Temples of Karnataka - Mookambika Temple

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Sri Mookambika temple is situated at the foot of a hill called Kudashtri at Kollur about 135 kms from Mangalore. It is one of the seven 'Mukti Sthalams' of Parasurama Kshetra situated in Karnataka. The deity of the temple is Mookambika devi who is in Padmasana posture holding Shanku and Chakra, and is showing Abhaya Varada Mudra. This idol of the goddess was installed by Adi Shankaracharya. There also the images of goddesses Kali and Saraswathi enshrined near Mookambika. By the side of the temple, flows the river Sowparnika which originates in the hill.

Many yogis and rishis have performed penance on this holy soil. It is believed that an eagle or Garuda called Suparna performed penance on the banks of this river and attained salvation. Hence the name Sauparnika is attributed to the river. Sri Adi Shankaracharya has prescribed various rituals and puja rites for worship and installed Sri Chakra before the Goddess. He has also composed the classic work of Soundarya Lahiri in this temple.

The temple has the Kerala style of temple architecture with a big courtyard and a spacious sanctum in which the graceful idol of Mookambika Devi in the form of Jyotir-Linga incorporating both Shiva and Shakthi is placed.

The idol of goddess made of Panchaloha, a mixture of five metals is adorned with exquisite gold and diamond jewelry. The other important statue in the temple is the Shiva Linga called the Jyothirlingam which is in front of the image of the Goddess Mookambika. There are also the shrines of Lord Vinayaka with ten hands, Subramanya, Anjaneya, Veerabhadra and Adi Sankara in the premises of the temple. Sri Vadiraja Swami, a Madhwa Acharya is said to have installed the image of Anjaneya in the temple.

In Skanda Purana, the glory of this temple is explained. In Maha Aranyapuram, a sage named Kola underwent severe penance as a result of which a linga appeared at that spot.

The legend also has that Lord Shiva advised him to worship the lingam and told him that that in due course, Shakti would manifest herself as Mahalakshmi there. Later when goddess Adi Shakti vanquished demon Mookasura, she was extolled by the gods as Mookambika.


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