Mookambika Temple: A staggering ancient history

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Mookambika temple at Kollur was next on the visit, but before that, there were a few more places of Udupi to be covered. Hence I checked out early morning; I wanted to visit the Chandramouleeshwara temple and Padubidri beach before heading to Mudureshwar.

Mookambika Temple: A staggering ancient history
Mookambika Temple

I made my way to Chandramouleeshwara temple, which is devoted to Lord Shiva. It’s an ancient temple which dates back to the 7th or 8th century. As per the legends, Lord Chandra (Moon) was cursed by Daksha Prajapati, so he performed penance on the holy pond of Chandra Pushkarni to appease Lord Shiva. The synagogue was constructed below ground level, so it must have had a lake bed in ancient times. The architecture is marvellous, with intricate and elaborate carvings on the temple’s walls. In the inscriptions, Chandramouleshwara has been referred to as “Mududeva.” 

Mookambika Temple: A staggering ancient history
Chandramouleeshwara Temple

After seeing the temple, we went to Padubidri beach- it’s a hidden gem as not so popular and less crowded. It is the most beautifully maintained beach in Udupi. There have been seating places on the coast & walking sideways for people to walk or sit. We sat for some time, savouring the salty morning breeze before leaving for Sri. Moombika temple at Kollur.

Mookambika Temple: A staggering ancient history
Padubidri Beach

Sri. Mookambika temple is more than 1200 years old, built in Dravidian style, and situated in the valley of Kodachadri. It is approx 80kms from Udupi, and we had to cross Moombika wildlife sanctuary to reach the temple. The temple is devoted to Goddess Parvati, who is in the form of Jyotir-Linga, which combines both Shakti and Shiva. The temple is located along the banks of river Souparnika, where the idol is believed to be installed by Shri Adi Shankara. The icon is made of Panchaloha (A combination of Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron and lead). Kollur is regarded as one of the Seven Mukti Stalas created by Parashurama, and the other places are Udupi, Subrahmanya, Kumasi, Kodeshwara, Sankaranarayana and Gokarna. 

Mookambika Temple: A staggering ancient history
Entrance to the temple

The temple is known as the centre of wisdom and knowledge, as Adi Shankara worshipped Goddess Saraswati intensely. In that respect, there are many beliefs regarding the temple’s origin; Goddess Saraswati first muted Kaumasura, a demon who had obtained special powers from Lord Shiva through penance and later killed him. After turning dumb, the beast was called Mookasura, and by killing him, Goddess got the name Mookambika.

Mookambika Temple: A staggering ancient history
Goddess Mookambika Idol

Another legend state’s in response to Adi Shankara’s dedication goddess appeared before Adi Shankara and agreed to travel with him to Kerala. The Goddess decided to accompany him upon one condition Adi Shankara who leads the way, should not flex back to check whether she is following him. If he looked back and studied her, the Goddess would stop there and will not go further. Along the path, when Shankara could not experience the presence of Goddess Saraswati. He turned around to check for Goddess. She stopped her journey and remained at that spot as per her condition. After much begging and pleading by Shankara, the Goddess agreed to be at the Chottanikkara Temple in the mornings and return to the Mookambika Devi Temple by noon. 

Mookambika Temple: A staggering ancient history
The worshippers on a New Year’s Eve

There were many visitors to the temple since it was the new year. But there is a token of 500 INR/person for the Special Darshan (a separate and shorter line to enter the Sanctorum). Bookings for Seva and Prasad were taken from the counters after the Darshan. We ultimately pulled our way for the Darshan before the temple shut at 1.30 pm as it would reopen from 3 pm to 9 pm. If you wish to stay, plenty of budget accommodation is available. We left for Murudeswar after our Darshan, and on our way, we had lunch in a pure Veg Udupi Dhaba. Though I might have left some beaches in Udupi or near Udupi, giving me all the reasons to revisit the place. The temple tradition gave Udupi cuisine a strong foundation and bound the city. 

How to Reach: 

By Air:  Mangalore Airport is closest to the temple. You can avail of pre-paid taxis from the Airport to Kollur. It is approximately 150 km from the airport and can be reached in three-four hours.

By Rail:

Bijoor (BIJR)is the nearest railway station, 20 km from Kollur and Kundapura station, 40 km from Kollur. You can quickly get taxis from the station to Kollur. The stations have waiting rooms for passengers.

By Road :

Kollur well is connected by road from major cities. There are multiple direct buses, passengers & luxuries available to the temple.

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