Kukke Subrahmanya and Kumara Parvata

Well, to be honest, I was writing this piece as a guide for my friend who intends to travel to Kukke Subrahmanya shortly. And then I realised that I could write this for Bangalore Metroblog and anyone who wants info about Kukke Subrahmanya can use it as a reference. I have been to Kukke Subrahmanya just once. And it left a lasting impression. I have not been to Kumara Parvata though. I would love to, someday!

Kukke Subrahmanya was recently in the news when Sachin Tendulkar visited the sacred temple to perform some “sarpa dosha nivarana” pooja. Media coverage for the temple suddenly got a boost because a national celebrity like Tendulkar had visited the place. The temple, for the immense religious value that it commands, receives much less media attention usually.

Kukke Subrahmanya is a sacred spot located about 100 kms from Mangalore. It is the home to the temples of Lord Subrahmanya who is worshipped here in the form of a snake. This temple lists among the most important temples in Karnataka and even in South India. Kukke Subrahmanya is regarded as one of the Seven Muktistala pilgrimage sites in Karnataka which are Kollur, Udupi, (Subrahmanya), Kumbasi, Kodeshwara, Sankaranarayana and Gokarna. The temple even finds a mention in Sri Aadi Shankaracharya’s writings. Shankaracharya referred to this place as ‘Bhaje Kukke Lingam’ in his ‘Subrahmanya Bhujangaprayata Stotram’. The legend on why Lord Subrahmanya is worshipped as a serpent is provided in one of the reference links below.

A photo frame picture of the main deity at Kukke Subrahmanya

Deity at Aadi Subrahmanya Temple

The Kukke Lingam. It is a cluster of small Lingams.

Kukke Subrahmanya Temple Gopuram

Kukke Subrahmanya Temple Entrance

Kukke Subrahmanya Temple Compound. Typical Malabar Architecture.

Kukke Subrahmanya – Kumaradhara River flowing beside the Aadi Subrahmanya Temple.

This temple is associated with the Hoysala Ballala dynasty. There is even a statue of King Ballala just at the entrance of the temple. There is a legend associated with the statue which you can read in one of the reference links provided below.

In this location, you will find several temples. Two most important of those would be the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple and the Aadi Subrahmanya Temple. To reach the Aadi Subrahmanya Temple, you have take a route that passes along the backside of the main temple and cross a small bridge built over a stream. This stream is called “Kumaradhara” and it originates in the Kumara Parvata moutains and flows into the Arabian Sea. At the main temple, you will find an interesting sanctum sanctorum housing the Dasavatara. The deity statuettes are very beautiful to look at.

The temple is located deep inside the jungles at the foothills of the Kumara Parvata. The sights and sounds offered by these dense jungles is only experienced to be believed. As you drive, you keep crossing the Kumaradhara river a lot of times. All the bridges are quite low, and if the river swells, then you may not be able to cross over. At one place, we saw bathing ghats where people were bathing in the river. As is the custom, people bath in the Kumaradhara river and then visit the temple.

Kumaradhara River flowing through the forests at Kumara Parvata foothills

Forest road leading to Kukke

Betel Nut plantations dotting the forests

Kumaradhara River against Kumara Parvata background

The first 5 kms stretch. This pic was taken at about 10AM in the morning. And it was probably just 15 deg C in this area. You can feel the chill in this pic!

Kukke Subrahmanya has many lodges. Some of them are associated to the Subrahmanya Mutt. It is a good idea to perform advanced booking as this pilgrim center is usually crowded. Contact numbers are provided in the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple website.

The Kumara Parvata is a mountain in the Western Ghats. On a clear day, you see the lofty mountains behind the temple gopuram. Those interested in trekking opportunities at Kumara Parvata should refer the links provided below. There are also pictures provided which could give you a good idea of what to expect. I do wish that I make it to those moutains someday. It is very impressive to look at.

How to get there?
From Bangalore: Total distance is about 280kms. Assume variance of about +/-15 kms. You can either drive down in your car or take a KSRTC bus service. KSRTC runs Express bus service to this temple. You can lookup the timetable at their website. If you want to drive from Bangalore, here is the route. Take NH48 from Bangalore towards Mangalore. This highway passes through Hassan and Sakleshpur. Once you enter the mountain area near Sakleshpur, the route becomes very scenic.

Coffee & Pepper Plantations @ Sakleshpur

After Sakleshpur, you start the descent down the Shiradi Ghats. The road at every turning is bad. And one has to be very careful driving along this road. There are numerous oil tankers that keep company. They are slow and they are dangerous. Probably they are carrying oil from Mangalore Port and Refineries to inner towns and cities. However, that does not rob you off from enjoying the scenery around. Vedant green forests and gushing of waters greets you everywhere. You would even see the Nethravati river flowing by your side at many places. After you reach the level roads at the bottom of the valley, you reach a small village called “Uppinangady”. You need to cross this village and come to a small junction where the road to the left leads to Kukke Subrahmanya. For Dharmastala, you can proceed about 14 kms further down the road and take another diversion for Dharmastala. The road leading to Kukke Subrahmanya is not in such a good condition. The first 5-6 km stretch is silken as it was done by the National Highways department. After that it is a forest road. The scenery in the forest road makes up the sorry road condition.

Where to eat?
En route to Subrahmanya on NH48: There is a small restaurant just along the highway at Saklespur. This is a good place to eat. Most buses travelling this route stop by at this restaurant. You get a nice view of the valley below from the back windows of this retaurant.
At Kukke, Neo Mysore Cafe is a good place to have food. It is on the Main Temple Street.

Reference Links:
1. Kukke Subrahmanya Temple Website. This link provides all essential info about the temple history, its legends, all information about sevas that can be performed and their costs, the local map and even directions to reach the temple.
2. Kukke Subrahmanya. This link has detailed info about all the temples and shrines located at this pilgrim town. It has information regarding the legends associated with the temple also.
3. Kumara Parvata. Not much info regarding treks. There are pages yielded by Google Search that helps you read through personal experiences. This link has a picture clicked at the peak. Very impressive view!

1 Comment so far

  1. Kanth (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

    Oh Boy!

    A very comprehensive post indeed. Your friend must be very happy :)

    I’m sure Sachin would have loved the drive down to that place as well!

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