Kalasa

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Kalasa, Kudremukh Overview

Kalasa, also known as the temple town is located in Chikkamagaluru district in Karnataka. The beautiful city lies on the banks of the Bhadra River. The reasons behind the birth of the place are both mythological and etymological. It is surrounded by rainforest and is a perfect place for a nature getaway. Being largely an agricultural economy this place depends on the River Bhadra to fulfil its water needs. It plays fair with its name as Kalasa's soil is blessed with great fertility which produces the best coffee and other herbs. Also, Kalasa is renowned for a shrine of Goddess Bhagavathi and a Varaha within a cave.

Kalasa is home to Sri Kalaseshwara Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Kalasa is also known as the temple-town of Karnataka showcasing the architectural heritage of Southern India comprising of a variety of styles as well as design philosophies representing the rich culture of the land. Pilgrims from all over the region come down to the temple town to offer their prayers. Though it is considered as a pilgrimage spot for the pilgrims, today it is also recognised as a tourist place. As it lies in the heart of Western Ghats, it enjoys a relatively pleasant climate throughout the year except for somewhat sweltering summers. Thus, this town which provides a glimpse of the spiritual soul of the region is definitely a must-visit.

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The locals state the reason behind the origin of Kalasa to be a part of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati's marriage. During their wedding, there was a shift in the rotation of the earth. To maintain the balance, Lord Shiva asked Sage Agasthya to travel to the Southern part. He wasn't willing as he wanted to attend the marriage. As a solution, Lord Shiva promised him the view of his marriage simultaneously with his stay at Kalasa. He granted an Arcadian vision to the sage which made him possible to witness the holy ritual. Sage Agasthya then travelled towards the South and dwelled in Kalasa from where he watched the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Local legends state that a pilgrimage to Kalasa brings great religious merit or punya.

Kalasa in Sanskrit means Kalsha, meaning a pot holding water. According to Hindu Temple Architecture, every temple should have a round pinnacle placed at the top. This round pinnacle is known as Kalsha. Also, geographically Kalasa is surrounded by River Bhadra from 3 sides and Duggappana Katte hill at the South. When viewed from above it resembles the pot full of water giving it the name Kalasa.

Kalaseshwara Temple: This magnificent temple is situated on a hillock near the Bhadra River. One of the main features of the temple is that the soapstone shrine present inside the temple has been built in the Hoysala sculpture style. The temple dome resembles a pot or utensil when viewed from a distance. There is a large community hall present within the temple which can accommodate a maximum of 5000 people. Pilgrims are also provided meals between 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. Laddu, coconut and dates are given out as Prasad items to the pilgrims.

Girijamba Temple: This temple is dedicated to Girija and the main festival celebrated at this temple is in honour of the marriage between Lord Shiva and Goddess Girija. This festival is celebrated two days after Diwali.

Venkataramana Temple: This temple was established in the 15th century and is dedicated to Sri Venkataramana. One of the most important festivals celebrated in this temple is the car festival.

Numerous festivals are celebrated in Kalasa every year to mark different events. The date of the festival is decided from the Hindu calendar. During every festival, the procession idol of the temple is taken out throughout the town and brought back to the temple. These festivals include-

Girija Kalyana: It is one of the biggest festivals of the town as it celebrates the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It begins on a new moon and goes on till the full moon. The Kalyana Mahotsava is performed by three families namely hoskere, mavinakere and kunikere who came along with Sage Agasthya from Kasi.

Kalasa Car Festival: During the annual car festival also known as Rathotsava, the procession idol of the Kalaseshwara temple is taken out. The Kalaseshwara temple remains open throughout the day as well as night during the festival.

Venkataramana Swamy Temple Car Festival: This festival is similar to the car festival wherein the procession idol of Venkataramana Swamy is taken out.

Kalasa is situated in Chikmagalur in the heart of the Western Ghats and thereby enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. Since summers here are slightly hot, the best time to visit Kalasa and witness it in its full glory is after the monsoon season between the months September and February.

The KSRTC buses make Kalasa readily available from cities. Within Kalasa each and every place can be visited by the buses operating from Kalasa Bus Stop. Private taxi options are also available.

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