It sure has been turning out to be a long day – with some spectacular sights and some disappointments.
The Apsarakonda Falls and Kasargod beach were a let-down. Being summers, the former could be forgiven for being reduced to a trickle. And the beach would probably be livelier in the winters I suppose.
Having heard good things about it, I headed to the Vinayak Temple at Idagunji, an ancient temple going back 1,500 years. Wow!
I was expecting more of an architectural and design marvel the way it was described to me, but Idagunji’s fame seemed to be more on account of its religious significance than appearance.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Ganpati or Ganesha, the Hindu God who removes any obstacles in one’s path. The head of an elephant and body of a man, He is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati.
Like all important places of worship in India, Idagunji too has a legend associated with it. Valakhilya, a divine saint, was trying to perform penance in the Kunjavana forests but were faced with all kinds of obstacles. They prayed to Lord Krishna for help, and were paid a visit by divine saint Narada. On hearing their plight, Narada suggested they perform prayers to Lord Vigneshwara or Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. And he also pointed out to a spot, Kunjaranya, to the left of Sharavati river where this could be done. Narada added that this spot had been used by the Holy Trinity – Hari, Har and Brahma – to conduct their prayers in their bid to destroy the Asuras (demons). They also created the holy lakes Chakratirtha and Brahmatirtha. On this occasion, Narada also took the help of other saints to create another lake, Devatirtha. The Holy Trinity and Ganesha were invited for their blessings, and they did come. While all the others chose to go back, Lord Ganesha decided to make this his adobe. A lake for his bathing was created and named Ganeshtirth. And Kunjaranya was eventually renamed Idagunji.
I could see many devotees going down to a water tank to take a dip – and thus be blessed with the holy water. Another man with a big knife was slicing open coconuts to be offered to the Gods.
Photography was not allowed, but a security guard voluntarily made the effort to get a booklet on the temple. Quite informative and useful for me.
I did not stay for too long, choosing to move on after offering a brief, silent prayer.
You could visit the official website of the temple at http://www.idagunjidevaru.com
And here are some signs instructing visitors on how to conduct themselves.
Ajay Jain is currently on the Great Arabian Sea Drive, starting from Delhi and following the coastline all the way from Gujarat down to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Follow all updates on:
* Kunzum.com (All posts from the trip can be read here) – Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
* Twitter – @ajayjain and @kunzum. Follow us.
* Facebook – Join our Fan Page