A long pending piece (~2 years to be precise) after me and Devaraja ji was blessed with a Darshan of deities in thi amazing devalaya. This temple is situated in Bhargavapuri, Hiremagaluru (of Hiremagaluru Kannan brothers fame) in Chickamagaluru District (about 250kms from Bengaluru). The place is named Bhargavapuri after Bhargava (another name of Parashurama) who is believed to have lived here. Thus the temple is named Bhargavapuri Shri Kodandarama Temple.
It is also believed that Nine Siddhas (Realised souls) meditated along the banks of the Temple pond, called Siddha Pushkarini. A dip here is considered curative and especially a cure and antidote for snake bites. An elderly gentleman has a record of people cured of snake bite effects after taking a dip here.
Whatever I am writing here is as discussed with temple Archakas and other elders from the village (and may not be historically accurate, but please email me at email@example.com for any corrections to be made for which due credit will be given). Hiremagaluru Kannan ji was travelling on the day we visited and missed his humourous but enlightening sound bytes. His brother Murali conducted the Pooje in Kannada for us. Pooje in Kannada is yet another speciality of this place.
Bhargavapuri Shri Kodandarama Temple is believed to have come into existence as per earliest records in 879 AD. The Garbha Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum) and Sukanasa (The ornamental designs above the doorway to Garbha Griha) are built in Hoysala Architectural style. The rest of the structures appears to be subsequent additions and in Dravidian Architectural Style.
The above picture of the presiding deity is unique and we were told that it is probably the only temple where Sita maate is on the right of Bhagwan Shri Rama. Usually Lakshmana takes the right side and Sita is on the left. The sthalapurana (or the legend) explains the reason for this unique feature. This can be traced to 17th Chapter of Skanda Purana where a confrontaion between a haughty Parashurama and Shri Rama takes place, when the Divine family were returning from Mithila after the wedding. During this encounter, Shri Rama breaks Parashurama’s bow and dents his pride, thus awakening him from the illusionary undefeatable power that he assumed he had.
He also realises his folly since he missed the Divine Marriage only due to ego and thinking that an ordinary Kshatriya is getting married, he seeks forgiveness and pleads with Shri Rama to give him a Darshana in Kalyana Kola (Grandeur of a Wedding). Ever compassionate Shri Rama grants that wish and asks Sita to stand on His right (that is the Vedic Wedding way) and Lakshmana to His left and blesses him with a Kalyana Kola Darshan as seen in the picture above. Yet another unique feature is absence of Hanuman, understandably since Hanuman meets Shri Rama in Sundarakanda whereas Marriage happens in Balkanda of Ramayana. Since the popular belief is that pooje to this family is not complete with Hanuman included,
The Idols are amazingly beautiful and enchanting. Shri Rama’s moorti. In shilpashastra and as described exquisitely by Hiremagaluru Kannan – it is in Tribhangi (tri posture) – Face that reflects Shanti (Peace), Hips that reflect Karunya (Compassion) and Knees reflecting Gambheera (Imposing or Seriousness). As can be visualised in the pictures above, the shilpi (sculptor) has done an exceptionally great job carving Shri Rama’s pleasant face. His breadth of His forehead exactly same as length of the nose. It is so perfectly geometrically balanced that if you were to use a compass and draw a circle with tip of the nose as centre, you will get a perfect circle encompassing Shri Rama’s face.
The later century additions are the Navaranga (the rectangular corridor where Bhaktas converge before having Darshana of the Deity – divided into boxes of 3×3 rectangular grid) is believed to have been constructed in 14th Century. Navaranga subsequently is sub-divided into Sabhamantapa (largest part of Navaranga where all cultural activities associated to the temples are carried out and Mukhamantapa (part of the Navaranga earmarked for Public rituals). Both these seem to be an addition around 16th Century as explained by the local experts (brick and mortar construction).
In the prakara are enshrined vedantacharya, Ramanujacharya, Alvars, a lovely figure of Yoga Narasimha and a 4ft. high Madhava has a unique feature-the upper left hand hold a conchshell, with the tip in the hand, the right hand holds the ‘Chakra’ in an erect posture, unlike the usual horizontal position. On the outer walls of the Garbhagriha also ther are a number (about 30) of carvings, mainly Sri vishnu and His various forms, Lakshmi, Garuda and Hanuman,Ganapathi, etc. as seen in various pictures shared below
Having shared the legend broadly, here are some pictures that we clicked during our teerthayaatre here (will update as and when I get even more imputs during my next visit)
All the above pictures clicked on 9th December 2019
Jai Shri Ram
Sharing more pictures below clicked on 23rd December 2013 (thanks to Smt Sindhu BR)