A tiny village lying in the district of Udupi in the state of Karnataka in India, Yellur is a place of historical importance as it houses the famous Shiva temple which is believed to be more than a 1000 years old. So, if you are a person in love with history, who craves to visit places that boast of our country’s rich heritage and culture, this is a must see place for you.
The place lies in the Kudremukh National Park and is covered in acres of lush green forests, plantations and fertile fields. The soil is perfect for planting crops. For those of you who have a thirst for adventure and who love nature, this is a place to be. The village also houses the Udupi Thermal Power Station. This coal-based power station was set up by acquiring Yellur and the areas surrounding it. Tulu is the official language of this place.
Yellur – The legend behind its name
According to the Puranas, a shudra king, Kunda Raja, known for his integrity, requested Bhargava Muni to stay for a while in his kingdom. The invitation was refused on the basis that there were no temples, sacred rivers, brahmins or tulsi. The King felt dejected and set off to the banks of the sacred river Ganga where he did penance to please Shiva, the Hindu god. Pleased with the King’s devotion, Shiva appears and granted him a wish. The King requested Shiva to stay in his kingdom. The wish was granted to the King and Shiva also said that this place would be free from hatred and enmity and thus Yellur became one of his favorite abodes.
Meanwhile, a poor woman, who recently buried her son, was hunting food in the jungle. She accidentally lands upon a tuber which she tried to remove. In the effort, she had cut the tuber from which blood started oozing out. She thought that was her son ‘Yellu’and started screaming. Shiva appeared to her there in the form of linga. That’s how the place got its name Yellu– Ur.
Legend also says that when King Kunda Raja and his men poured coconut water on the tuber it stopped bleeding. The famous Vishweshwara temple was built in this place. The devotees visiting this temple offer tender coconuts to be blessed by Lord Shiva. Oil from tender coconuts is also being offered regularly to ensure that the lamps in the temple never go out and to invoke blessings.
Yellur Shri Vishweshwara Temple
This temple built in the 11th century A.D is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is also called Vishweshwara and goes by the name Yellur Shri Vishweshwara Temple. Mahathobhara Shri Vishweshwara Temple is another name by which this temple is addressed. Over 1000 years old, this temple is situated on the border of the village and is the central place of worship for many pilgrims and devotees from Yellur, its surrounding areas, from neighboring districts and all over the country. This temple is famous for its tender coconut abhishekam by which devotees and pilgrims pay their respects to Vishweshwara. Offering Pawan or gold coins and lighting earthen lamps using coconut oil are the other rituals done here to please Lord Shiva.
This temple also has separate shrines for goddess Annapoorneshwari and Lord Vinayaka. A lake lies on the northern side of this temple and attached to this lake is a small temple dedicated to Bhagirathi. A belief attached to this lake is that river Ganga used to flow from here.
This temple is a living proof of the glory of the bygone era. The style of architecture of this temple is one of its major attractions. This temple has been built using the Devaayathana style of architecture and though it has undergone renovations over the years the authorities have always given enough care and attention to retain its classical charm. The awe-inspiring structures within the temple continue to attract lovers of archaeology and history from all over the world.
The Laksha Deepotsava is a festival where this temple is covered with one lakh earthen lamps that are lighted and the glow that surrounds is divine. This festival held during November and December attracts pilgrims and tourists alike from all over. Besides Laksha Deepotsava, Navrathri, Ganesh Chathurthi, Shiva Rathri, and Deepawali also attract pilgrims.
Sightseeing in and around Yellur
Kudremukh National Park
Kudremukh National Park was established for the protection of endangered species of wild animals like the tiger and lion-tailed macaque. Covered in mountain ranges, rivers, evergreen forests and a variety of fauna and flora, this is a must see place for any nature and animal lover. The months from October to February are the best time to visit this place.
Shri Krishna Math
Lying at a distance of fewer than 30 kilometres from the Shri Krishna Math in Udupi is a must see place. This holy place is an ashram where a number of devotees reside in. This Math houses several temples that are ancient and the oldest one made out of wood and stone is more than 1500 years old.
Kapu beach is famous for its historical light house, a fort built by Tipu Sultan. The beach by itself is known for its beauty and lies at a distance of 10 kilometers from the village. There are also three Mariamman temples close by which are worth visiting.
Situated at a distance of 6 kilometers from Yellur, Malpe is a well-known fishing harbor and a natural port. Laying on the banks of river Udyavara this place is also worth visiting if you are here.
How to reach Yellur?
The nearest airport is the Mangalore Airport which lies at a distance of 40 kilometers. If you are coming to Bangalore you can take a direct flight to Mangalore and hire a cab from there.
The Udupi Railway Station is 15 kilometers from this tiny village. One may get down here or at the Mangalore Railway Station which is at a distance of 43 kilometers from Yellur and take a bus or hire a cab.
There are both KSRTC buses and Private buses that run frequently between Mangalore and Udupi. One can also take a bus from Bangalore to Udupi and the distance is around 403 kilometers and requires nearly 9 hours of travel. You can hire an auto rickshaw or a cab from Udupi to Yellur. Another option would be to hire a cab from Bangalore or Mangalore or travel by your own private vehicle.