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The Century Old Sri Kanteshwara Temple At Nanjangud

Written By: Pranav

Nanjangud is one of the ancient and well-known pilgrimage centres in Karnataka which is located at a distance of 25 km from Mysuru and is well known for the much-famed temple of Nanjundeshwara; the temple is also known as Sri Kanteshwara.

Nanjunda means the one who consumed poison. As per legends, during the churning of the ocean, Lord Shiva is said to have consumed the deadly Kalkuda poison; hence, the lord gets the name Nanjunda which became Visha Kanta and also Sri Kanta. Hence, the deity is also known as Sri Kanteshwara, which translated to the one who cures diseases.

sri kanteshwara temple nanjangud


The temple is located on the banks of the Kabini river, where a dip in its waters during important occasions is often considered to be more auspicious than a dip in the Ganges. Due to this the temple is also known as Dakshina Kashi, which in translation means the Kashi of the South. The waters and soil around the banks of the river are believed to possess curative properties.

The Biggest Temple In Karnataka

The temple of Sri Kanteshwara is considered as the biggest temple in Karnataka, measuring 385 ft in length and 160 ft in breadth. The main entrance is seven stories tall, which is decorated with seven gold plated Kalasas and also by two horns.

sri kanteshwara temple nanjangud

PC: Dineshkannambadi

The outer wall of the temple measures about 12 ft high; a spacious courtyard greets and welcomes a large number of pilgrims who come to have a darshan of Lord Shiva. The temple also offers a veritable world of stucco figures as it plays host to more than 122 images, which is said to be the largest number of sculptures dedicated to Lord Shiva and his various manifestations. One can also find several forms of Lord Subramanya and the Saptamatrikas amongst others.

One can also find many elegant bronze idols that call for attention and some of the most prominent amongst them are Tandaveshwara, Narayana with Bhudevi, Chandrashekaramurthi, Parvathi, Chandikeshwara and many others.

sri kanteshwara temple nanjangud

PC: Dineshkannambadi

Garalapuri Of The Puranas

Nanjangud has been referred to as Garalapuri in the Puranas and is said to be praised and sanctified by the sages Parashurama and Gautama. Parashurama is said to have prayed for the grace of the deity to pardon him from the sin of beheading his mother Renuka. According to folklore, the place is known as the home of Nanjayya, who later was identified as Shiva; there are ballads on Nanjayya which describe his romantic encounters with Chamundi of Mysore.

The shrine has a history of almost 1000 years which showcases the contribution of massive proportions to the temple by the kings and rulers who would surpass the others in building and extending the structure, which eventually led to the current structure.

sri kanteshwara temple nanjangud

PC: Dineshkannambadi

The Chola Kings during the 11th and 12th century are considered to be the initial founders of the temple along with significant additions being made by the Hoysala and Vijayanagara kings. Tipu Sultan called the deity Hakim Nanjunda. He gifted an emerald lingam and a precious emerald necklace as an offering for having cured his favourite elephant of an eye disease.

At the banks of Kabini is a shrine dedicated to Parashurama; devotees believe that a pilgrimage to Nanjangud is incomplete without paying your respects at the shrine. The temple attracts a large number of devotees during the annual festival of Dodda Jathre, where chariots are pulled by the devotees on a path called ratha beedi.

Temple Timings

Tuesday To Saturday: 6:00 AM to 1:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Sundays, Mondays and Festival Days: 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM

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