Karkala & Lord Venkataramana

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 Vishaal 3 Comments

Karkala is a place in Udupi district, Karnataka, India and is located about 40 km from the city Udupi and about 450 km from Bangalore. The name Karkala has been derived from the Kannada word karikallu, meaning black stones.

Karkala is a town of historical importance and a famous pilgrim centre for Jains. The famous single stone 42-foot (13 m) statue Gomateshwara is located about 1 km from the center of the town. There are about 18 Jain basadis here. The statue is the second tallest in the State.

Each year, thousands flock Lord Venkatramana temple in Karkala with the firm belief in the deity's power to grant wishes. Better known as 'Padu Tirupathi' , Lord Venkatramana temple is considered the main deity of Gowda Saraswat Brahmins.

Legend has it that a family of Gowda Saraswat Brahmins brought Lord Venkatramana's statue along with them while migrating from Goa. As they decided to settle down in Karkala, the family built a temple for the Lord and started worshipping him here.

When the rulers of Mangalore attacked the temple, the priests saved the main idol and other valuables by throwing them down a well in Mulki. As things cooled down, they could retrieve the belongings of the temple except for the main deity. However, a person in Mulki found the statue in the well, which was taken as an indication that the Lord wanted to stay there, instead of in Karkala.

It's said that the Lord appeared in people’s dreams and asked them to leave his statue with residents of Mulki. He seemed to have reassured them that a hermit would present them his statue in which he resides.

As told by him, a hermit, who was a staunch devotee of Lord Venkatramana from Tirupathi, came to Karkala and presented the Lord's statue with the condition that the proceeds of the temple be given to Tirupathi. Heeding to the condition, people of Karkala undertake a pilgrimage to Tirupathi each year to present the temple's proceeds.

Since the rites and rituals at the Karkala temple are similar to that of Tirupathi, it is regarded as Tirupathi in the West (while the original shrine is located in the east). So, it's called Padu (or West) Tirupathi. A ritual called Vanabhojan is conducted each year, when the deity is taken to Lake Ramasamudra and is kept facing Tirupathi.

This is done as the deity can't be taken to Tirupathi itself, to comply with the hermit's condition. Presenting the offerings to Tirupathi at Karkala itself had been an old custom. In the past, these proceeds were also given to Tirupathi once in 12 years. Although this is no longer in practice, it is said that people still present their offerings to Tirupathi here. In front of Lord Venkatramana's shrine lies a Hanuman temple, whose statue towers over 15 feet.

It's said that this statue was found under the grounds of Annekere (near Karkala), when it was dug. Tippu Sultan was among the ardent devotees of this Hanuman; the silver ornament he had offered to the Lord is still seen around his neck.

Several legends illustrate Lord Venkatramana's power to grant wishes. One of them happened in 1912, when the British government at Madras decided to make Moodbidri instead of Karkala the taluk head quarters, which disappointed people here. They prayed to the deity. When a British officer was on his way to Karkala for re-inspection of the place, as he crossed Moodbidri, all of a sudden his horse collapsed and died on the spot. Somehow he managed to reach Karkala.

On reaching there, he paid a visit to Lord Venkatramana’s temple. After the visit, the British officer dropped the idea of making Moodbidri the taluk headquarters and decided on Karkala. Such are the miracles of the Lord. Right outside the sanctum-sanctorum (garba-griha) of the temple, there are four massive stone pillars decorated with exquisite carvings.

More Photographs and Info

Search Karkala At Amazon.com






Tags: karkala, , Venkataramana, , Gomateshwara,


  1. Hello!!nice to read some history of karkala here..though there is some confusion in my mind..currently there are 2 deities worshiped in the karkala temple. one nitya-devu and one patta-devu.patta-devu was a gift from the hermit.. where is the origin of the nitya-devu?is it the image tht was worshiped by Soma Sharma? or is the image that was worshiped by Soma Sharma in mulki now?

  2. @kudvahmmm...I am not from Karkala. I am engaged to a girl from Karkala though. Will try and find an answer to your question soon.by the way you have a nice blog.

  3. hi friend i am from mangalore ,i liked your blog.would you please upload live photos of god captured in the Lord Venkatramana temple,karkala.