Saturday, 26 October 2013

A fish sanctuary across Cauvery

This is not only a pilgrimage centre but it also boats of a fish sanctuary. It has several temples, which were initially constructed by the Cholas and then renovated and repaired by the Hoysalas. Unfortunately, the temples are not as well known as the temples of Halebidu and Belur though this place too is located in Hasaan district.
Hasssan is native to many places with Hoysala temples such as Belur, Halebidu and Ganga style temples in Shravanabelogala. However, this town, though located on the banks of the Cauvery, is relatively unknown to both tourists and pilgrims.
This is Ramanathapura, a fish sanctuary and a temple town in Arkalgud taluk, located  about 50 kilometres from Hassan.
Ramanathapura is among the few fishing sanctuaries located across the Cauvery and fishing is banned in this area. This ban has helped a variety of fish thrive in the sanctuary.
One of the most well-known fish found here is Deccan Masheer, Black Masheer or Tor khudree, which belongs to the carp family of freshwater fishes.
It is considered to be the greatest game fish in India and has therefore, been almost fished to extinction. It is now listed in the IUCN Red list as highly endangered.
Other fishes seen here include Rohu or Rahu, which also belongs to the Carp family, and the Maithili Brahmins and Kayasthas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh treat it as one of their most sacred foods and they eat it on all auspicious occasions: Butter fish-these look like smaller versions of angel fishes and they are mainly classified as ornamental fishes: Katli Mahseer, which is also called copper masher and its is found in Krishna river too. In Karnataka, it is called Billi Meenu: Carnatic carp, which is a species of ray-finned fish. It is also called Barbodes carnaticus and it was first was described by Jerdon in 1849 when he came across this species in  Bhavani river, Nilgiris:   Spiny Eel, Freshwater shark and many other species are found here.
Pilgrims come here to visit the Rameshwara temple. This temple is generally classified as a Hoysala structure and there are five other temples. There is the Agastheswara, Durga Rameshwari, Lakshminarasimha, Subramanya, Pattibhirama temples also. All the temples are built in Dravadian style. The Lakshminarasimha temple was built during the reign of Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar. The Subramanya Temple has an interesting tale. A local ruler,  Ballalaraya, was harassing people of the area. The then Swamiji of Kukke Subramanya Matha came to Ramanathapura. Ballalaraya and Narasa Nayaka, the palegar of  Holenarsipur,  joined hands in welcoming the Madhwa seer and they consecrated the  Subramanya temple.
To this day, pooja at the Subramanya temple is performed by Madhwa priests. This temple features Subramanya as a seven hooded serpent. The car festival of Subramanya is held on  Maragashira Shuddha Shasti  and a cattle fair and rural exhibition are part of the festival which draws devotees from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu apart from Karnataka.
The Agashteshwara temple has a beautiful shrine dedicated to Shiva. Apart from the Shiva Linga, the temple houses idols of Mahaganapathi, Parashurama, Lakshmi, Chamundi and other deities.   
The Durga Rameshwari  temple is an important Shakti Stala. The idol of the deity was installed by Shankaracharya. There is a Sanskrit Vedic patashala here
The idol of Pattabhirama temple is believed to have been consecrated by a rishi named Saubari or Soubhari, the son of Kanva Rishi.
Soubhari lived under water for twelve years when a king called Mandhata was ruling the area. One day, Soubhari came across the king of the fishes playing in the water with his children and grandchildren. This made Soubhari feel that he too should get married and that he too should have children and grandchildren. He then married all the fifty daughters of Mandhata.
The car festival of this deity is on Mrigashira Ramanuja saptaha.
The Prasanna Rameshwara Temple was built by the Hoysalas and subsequently renovated by the Vijayanagars. This is one of the most important temples in the area.

Hassan is the city nearest to Ramanathapura and this village is well-connected by road.  

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