bekkalale, Mangamma and the Legend that Makes a Feline Divine
Located 35 kms from Mandya, on the banks of the River Shimsha, the natives from the village have three to four temples devoted to worship the cat, which they believe is a form of the goddess Mangamma.
According to their belief, goddess Mangamma protected their village from evils and dangers, by living amongst them in the form of a cat. She appeared before their ancestors in her feline form, leaving them amazed. After showing them her heavenly powers, she vanished from their presence, and strangely an anthill appeared exactly in the same place. The legend could probably be the reason why the village is named after ‘bekku’, which means ‘cat’ in Kannada.
Since cats are treated with utmost respect, if the residents notice ill-treatment of cats anywhere in the village the perpetrators are caught and punished. If anyone comes across cat carcass anywhere within the village’s vicinity, they should take the responsibility to bury it respectfully.
As true devotees of goddess Mangamma, the people of Bekkalale celebrate the Mangamma festival with joy and gaiety. The local astrologers find out the most auspicious day to conduct the festival, and the festivities go on for two to three days. It’s been over three years since the last festival was held, and the folks cannot wait for another one!
Manggammana Temple, Shivantrayana Temple, Hampapuradamma Temple, Marammana Temple and Kariyappana gudi are some of them temples situated nearby.
Other Temples near Bekkalale
Take a look at some of the famous temples in and around the village:
Sri Madduramma Temple
Located in Huskur, around 27 kms from Bekkalale, this temple is dedicated to the deity Madduramma. It is one of the oldest temples in the area, which originated during the reign of the Chola kings. The annual festival is celebrated in March/ April.
Sri Ugra Narasimha Swamy Temple
This is a 500 year old temple dedicated to Ugra Narasimha. It located very close to the national highway and is easily accessible from the village (Just 28 kms away)
Sri Hole Anjaneya Swamy Temple
Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this temple is located on the banks of the River Shimsha, 28 kms away from Bekkalale and 3kms from Madduru. Not only do you find the temple peaceful, the lush greenery and the calm river gives the temple a very serene feel.
Sri Varadaraja Swamy Temple
Legend has it that this temple was built 1000 years ago by King Vishnuvardhana. It is dedicated to Lord Vardaraja, and is located 29 kilometers from the village. The temple is just a 5 minutes walk from the bus stand and is open every morning and evening. Tirumanjanam is performed by a priest on the first Sunday of every month.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple was built on the Yadavagiri Hills, and became famous during the rule of the Wodeyars. There are many legends associated with this temple, one of them being the story of how a lost idol was found by Sri Ramanujacharya. This temple is located 49 kilometers from the village
How to Reach Bekkalale
The nearest airport is located in Mysuru, which is at a distance of 84 kms from Bekkalale. You can also visit Bekkalale via Kempegowda International Airport located in Bengaluru, which is roughly 110 kilometers from the village.
The closest railway station to Bekkalale is Nidaghatta Railway Station, which is at a distance of 10 kms. You can take a cab from this station and visit the village.
Madduru, Mandya and Malavalli are some of the closest towns near Bekkalale. These roads are connected to Bengaluru, Mysuru and other cities. You could also use public transport to reach the village, without any hassle.