Monday 24 December 2012

The clothed Ganapathi

It is one of the oldest shrines in Udupi district. It was once one of the 365 temples in Bakrur near Udupi. But today though not many temples survive, the Batte Vinayaka Temple is among the three dozens that have survived the ravages of time.
The temple is unique and it attracts a large number of people. As the name itself suggests, it is Known as Batte or cloth Ganapathi. The deity in the temple faces north and it always wears a piece of clothe around its waist.
Apart from the clothe, the Ganapathi is encircled with small bells around the waist and it has pleated hair. The idol is found to be leaning towards the West.
Every day,  owners and drivers of vehicles  visit the temple to seek the blessings of  Ganapathi. There is a belief  that if  Ganesha gives his blessings, nothing will happen to the vehicle.
The temple is believe to have been built earlier to the Alpua rulers who ruled Barkur. The Alupas were powerful feudatories of the Chalukyas of Badami and they built several temples here.
Another unique feature is that there are five foot prints on a rock in front of the temple. This temple was never locked for centuries but since the last three years, the temple management is locking the doors of the structure as a precautionary measure.
There is another Ganapathi temple nearby called the Bairagi Ganapathi Temple at Chowlikeri. This temple was constructed by the Cholas.
This temple too has an interesting story. There was a beautiful tower in front of the Bairagi Ganapathi Temple. It is so called as the idol was installed by a Bairagi or mendicant. It would sound the gong twice a day-once at noon and another time during the night. The sound can no longed be heard as a truck hit the tower, making it lose its tryst with time.
Another temple is the Rathnagarbha Ganapathi at Ranganakere, three kms from Barkur towards Mandarthi. This temple was bult by the Alupa rulers along with a small pond known as “Rathna Kere”.
Locals say this Ganapathi had treasures in his belly. It was broken by a thief and taken away, leaving the idol mutilated. It was this story that led to the saying, “Ee Oorina Odeyana Hiriya Magana Koralu Muridu Karulu Bagedu Nodu”. (Break open the throat and  stomach of the elder son (Ganapathi) of the Lord of this village).
The Channa Keshava Temple here is also in ruins and miscreants have dug it up at several places in search of treasure.
Barkur is well connected to both Udupi and Mangalore and of course Honnavara.  

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