We all know about Sringeri but unaware about the legends behind its creation. So, let us head to Rishyasringa Temple near Sringeri to know about the legends that made this a famous place.
Rishyasringa Temple is located at the village named Kigga which is 13km from Sringeri. Locally, it is popular as Kigga Temple and many devotees visit the temple.
Main Deity of Rishyasringeshwara
Who is Rishyashringa?
Rishyasringa was a sage who grew away from the societal life. Interestingly, there are different versions of the legends related to Rishyasringa. However, the most common legend also gives us information regarding his life.
Legends of Rishyasringa
Once the sage Vibhandaka was performing a penance which would make him powerful. Lord Indira feared that this power might harm the existence of the heavenly world. So, he sends Urvashi (celestial danseuse) to destroy Vibhandaka's meditation.
Hence, Urvashi disrupts Vibhandaka's penance by beginning a relationship with him. As a result, Rishyasringa is born; she abandones the baby and goes back to the heaven. Angered and distraught by the whole incident, sage Vibhandaka decides to go away from the society forever. Therefore, Rishyasringa is brought up in such a way that he doesn't know about the existence of female sex. Thus, Rishyasringa lives a complete celibate life till other influences draw him back to the societal life.
Rishyasringa's Entry into Societal Life
Different versions tell different stories. However, one prominent story is about a King who was devastated by the drought in his kingdom. When the king consulted a learned person, he said that if Sage Rishyasringa blesses then the kingdom would get rains. So, the king sends his female attendants to bring the sage. However, Rishyasringa has been brought up without the knowledge of another gender (female). He is surprised to see so many women and after a time they bring him to the kingdom. That is when Rishyasringa's journey happens towards the outside world. Rishyasringa gets married to the princess and lives a marital life for some time. Later, he gives up the marriage life and goes back to the forest again. It was then that he does penance and enters the linga which he worshipped.
Rishyasringa Temple is located in a place called Kigga near Sringeri. Here the sanctum consists of a Shiva Linga with a horn which is indicative of both Sage Rishyasringa and Shiva Linga in one form. Here the deity is known as Rishyasringeshwara Swamy or Malahanikareshwara. Hence, the Rishyasringa Temple is one of the unique temples with unique Shiva Lingam in South India.
During the time of the formation of Sharada Peetha, Sri Adi Shankaracharya visits this holy place of Kigga. It is after this visit that he names the place as Sringeri derived from the name Rishya - Sringa. Hence, the place became famous as Sringeri Sharada Peetha in Shimoga.
Nearby Places to Visit
Kigga Falls or Sirimane Falls, Sringeri, Horanadu and Kemangundi are the places to visit near Kigga.
How to Reach Kigga
Kigga is around 13km from Sringeri; it is accessible by road. You can reach Sringeri first and then go to Kigga.
Click: How to Reach Srigeri
So don't miss out on a visit to this unique temple on your visit to Sringeri. Rishyasringa Temple along with Sirimane Falls will be a memorable trip.