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Nandikeshwar Temple of Shiv

A Teerth is a place of pilgrimage. There is a famous Shiv Ling at a Teerth named Nandikeshwar. It is in Kundpur, near Udupee, Karnaatak State of India. Unlike other temples, this temple has wooden (of Halas Mara or jackfruit wood found in abundance in the forest close by) statues. It means that no Abhishek can be performed there on those statues. The deities are 10 feet tall and colorfully painted. there were around 365 temples among which only five temples are functional, and rest are destroyed. In this temple Nandee is worshipped, so Nndee's idol is inside and his army is outside. The deities are not moved except when replaced. Only the Tiger idol is taken outside the Temple during Sankraanti. One of the interesting aspects of these "invading" warrior statues are the headgears. The statues have various types of head dressing like Persian hats, Sikh turban, Maraathaa hats and typical Muslim hats. The weapons range from huge swords, dagger to primitive guns. Surprisingly, women warriors are also found in the army.

Mythological Legends
There used to live a Braahman in a city named Karnaakee. He went to visit the city of Vaaraanasee, so he left his two sons with his wife and went there. Later his family learnt that the Braahman died in Vaaraanasee. His widow brought up her sons alone and eventually married them off. As the time passed by she became old and it was time for her to die. But death would not come. It seemed to the sons that their mother was hankering after something and would not let her die until her wish had been satisfied.

They asked her - "Mother, What is it that you want?"
The mother replied - "I have always wanted to visit the Teerth of Vaaraanasee, but now I am going to die without ever visiting the place. Promise me that when I am dead, you will take my ashes to Vaaraanasee and throw them into the river Gangaa there."
The sons said - "We will, you can die in peace."

The mother died and the sons performed her funeral ceremony. Then her elder son, Suvaadi, set out for Vaaraanasee with his motherís ashes. The way was long and he stopped to rest and spend the night in a Braahman's house. A cow was tied in front of the house and it was time for milking her. Suvaadi saw that when the Braahman tried to milk the cow, the calf would not permit the milking and kicked the Braahman. The Braahman then hit the calf with a stick and the calf moved away. The Braahman went away after milking the cow, but Suvadi was still there and and he heard the cow telling her calf - "I am distressed that the Braahman hit you. Tomorrow I am going to gore the Braahmanís son to death."

Next day, the Braahmanís son came to do the milking. The cow gored him with her horns and he died. But this meant that the cow had committed the sin of killing a Braahman. Immediately, because of the sin, the white cow turned completely black. The cow left the house. Suvaadi followed the cow, amazed at this strange sight. The cow went to the banks of the river Narmadaa, to the place named Nandikeshwar. She bathed in the river and became white once again. This meant that the sin of killing the Braahman had been completely washed away. Suvaadi marveled at this and realized what a powerful Teerth Nandikeshwar was.

He himself took bath in that river and was about to leave for Vaaraansee that he was accosted by a beautiful woman.
The woman asked - "Where are you going, Suvaadi? Throw your motherís ashes in the river here. This is a far greater Teerth than Vaaraanasee."
Suvaadi asked - "Who are you?"
The woman replied - "I am the River Gangaa." After saying this the woman vanished and Suvaadi did as he was told. As soon as he did this, his dead mother appeared in the sky and told him that she was immensely gratified. She would now go straight to Heaven.
Nandikeshwar is a wonderful Teerth because a Braahman woman named Rishikaa had earlier performed very difficult Tapasyaa there to please Shiv.



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on February 12, 2013