Most temples are associated with a legend or two! Don't know how but these legends are interwoven with many other legends relating to a nearby place or even some far away place. That gives a place more credibility and makes more interesting for the visitors. Here is a hill named Krauncha Giri in Bellary which is believed to be a mythological place.
Apart from the myth, Krauncha Giri is known for being a geological wonder. Yes, the unique elliptical shape of this hill attracts a lot of visitors apart from it being a holy place. 'Krauncha' in Sanskrit means 'sea shell' and Giri means 'hill'; the hill which is in the shape of a shell.
Kumaraswamy Temple in Krauncha Giri
The Kumaraswamy Temple is set amidst the lush green vistas of Krauncha Giri near Sandur. It is said that this was the first Subhramanya Temple in South India. This is an ancient temple built during the reign of the Chalukhyas.
Lord Subhramanya (Kartikeya) preside as the main deity of this temple. Initially, it was only built as an abode of Kartikeya however a shrine of Goddess Parvathi and Lord Ganesha was built inside the temple complex.
In recent times, Krauncha Giri Temple is more popular for the Ganesha Temple than the shrine of Kartikeya.
The Legend of Krauncha Giri
Every visitor will get to see a narrow pass cutting across the hill. This pass also makes it look like a shell (Shankh). There is an interesting legend behind this unique shape of Krauncha Giri.
The mythology takes us to the battle between Lord Kartikeya and the demon Tarakasura. The story has it that, Lord Kartikeya takes his sphere to pierce the mountain in order to kill the demons hidden under the ground. Thus, it is strongly believed that the narrow pass was created by Lord Kartikeya. Hence, this place has a mythological importance and is known as a sacred place for Hindus.
For a long time, the Kumaraswamy Temple was banned for women. Though, the ban was lifted on the orders of Murarirao Yeshwantrao Gorpade in 1930s, most women were scared to enter the premises. Infact, the shrine was also made open to 'Harijans' (as called in those times) during Gorpade's time. Mahatma Gandhi had even acknowledged it saying 'a small state in South India has opened the temple for Harijans, the heavens have not fallen'.
How to Reach Krauncha Giri
Krauncha Giri is around 10km from the town of Sandur (Sanduru) in Bellary district. One has to take SH40 from Sanduru to reach Krauncha Giri.
Click: How to Reach Bellary
It is not just the temple but the beautiful vistas of Krauncha Giri is worth a visit. The hill is surrounded by lush green forests which consists of unique flora and fauna. Sadly, the mining activities near Sandur has also affected the biodiversity of Krauncha Giri in recent times. However, it is one of the enchanting offbeat places in Karnataka.