Located in the Kolluru region of the Udaipur District of Karnataka State in India, Mookambika Temple is dedicated to Mother Goddess Sri Mookambika Devi, and also the full name of this temple is Mother Goddess Sri Mookambika Devi Temple. One of the most attractive temples of India positioned on the west coast of Karnataka, and it is located on the banks of the Sauparnika River. This temple is counted as one of the most significant religious places for Hindus, and it is made with a gold-plated crest and copper roofs. Mookambika Mata is known to be the manifestation of Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi, and Shakti, and the very unique thing about this temple is that it is a combination of both Shiva and Shakti. Devi Mookambika had a conch in her hands seated on the lion, with the divine disc, four arms, and three eyes, and at this Mookambika Temple, the main deity is the Lingam, which is known as Jyothirlingam. There are a total of seven Muktistala pilgrimage centers across India, and Kolluru, Karnataka is one among them, and the rest of them are listed below:
This article provides an insightful overview of this temple along with its history, popular legendary stories related to it, timings, and Poojas & Rituals performed in the temple.
Mookambika Temple: History
There are many legends behind the formation of this temple, and among them, only one or two is the most popular among devotees. According to a popular legendary story behind the formation of this temple, there was a demon that lived in this region long ago, and he was so powerful that everyone was afraid of him. He was a very big threat to the people of that region, and the main reason behind this was that he had a boon that no one can kill him except for a woman. Therefore, to protect the people of the territory from the demon, Mother Goddess appeared and killed the demon by herself, and set all people free from his terror. Since then, the mother goddess is popularly known as Devi Mookambika, and it is also very popular saying that Lord Shiva himself built this temple for Devi Mookambika after drawing a Chakra with his toe. But, going factually, it is calculated that the temple is only more than 1200 years old which is exactly opposite to the legend described above, and even according to the history textbooks, it is described that Halugallu Veera Sangayya, a ruler of this territory at that time, had installed the idol in the temple.
Not only this, there is one more popular legendary story that is related to the origin of the Mookambika Temple, and this legend is more popular among the devotees of Goddess Saraswati. According to this popular legend, Adi Shankara, a popular ruler of that era and the Shankara Bhagavadpada, was one of the biggest followers of Goddess Saraswati, and he worshipped Mata Saraswati with a prayer, and with this prayer, he was trying to dwell her in at his native region (currently in Kerala) because there was no temple for the Goddess Saraswati. Impressed by his prayers, Mata Saraswati agreed to go with Adi Shankara but on one condition, and according to this condition, she asked him to lead her where he was intending her to be settled. But, Mata Saraswati added that wherever during the whole journey, he looks back or turns back, she would stop at that place. Adi Shankara was a youth at that time and hearing that he would be able to take Mata Saraswati with him to his native place, he was under the commotion of overfilled emotions, and therefore, he agreed with the condition of Mata Saraswati and started walking. Not only he was overfilled with emotions, but he also had the curiosity of taking the 'Goddess of Knowledge' (popular name for Mata Saraswati) with him at his place. His mind was filled with emotions and over-enthusiasm, and while they both were on their way to his native place, the young mind, in the heat of over-enthusiasm, forgot the condition proposed by Mata Saraswati. While they were midway, at Kodachadri (currently known as Kolluru), he started doubting whether the Goddess of Knowledge is still following him or not, and therefore, he stopped walking and turned back to find it out. But as Mata Saraswati already said while suggesting the condition, when he turned back, he found out that Goddess has already turned into an idol and settled there itself.
This story does not end here, and it continues till lands at Chottanikara temple in Kerala, but the story of Mookambika Temple according to this legend ends here. Although, later on, a Panchaloha prathime (a metal image made using a mixture of five elements) of the Goddess of Knowledge on Shree Chakra was consecrated by him. An idol of Panchamukha Ganesha, which is an addition to this divine attraction, is also installed there in this temple.
Mookambika Temple: Offerings and Treasures
There is a great treasure of diamonds, immense gold jewels, and many other important metals, present in this temple. Most of the items present in the treasure of the temple were the various kinds of offerings, and these offerings were made by multiple rulers to the Goddess of Temple. This temple has received many great offerings from many great rulers, and a brief description of some of them is listed below:
And, apart from the list mentioned above, there are many other important offerings made to this temple, and many other important things are still donated to this temple by the devotees from time to time.
Mookambika Temple: Regional Popularity
The temple is very popular among the people of Kerala and Tamilnadu even though the temple is positioned in the state of Karnataka. Whenever any tourist visits this holy shrine of the temple, they could see more devotees from Kerala than from any other state of India, including Karnataka.
Mookambika Temple: Best Time for Poojas
Friday is considered the best and most auspicious day of the week for doing rituals and offering Poojas to the Goddess of the Mookambika Temple. Although Friday is not the only auspicious day for doing the Pooja of Goddess, it is considered the best fit for performing any kind of ritual in the temple. Also, for tourists who are not able to make it to Friday, there are many other auspicious days as alternatives available for them for worshipping Mata Mookambika, and a list of some of these auspicious days is given below:
Among all the auspicious days listed above, Navami or Dasara is considered the most significant festival for the Mookambika Temple. Apart from these days, the auspicious time to visit and worship in the Mookambika Temple is the Karthika masa, which falls during the months of November and December, and during March, the annual car festival of the temple is celebrated normally.
Mookambika Temple: Other activities
Vijya Dashami, popularly known as Dasara, is the best and most auspicious day for the temple to begin any educational program (vidhyarambha) for children residing in and nearby the temple. There is an idol of Saraswathi Mantapa, and Snake God Sri Subrahmanya on the left side of the temple, and parents bring their children here to begin their first step of education by worshipping in this part of the temple. This is also a lovely and attractive view for all the tourists seeing little kids holding pencils and slate in their small hands, and parents keeping their children on their laps and holding a plate with rice spread over in their left hand. The parents are holding the right hand of their children trying to get written the sacred alphabet OM in Sanskrit. The rituals observed at that time, and the playful attitude & dresses of the kids are remarkable for the visitors. The inauguration of rice eating process to the child by the mother, which is popularly known as Annaprashana, is a wonderful scene and another popular event of the temple which visitors enjoy very much.
Mookambika Temple: Timings and Dress Code
Generally, the schedule of the temple is very flexible, but the time to have darshan inside the temple in the morning or evening is described below:
(1) Timings of forenoon session: 5 AM - 1 PM
(2) Timings of Night session: 3 PM - 9 PM
No major type of dress code is enforced inside the temple, but a general attire instruction for male pilgrims is that they cannot enter the inner periphery of the temple wearing lungis or hats, or shirts.