281 km north of Mangalore is a small village by the name of Sodhe. It is also known as Sodha, Sonda and Swadi. This village is special because it is the headquarters of the Sodhe Matha. The Sodhe Matha is part of the Ashta mathas set up by Sri Madhvacharya.
This Matha was established by a Dvaita saint, Sri Vadiraja. It is believed that at the age of 120 years, the saint entered Samadhi alive from this matha. His mortal remains are enshrined in the matha.
Quick Facts about Sodhe Vadiraja Matha
- Basic accommodation is available at the Matha. If you prefer home-stays, Sirsi is a good place to halt.
- Devotees are expected to dress traditionally.
- You cannot enter the temple complex wearing any kind of footwear.
- Complimentary lunch and dinner are served to the pilgrims at 11 am and 7.30 pm respectively.
- Tea and snacks are available at a nearby hotel.
- Website: https://sodematha.in/
- Address: Sode Vadiraja Mutt, Sonda, Sirsi Taluk, Uttar Kannada
- Sonda – 581336 (MAP)
Sri Vadiraja Mutt
Sri Vadiraja Mutt was born in a village called Hoovenakere in the Kundapura district in 1480. At birth, he was named Bhuvaraha. At the age of 8 years, he was ordained and given the name, Vadirajatirtha. He was placed under the tutelage of Vidyanidhi Tirtha and Vagisha Tirtha. He was a gifted writer, poet, debater and mystic.
After completing his studies, he began a tour around India to propagate the Dvaita Siddhanta. This pilgrimage lasted two decades wherein he traveled from place to place spreading the Dvaita philosophy and visiting pilgrimage sites. A number of miracles have been attributed to Sri Vadiraja Mutt while he was one this tour. This includes the exorcism of demons and resurrections of the dead.
He captured an account of this pilgrimage in the form of a Sanskrit travelogue, Tirthaprabandha. It was around the same time that he established the Sodhe Matha. He spent the remainder of his life instituting ecclesiastical and liturgical reforms at the Matha.
Sodhe Matha Layout
A lake known as the Hayagriva Samudra is located just outside the matha. To the west of the lake, visitors can see the Dhwaja Stamba with depictions of the Hamsa and Garuda in front of the Rama Thrivikrama temple. This is the first stage of the matha. Accommodation for devotees on a first come first serve basis is also available on this level.
Ahead of this, on the second stage, are the Rajangana and the matha offices. This is the main entrance to the matha. Two wells known as the Antaraganga and Sheetalaganga are on this level. The kitchen and dining hall are also on this stage.
The Dhavala Ganga tank and Sheethala Ganga tank are set on the lowest stage. It is believed that the water in these tanks is a confluence of water from all the holy rivers across India. A number of smaller shrines are located around the tanks. The Pancha Vrindavans are located to the east of these tanks.
Four Vrindavans representing the presence of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Vayu form a perfect square with Sri Vadiraja Teertha’s Vrindavan in the center. A stone inscription of the Anuvrindavanakhyana can be seen beside Sri Vadiraja Teertha’s Vrindavan. The Sri Vedavyasa temple is located opposite this. In the north is Naga Vana and on the right is the Bhootharaja Temple. Further, towards the east, are tombs of ten holy seers.
The Trivikrama Temple
It is believed that when Vadiraja was in Badari, he met with Acharya Madhva and Vedavyasa. He expressed a wish to dedicate a temple to Lord Trivikrama and asked them to give him a suitable idol.
The local chieftain, Arasappa Nayaka, was asked to construct this temple. When the temple was ready, Vadiraja sent Bhutaraja to fetch the idol from Badari. On his way back, Bhutaraja was attacked by demons and he was forced to use one of the chariot’s wheels to fight them off. For this reason, the chariot in Sri Trivikrama temple’s sanctum sanctorum has only 3 wheels.
A statue of Trivikrama is installed in the inner shrine. A status of Goddess Lakshmi is also housed here. Figures of many other deities have been craved on the stone mantapa in the temple. The stone pillar that can be seen from the lake is just in front of the temple.
A temple dedicated to Bhootharaja is something every pilgrim visits in Sodhe Vadiraja Matha. The temple is dedicated to a ghost named Narayana Bhuta who served Vadiraja faithfully. There is an interesting story about how he came to serve Vadiraja.
According to legends, Narayanacharya was a very intelligent but ill-mannered discipline of Vadiraja. One day, Vadiraja cursed him to become a type of ghost known as Brahma-pishachi. The ghost form of Narayanacharya then started haunting the forest near Hampi.
He troubled wayfarers by asking them a riddle and harassing them when they could not answer it. One day, when Vadiraja was passing through that forest, he was asked the same riddle. After Vadiraja answered the riddle correctly, Narayanacharya began serving him.
He continued to do so for the rest of his life. According to the traditions followed in the temple, when a pilgrim visits Sodhe Vadiraja Matha he must offer a coconut at this temple.
5 km from the matha on the banks of the river Shalmala is the Tapovana. This is where Sri Vadiraja meditated while staying at Sodhe. According to popular legends, he prepared a sweet delicacy known as “Hayagreeva” or muddy with chana dal, jaggery, ghee and almonds. He would hold a tray containing this on his head as he meditated.
It is believed that Lord Vishnu would appear in the form of a white horse. Place his forelegs on Vadiraja’s shoulders and eat the dish. He would leave a little behind as Prasad. The Tapovana is a very serene place and is open to visitors throughout the year except during the monsoons.
How To Reach Sonda?
At a distance of 109km, the Hubbali Airport in Hubli is the closest airport to Sodhe Vadiraja Matha. You may take a bus from here or drive down by car/taxi.
The Hubbali Junction in Hubli is the closest major railway junction. You may take a bus from here or drive down by car/taxi.
Sodhe is well connected by road to most of the major cities. There are a number of buses that ply regularly from Bangalore. Alternatively, you can drive down in your own car or in a taxi.