[My paternal grandfather had been a great letter writer. He had been a Headmaster in a municipal high school till he retired. My grandmother had passed away when my father was 12. After retirement my grandfather lived for some months with us and some with his elder son. When he was away from us we would regularly write letters to each other. Now, I think very few write letters. Last year I started writing to my mother (Amma) and my Doddamma (my father’s elder brother’s wife) She lives with her son and family. My cousin’s wife shows her my mails. My mother lives with my brother and my sister-in-law shows her my mails. My Doddamma is 86 and is not able to go out. My Amma and Doddamma enjoy the mails and the photos. The internet has really changed our lives, it helps us to keep some contact with our friends and relatives, if we want to😊. I am editing a few lines before posting in Slice of Life because it would be difficult to understand without knowing the details. I am also adding links to certain topics of interest.]
Dear Doddamma and amma,
Some time ago we had read in the newspaper about the temple Nandikeshwara in a small place called Mekkekattu near Barkur, about 30 kms from Manipal. We decided to go there yesterday morning.
We left home at 7 and had breakfast in a hotel called Mantapa, it is very popular in a place called Saligrama. Then we proceeded to Mekkekattu which is in Shiriyara village. We have to pass through a place called Saibarakatte. We were in the temple by 8.30. This temple is unique because all the idols are made of wood and Nandi (the vehicle or the mount of Lord Shiva) is worshipped.
The priest in the temple was very nice, he explained about the idols and the temple.
This temple was constructed about 1000 years ago by the rulers of the Alupa dynasty. They ruled coastal Karnataka from 4th to 15th century. It seems they ruled independently from 250 BCE to 450 CE. Later they became vassals of stronger dynasties like the Hoysalas and others. But they ruled for more than thousand years. They had their capital in nearby Barkur. This temple must have been constructed some time in the 10th or 11th century. The chief priest told us that his family have been priests in this temple for nearly 500 years. He said he was seventy years old and he was of the ninth generation to be the priest. These idols are changed after eighty to hundred years. The idols are of the same deities but the work is different as artisans are of a different time.
He said that he used to come to the temple with his father. He used to look at the idols and feel that they were coming alive. But he does not get the same feeling about the idols which are now in the temple. Maybe with age how we look at things changes.
In the sixties artisans started making the idols which are now in the temple. Work was completed in 1970. There are about 160 idols. They are worshipped every day. Some are kept in an enclosure to one side of the sanctum sanctorum. Earlier it seems there was no grill and monkeys used to come into the temple and spoil the idols. So, an enclosure was made to keep the idols safe. The idols of Nandikeshwara, Goddess Durga and of many ganas (attendants of Lord Shiva) are in the ‘Garbhagriha’ (sanctum sanctorum). Above the sanctum sanctorum there is space where more idols have been kept. The priest told us to climb up and see the idols. They are very fascinating. The photos that I am sending are not of those inside the sanctum sanctorum We are not allowed to take photos inside. After the puja we sat for some time and left the place. Work is going on to renovate the place.
The time was just 9.30 so we decided to go to the temple of Kallu Ganapati (stone Ganapati) nearby. We had been there last year. This is a small temple beneath huge boulders resting against each other. These boulders have not been placed or arranged by anyone, they are Nature’s wonder.
The idols of Lord Ishwara, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganapati are hundreds of years old, they are found on a flat surface. About 600 years ago, a small temple was built by a king for these idols. This temple has been looked after by the Adiga family for generations. Ramakrishna Adige who performs the puja, showed us around and told us about the history of the place when we had gone earlier. He was not there but his brother gave us tirtha. We then climbed up the boulders and sat for some time enjoying the serene atmosphere. We have a wonderful view of paddy fields, trees and a river. There is not much advertisement for this temple and people like us come searching for it. There is no crowd and the usual shops that we see near other temples.
We were back home by 10.30. I made boiled rice conjee and beetroot rasam for lunch. Evening we did not feel like going for a walk so we went to our favourite park and sat there for about half an hour before returning home.
Nandi (bull) – Wikipedia
Nandi (Sanskrit: नन्दि, Tamil: நந்தி, Kannada: ನಂದಿ, Telugu: న౦ది, Odia: ନନ୍ଦି) is the name of the gate- guardian deity of Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva
Garbhagriha – Wikipedia
Garbhagriha or Garbha gruha (garbha gṛha) (Sanskrit: गर्भगृह) is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple where resides the murti (idol or icon) of the primary deity of the temple.
Parboiled rice – Wikipedia
Parboiled rice (also called converted rice) is rice that has been partially boiled in the husk. The three basic steps of parboiling are soaking, steaming and drying. These steps also make rice easier to process by hand, boost its nutritional profile and change its texture.