Temple: Sree Venkataramana Temple, Karkala
Sree Venkataramana Temple
Sree Venkataramana Temple is in Karkala Town, Katkala Taluq, Udupi District, in Karnataka.
Sree Venkataramana Temple – Overview
Sree Karkala Venkataramana Temple is known as Padu Tirupati or western Tirupati. Dedicated to Lord Srinivasa, a form of Lord Vishnu, this temple is a major pilgrimage center, especially important to Gaud Saraswat Brahmins. This temple is considered equivalent to Tirupati, and deity is known as Srinivasa or Venkataramana, just like in Tirupati.
Sree Venkataramana Temple – History
The Gaud Saraswat Brahmins (GSB) emigrated from Goa to Karnataka after the Portuguese invaded Goa. They came to Karnataka in the 14th century, when this region was ruled by Jain Bhairarasa Odeyars. The rulers welcomed these Brahmin and gifted them land to continue their traditional profession as farmers. Karkala was then called Pandya Nagari. The GSB community settled in various places in Karnataka and Kerala during this time.
A family of this community brought the idol of Sree Venkataramana with them. They requested permission from the Jain King to build a temple to house this idol. The king gave them permission and also gifted land to them. A lady who was living in a part of the land was also requested to give up her claim to the land in favor of the temple. This lady gave them permission on condition that the four Shivaganas she had worshipped should continue to be honored and worshipped regularly just as had been done traditionally. This was readily agreed to and the temple was built. Lord Venkataramana was installed there.
The Second Lord Venkataramana
One day, Soma Sharma, who was also a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin and also a priest at Tirupati, came back with a special gift. It was another Lord Venkataramana idol, gifted to him by priests at Thirumala. With due ceremony, this was also installed at the temple. Unfortunately, some years later, dacoits started plaguing this area and looted temple treasures. The Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, afraid for their temple, ran away with the two idols and temple ornaments. They came to a place called Mulki and hid the idols and ornaments in a well there.
One day a Mulki resident saw something glittering in the well. He climbed down and discovered the second Venkataramana idol. The people of the village were happy about this as they though the Lord had come to reside with them they decided to install the idol in the Veera Vittala temple. When the GSB community heard of this and came to recover their idol, they found it already installed in another temple. They were saddened. But the Lord appeared in a dream to them and assured them that he would come to live with them again in an idol that would be brought to their place by a hermit.
The Return of the Lord
After a few decades, a hermit came to Karkala. He was welcomed hospitably by the people and given a place to stay.
The lord appeared in a dream to the GSB priests and told them that he had come with this hermit as promised. He also appeared in the Hermit’s dream and told him to give the idol to the temple and stay on here. The Hermit gladly agreed to the Lord’s wishes, but had one request. He wanted the offering given to this temple to be taken to Thirumala occasionally, and the idol to be taken every year. This was agreed to. Then this new idol was also installed in the Padu Tirupati Sree Venkataramana Temple.
How to Get to Venkataramana Temple, Karkala
Mangalore, 70 km away is the nearest airport and Indrali station in Udupi the nearest Railway Station. Karkala is well connected by road to Bangalore and Mangalore, so it is easy to get buses to Karkala from most cities in Karnataka
Best time to Visit Venkataramana Temple Karkala
The major festival here is the Vanabhojana when the temple Utsava idols are taken out in procession and a festival is held in a place near Bhuvanendra College. The idols are kept facing Tirupati, in a symbolic fulfillment of the hermit’s wishes. This takes place during November-December.
The annual six day Rathotsava is held in honor of Lord Srinivasa during April-May.
Sree Venkataramana Temple – Facts
- As the idols are traditionally held to be forms of Lord Srinivasa of Tirupati, all the temple traditions of Tirupati are followed here.
- The temple receives income from lands and houses donated by devotes. Many devotees make regular contributions are give funds to the temple on occasions.
- The temple runs a few Educational institutions in the area including S.V.T Higher primary School, S.V.T Girls P. U. College, and Shri Venkataramana Women’s (First Grade) college.