Gunja Narasimha Swamy Temple or Tirumakudlu Narasipura Temple, locally known as T. Narasipura, is a panchayat town in the Mysore district of Karnataka. The first name, Tirumakudalu refers to the land at the confluence (Trimkuta) of the sacred Kaveri River, Kabini River, and Spatika Sarovar. Spatika Sarovar, which currently not visible, also known as Gupta Gamini. This is the place where the Kumbh Mela of South India held every three years and the abode of Sri Gunja Narasimhaswamy.
Tirumkudlu Narasipura mentioned in the Skanda Purana as one of the Trimakuta regions or one of the holy places situated at the confluence of three rivers. Narsipur is the name of the city itself, which derived from the famous Gunja Narasimha Swamy Temple situated here on the right bank of river Kaveri.
Significance of Gunja Narasimha Swamy Temple
The place is considered as sacred as Prayag, which is made holy by the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers, and hence is known as Dakshina Kashi. Tirumkudlu is the place where sage Agastya envisioned the place Dakshina Kashi when he traveled south to Narsipur. At that time this place was a dense forest.
Fascinated by the confluence of the three rivers, the sage wanted to install a Shivling, and he asked Hanuman to obtain a linga from Kashi. Due to the divine movement of Kaal, Sri Hanuman was unable to obtain the linga in time, so sage Agastya made a sand linga and consecrated it. This insulted Hanuman and he soon came back, then the sage created a sand linga himself and consecrated it. Since that time, a perennial presence of water, called the water of Mother Ganga, can be found in the apex of the linga. This tirtha-jala offered to the pilgrims visiting the temple. The linga that Hanuman eventually brought consecrated a short distance away and known as the Hanuman linga.
The two other lingas residing here are Someshwar and Markandeshwar Linga. These, along with the Agastyesvara (sand lingam) and Hanuman lingam, The Panchalingas of Narsipur said to be similar to the five lingas of Talakad.
Mythological Story of Gunja Narasimha Swamy Temple
The story of Lord Narasimhadeva appearing in the form of Gunja Narasimhaswami involves a washerman’s dream. While he was sleeping, Lord Narasimha told him that his idol lying under the stone on which he washes clothes every day. The Lord instructed the washerman to build a temple for him and asked him to look for gold coins under the stone which could be used for the construction of the temple. When the washerman expressed his desire to go to Varanasi (Kashi) on a pilgrimage, the Lord told him that the construction of a temple for him had earned the washerman the additional virtue (sacred credit) of Gulaganji (Ebrus Pretorius) which obtained by going to Kashi. Thus, the name Gunja here associated with the name of Lord Narasimhaswami.
The Gunja Narasimhaswamy Temple is a huge complex belonging to the Vijayanagara period. The sanctum sanctorum has a weight balance at the feet of the deities in the image of Lord Narasimha, holding a twig with the seeds of the Gunja tree, indicating the importance of the temple with Kashi (Varanasi). Gunja known as Gulaganji in Kannada.
There are temple inscriptions from the Krishnadevaraya period and a mixture of Dravidian and Hoysala architecture. There are huge inscriptions in the Nagari script. The more than 500-year-old temple was in need of repair and restoration. It renovated at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore (approximately US$ 0.6 million) by an NRI donor – Dr. NV Ramanuja Iyengar – from Florida, the USA in March 2011 the Mahakumbhbhishekam or re-anointing ceremony of the renovated temple performed by the donor and his family members.
Nearby is the Agastyeshwara Temple. Thirumakudlu in this complex houses several monuments belonging to the Ganga, Chola, Hoysala, and Vijayanagara periods. There is a chariot festival for Gunja Narasimhaswamy and Agastyeeshwara every year and attended by thousands of devotees.
The temple is a protected monument under the Karnataka state division of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Festivals of Gunja Narasimha Swamy Temple
The devotees of the village organize a procession every year along with the famous Kumbh Mela every 3 years.
The Kumbh Mela of T. Narasipura, which started recently in 1989, is an event that takes place once in three years. Kumbh Mela was organized by the Trust under the aegis of senior saints and religious leaders of the state. The congregation is meant to underline the concept of unity in diversity. The Kumbh Mela of Allahabad and Nashik is repeated at T Narasipura when lakhs of devotees gather and take a holy dip in the confluence of the three rivers. A piece of ancient India comes to the fore when ocher-clad monks join people to take a dip at the confluence of Kaveri, Kabini, and the celestial lake “Sptika Sarovar”.
Gunja Narasimha Swamy Temple timings:
The temple remains open from 7 am to 1 pm and again in the evening between 4.30 and 7.30 pm.
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