A temple dedicated to Vishweshwara or Lord Shiva, the Yellur Shri Vishweshwara Temple (Mahathobhara Shri Vishweshwara Temple or Yelluru Vishweshwara Temple). It is situated in the small village of Yellur in the Udupi district of Karnataka. The temple is over 1000 years old and has been mentioned in 12 rock diktats.
Yelluru Shri Vishweshwara Temple: An Overview
The Yellur Shri Vishweshwara Temple is situated at the boundary of Yellur, and is the epicenter of worship for devotees from Yellur, as well as the neighboring villages of Belapu, Kunjoor, Kuthyar, Maniyoor, Nandikoor, Adve, Santoor and Padoor. The devotees pay their respect to Lord Vishwanatha by offering tender coconut Abhishekam, lighting earthen lamps with coconut oil, and proffering gold coins (pawan).
While the temple is mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva, there are also separate shrines for Lord Vinayaka and Goddess Annapoorneshwari. Besides, there’s a small Bhagirathi temple attached to a lake on the northern side of the main temple. There’s a belief that the Ganga once flowed from this lake.
One striking attraction of the Mahathobhara Shri Vishwanatha Temple is its classical Devaayathana style of architecture, which makes it a perfect living model of the great architectural style of the bygone era. Although the temple has recently undergone large-scale renovation, utmost care has been taken to retain the charm of that classical architecture.
The temple particularly draws a huge crowd during November-December when it wears a breathtakingly divine look in the golden glow of one lakh earthen lamps lit to commemorate Laksha Deepotsava, a festival of one lakh glowing lamps.
Quick Facts about Yellur Shri Vishweshwara
- Main deity: Lord Shiva
- Best time to visit: November-December (during Lakshadeeepothsava)
- Temple timings: 5 am to 1 pm, and 4 pm to 8 pm
- Entry fee: Free
- Address: Belpu, Yellur Post, Udupi District – 574113 (MAP)
Yellur Shri Vishweshwara Temple- The Legends
The Mahathobhara Shri Vishweshwara Temple is as ancient as the Puranic legend associated with the temple. It is believed that a Sudra king of the Kuthyar Dynasty, Kunda Raja had once invited Bhargava Muni to his kingdom. But the sage dismissed the invitation on grounds of the absence of temples, Brahmins, sacred rivers and the holy plant Tulsi (holy basil) in the kingdom.
Hurt and disappointed by Bhargava Muni’s rejection, Kunda Raja let the responsibility of his kingdom with his deputy and set out to the bank of the holy river Ganga to perform a great sacrament for invoking Lord Shiva. The Lord, pleased by the king’s devotion, appeared before Kunda Raja and asked him to make a wish. The king requested the Lord to stay in his kingdom, to which Lord Shiva readily agreed.
The origin of the name – Yellur
Sometimes later, a hungry tribal woman, who was searching for her lost son in the forest, chanced upon a plump tuber. As soon as she placed the first blow on the tuber with her sword, the tuber began to bleed. Horrified that she must have mistaken her son for a tuber, the woman began to cry “Yellu” (name of her son). At that very moment, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of the Linga. That’s how the place got its name Yellur. It is also said that the mark of the wound is still visible on the Linga.
Beliefs are that the tuber stopped bleeding only after Kunda Raja and his subject had poured tender coconut water on it. This is the reason why it is a ritual among the devotees thronging the temple to offer coconut water to the deity. Beside coconut water, the devotees also offer coconut oil to the Lord. This oil is used to keep the lamps in the temple burning inexhaustibly.
Yellur Shri Vishweshwara Temple Temple: The Sevas
Although a number of services are offered at the temple, the four main Sevas are:
- Shatarudrabhisheka: A ritual performed by devotes during auspicious occasions.
- Hoovina Puja: A special puja with flowers.
- Teertha Snana: Holy bath.
- Yeleneeru Abhishekam and Yeleneeru Tulabhara: This is the most popular Seva in the temple wherein the devotees offer tender coconut equivalent to his/her own weight to Lord Shiva. As a mark of respect to Lord Shiva, the devotees are strictly barred from drinking tender coconut water in and around the temple.
Nearby Sightseeing and Things to Do
Visit the temple during festivals – The temple is a must-visit during the festivals like Lakshadeeepothsava, Shiv Ratri, Deepawali, Ganesh Chaturthi and Nava Ratri. The temple wears festive attire during these festivals as thousands of devotees flock the temple. It bears an eclectic vibe of deep devotion and colorful festive cheers during these special occasions.
Revel at the Malpe Beach – A part of the Kodavoor village, Malpe is a natural port and an important fishing harbor situated at the mouth of the Udyavara River. Only 6 km from the Temple, this lovely beach is not to be missed during the temple visit.
Drive to the Kapu Beach – If you are paying a visit to the Yellur Shri Vishweshwara Temple, make sure you drive another 10 km from Yellur after paying your obeisance to Lord Vishwanatha to reach the beautiful Kapu Beach. The place is known for its lighthouse, its historical fort built by Tippu Sultan, and of course for its three Mariamma Temples.
Visit the Shri Krishna Math – Being at Udupi and missing a visit to the nearby Shri Krishna Matha would almost be a sacrilege. The property of the temple resembles an ashram, a holy dwelling for devotion and devotees. There are several ancient temples around the Matha, the oldest one being 1500 years old, made of stone and wood.
How to Reach Yyellur Shri Vishweshwara Ttemple
Udupi is the nearest railway station (15 km from the temple). Visitors may also get down at the Mangalore Railway Station (42 km from the temple) and take a bus to Udupi, or hire a cab from there.
Yellur is only 4 km from the National Highway 66. The KSRTC, as well as private bus operators, run frequent buses between Mangalore and Udupi. If you plan to start your journey from Bangalore, board a bus from the city to Udupi (403 km), which takes around eight and half hours of travel. From Udupi, catch an auto to Yellur (8 km). Alternatively, one may take one’s private vehicle or reserve a paid cab from Bangalore, which will take around five and half hours of traveling.