Saturday, December 7, 2013


Vitla or Vittal is a midsized village to the south of Karnataka, almost on border or Kerala. It is located in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district, India, around 18 km from Bantwal in Bantwal Taluk. It is also 14 km from Puttur and 40 km from Mangalore. The village is famous for two main temples, the Panchalingeshwara and Ananteshwara temple.
The legend has it that this village (called Ekchakrapura; there are references to other villages in India called by the same name and hence, the name is not verified) was the host to the five Pandavas during their forest roaming after the episode of the lac house, which was set up on fire purposefully. They escaped and settled in many locations in south India. The sanctum of the Panchalingeshwara temple has five lingas, each representing the five faces of Shiva built by each of the Pandavas. The size of the lingas depicted the character of the Pandavas, e.g. Bhima’s linga is large, while Sahadeva’s linga is small.
It was here that Bhima slayed the demon, Bakasura, who was terrorizing the villagers by asking for a cart load of food everyday along with one person, who would also be eaten by the demon. Bhima had a fierce fight with Bakasura and killed him. The "Gami" where Bakasura lived is on a hillock in Kalanjimele is close to the town. People still visit the place where Bhima vanquished Bakasura. There are three other places, Netthare Kere (puddle of blood), "Chipparu" where Bakasura's head was found and "Kayyaru" where the hands of the demon were found.
Another location near Vittal, is the NaraHari parvat. It is a small hillock that has the temple of Sadashiva. Legend has it that the Pandavas (especially, Arjuna) went there to do penance and was thirsty. Lord Krishna knowing this was right time to reveal his true mission on earth as God to annihilate evil Kauravas, appeared and showed his compassionate form of Vishnu (Chaturbuja, the one with four hands, with a conch, discus, mace and lotus). Arjuna requested that this NaraHari form of Krishna be immortalized. Hence, Vishnu created pools that are surprisingly always filled with fresh water, in the form of the four decorations (Shakha, Chakra, Gada, Padma), that too at a top of the hill!
The history of the Ananteshwara temple is quite well recorded. Tradition has it that in about 1560, a member of the Bhanap community proceeded to Subramanya and worshipped Lord Anantheshwara; the God appeared to him in a dream, directed him to take away an image for future worship and instructed him to install it at a place called the Adisthal today. Accordingly, the image was brought and installed near the banks of a river in Vokketur by the same name, a mile north east of Vittal. Under the instruction from the God, the image was then transferred to the present location. It is the custom till date, to bring some earth from the very spot the image was worshipped at Vokketur to Vittal, sprout the Navadhanya (Nine types of grain) in it and distribute as prasad after the Shashti festival (held in the Shukla Paksha in the month of Margashira as well as during the Bramhakalashang Utsava.
The significance of the Brahmakalshang is another topic that will need a separate description.

1. Vitla Wikipedia Entry
3. Chitrapur Saraswat Temples and Shrines by Ugran Sunder Rao
4. Significance of Bramhmakalashang by Vital Vijay Bhat in the Souvenir of Brahmakalashang Rathotsava 2011.

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