Divinity has taken many forms for the sake of blessing humanity and has been consecrated in the form of temples. These energy centres continue to bring peace, prosperity and happiness for those who visit. Many such temples can be found in Karnataka which are epicentres of cultural and religious significance. Rather than being a pilgrimage of presence, it can be regarded as a sojourn of the spirit and soul to be blessed by worldly pleasures and to attain transcendental wisdom of the self. Come, reach divinity by reaching here.
Udupi is notable for the Krishna temple, which has its origin in the 13th century. Sri Madhvacharya established this temple. The propagation of Dvata philosophy is attributed to the Krishna Mutt which has found believers across the globe. During the 16th century, Kanakadasa visited the temple, but was not allowed access on being a non-Brahmin. He prayed from behind the temple through a window. The idol turned towards this window to give darshana to Kanakadasa. This window is called Kanakana Kindi meaning Kanaka's window. Another attestation that temples are not mere idol worship, but celebration of the Divine through various ways. This is also the centre of Daasa Sahitya, a distinct form of literature that originated in Udupi. Udupi as a town has the western Ghats on one side and the stately Arabian Sea on the other. The natural beauty of this place is thus worthy of mention.
Dharmasthala is famous for the temple of Sri Manjunatha. Literally Dharmasthala means land of righteousness. Manjunatha is one of the names of Lord Shiva. This place attracts over 10,000 pilgrims everyday. The ethos of religious tolerance is very obvious, it is a Shiva temple, the priests are of Madhva Vaishnavite order, a Jain Tirthankara is worshipped next to Shiva and Daivas and the guardian of the temple is a Jain. Besides its centuries of cultural and religious legacy, the temple trust is also known for its social and charitable endeavours. Mass marriages are organised by the temple for which all expenses are borne inclusive of the wedding feast. Annadana (free distribution of food) is conducted everyday to over 10000 pilgrims. The trust manages over 25 educational institutions to provide free/ affordable education to many. In the field of healthcare, many medicines are provided free of cost. Ongoing research continues to eradicate many diseases in nearby villages.
Close to Dharmasthala is Kukke, in which is located the Subramanya temple. Here Lord Subramanya is worshipped as the lord of all serpents. Adjacent to the temple is the Kumaraparvatha, and next to it is the Sheshaparvatha which looks like the open hood of a cobra as if protecting the temple. It is said that the Kumaradhara river was formed of the holy waters brought for the wedding and coronation ceremony of Lord Subramanya. Owing to its presence amidst the Western Ghats, nature reveals herself in all her glory here. Cascading streams, picturesque hills and ancient temple dot the region around Kukke.
Sringeri is the place where the first Matha was established by Sri Adishankaracharya in the 8th century. The name is derived from the word Rishya Shringa Giri, a nearby hill, where it is believed Sage Rishya Shringa resided. Shringeri has a number of temples of which the most prominent are of Sri Sharadamba and Vidyashankara. Sri Sharadamba is the goddess who bestows wisdom and knowledge. Legend says that the Vidyashankara was built in one night with the help of Rudra Ganas. Where as, it is also believed that this was built Harihara and Bukka, the founders of the Vijayanagara empire. The temple architecture exhibits the astronomical expertise of that era since there are 12 pillars here called the Rashi pillars. During sunrise, the Linga is bathed in sunlight. The Tunga river flows here and the island closeby is called Narasimha Vana. The abundant fish in the river is a huge attraction.
Horanadu is known for its scenic beauty. The main deity is said to be put in place by Sri Adishankaracharya. The idol we see today was consecrated in 1973. The shrine of Sri Annapoorneshwari is surrounded by hills on all sides making it a beautiful sight to behold. Meals are served to all pilgrims everyday and it is believed that the Divine Mother gives her blessings through food in this place. It is a belief that a person who worships the Mother here would never have scarcity of food in entire life. The figurine of Sri Annapoorneshwari is made in gold. Many streams can be found enroute making the journey extremely memorable.
Kalasa is the home to Sri Kalasheshwara whose temple is observed here. It is regarded that the earth's axis shifted due to the massive attendance at Shiva Parvathi's wedding in Kailash. Sage Agastya was summoned by Lord Shiva and instructed to restore balance. At Lord Shiva's behest, Sage Agastya is said to have resided near Kalasa and prayed for a vision of the wedding again. The Loord consented and to this day, the Girija Kalyana is a very important function at the temple. The Pancha Teerthas here are believed to cure many afflictions and diseases. They are Vasishta Teertha, Naga Teertha, Koti Teertha, Rudra Teertha and Amba Tertha.
Kollur is located in Udupi district and houses the shrine of Sri Mookambika Devi. This is believed to predate the 8th Century. There is a Linga apart from the figurine of the Divine Mother. This Linga contains a golden line which is clearly visible almost dividing the Linga into two. This is said to be the representation of Shiva and Shakti thus demonstrating the Ardhanareeshwara Tattva. Set against the backdrop of the Kodchadri Hills, it is a place of immense natural beauty. Legend says that the same mother resides in Chottanikarai too and hence there are a lot of pilgrims from Kerala who flock here. Many say that Dr. Yesudas, the prominent Carnatic Classical singer visits the shrine unfailingly every birthday and renders service to Sri Mookambika by way of singing songs in her praise.
Kateel is a small temple town notable for the temple of Sri Durga Parameshwari. This temple is of ancient times. The river flowing here next to the temple is Nandini, who is believed to be a form of Kamadhenu's daughter. It is believed that the Mother incarnated to slay the demon Arunasura who was harassing the people on earth. The temple today is also known for its promotion of various arts, one of them being Yakashagana.