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The Shrine Of Male Mahadeshwara In Karnataka

Written By: Pranav

The ancient and sacred temple of Male Mahadeshwara in Karnataka is a very popular Shiva pilgrim centre and is considered one of the most powerful Shiva temples in the state. The temple draws lakhs of pilgrims from the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is located at a distance of 150 km from Mysuru and approximately about 210 km from Bengaluru.

male mahadeshwara in karnataka

PC: Offical Site

Mahadeshwara is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva as a Lingayat saint. Evidences suggest that the saint Mahadeshwara must have lived sometime during the 15th century. About 600 years ago, he came here to perform penance and it is believed that he still is continuing his penance in the temple's sanctum sanctorum in the form of a linga.

The linga which is worshipped now in the garbha gudi is a self-manifested one. Male Mahadeshwara was seen moving on a tiger which is known as Huli Vahana and is said to have performed a number of miracles around the hill in order to protect the people and the saints living there.

male mahadeshwara in karnataka

PC: Offical Site

Best Time To Visit

The shrine can be visited anytime during the year; however, many people come here during the Mahashivarathri, Navarathri and the annual car festivities.

Legends Associated

According to legends, Male Mahadeshwara was born in the Kaliyuga to a fair virgin woman named Uttarajamma. In his boyhood, he was spiritually guided by the then pontiff of the Suttur and Kunthur mutts. The young saint is said to have come here from Srishailam and had performed several miracles at a very young age and settled down on the hills in a dense forest area which was surrounded by 77 peaks in seven circles.

male mahadeshwara in karnataka

PC: Offical Site

It was about 600 years ago the young saint went into the forest area to protect the saints who were performing penance and were taken in as hostages by an evil king named Shravana who possessed abundant black magic powers. Apart from the saints there were tribes who had the dwellings in the area, who were lacking in civility.

Mahadeshwara is said to have put an end to the black magic power of Shravana and released the saints. The place where the saints were kept as captives is considered to be holy and it was called Thavasere and the place where Shravana ruled was called Shravana Boli.

The Origin Of Kamsale

male mahadeshwara in karnataka

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The professional singers who recite the epic story of Lord Mahadeshwara are known as Devara Guddas or god's mountain. The song and dance routine is called Kamsale, which is closely connected with a tradition of Shiva worship. The artistes are selected from the Haalumatha Kuruba Gowda community and initiated into performing worship at a very early age.

The selected people are then required to lead a disciplined life as per the prescribed traditions and are required to vow their life in complete devotion to Mahadeshwara. The performance of Kamsale is part of a deeksha or oath and is taught by a teacher or spiritual leader. The kamsale artists are illiterates and have no printed literature; the songs are taught to them orally.

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