Lord Vekateshwara temple on top of Karighatta hills is another millenia old gem that not many are aware of. But those who do, swear to come back again and again, such is the pull. They say whoever goes to this temple with folded hands, devotion filled heart, and mind focussed on the Lord’s lotus feet, will not come back empty handed. He will go home with his wishes granted and with hope in life.
Also, the temple is so powerful spiritually that Lord, in the form of Yoga Srinivasa is standing there to bless his devotees, and help them move out of the problems they are in. This article is written to introduce this temple to those who haven’t heard about it.
Karighatta Sri Venkateshwara – a brief introduction
When we cruise along the 10-lane Bangaluru ~ Mysuru expressway towards Mysuru, and after we cross Srirangapatna, there is a left turn which when taken leads to this beautiful temple on Karighatta hills. On the hilltop, the “eagle’s eye” view of Srirangapatna town, an unending row of green paddy fields, green orchards, the beautiful landscape around the hill, and the confluence of the Kaveri and Lokapavani rivers makes it breathtakingly beautiful.
Additionally, the pleasing sounds of the temple bells, the sanskrit Mantras, the devotional songs played in the background praising the almighty, calms the mind. It elevates the consciousness and brings unexplainable joy and tranquility when meditated on the lotus feet of the Lord. No wonder, whoever visits there needs an extra push to leave the place to go home. His physical body may be in motion, but his heart stays there for sure, sunk deep in the joy.
The name Karighatta means “Elephant Hill” in Kannada. The hill has a temple devoted to the Lord Vishnu, also called “Kari Girivasa”. This deity is also referred to as “Lord Srinivasa”, who has another name “Bairagi Venkataramana” here. The epithet ‘Bairagi’ for this idol is derived from the fact that when ‘alankara’ – flower decoration, is done to the deity, it looks like a Bairagi (mendicant).
This place is mentioned in Varaha Purana as ‘Neelachala’, a Sanskrit word, which means ‘Blue Mountain. It is believed that worshiping the Lord and meditating on him at this temple can bring a lot of relief to the sufferings one may be going through in life.
How did the place get its name?
It is said that the hill got its name after a wild elephant, Kari attacked and killed four girls taking bath. To bring them back to life Sage Kutsamuni undertook a rigorous penance and requested the Lord to save His devotees. As per another legend, while building the bridge to Lanka to bring back Sita devi, Sugreeva brought this hillock, also called ‘Neelachala’ from Tirumala (Thirupathi). On his way several disciples of Lord Vishnu pleaded him to leave it here and so the hill remained here.
Dharbe (Hullu in Kannada, grass in English)
At the temple premises, there are sharp grasses, also called as Dharbe – hullu (grass) in Kannada, which is used for performing all sacred rites. In “Varaha Purana” it is said that when Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Varaha and shook his body some of the body hair fell on the ground near here the grass now seen here is believed to have come from his hair.
Legend has it that it was on this hill that the British had placed their cannons during the siege of Srirangapatna.
How to get there?
To reach the temple, either one can drive upto the hilltop OR the hilltop can be reached by climbing the stone steps (450 in number) from below. A winding paved road is used for vehicular transport.
Traveling from Bangaluru
The karighatta temple is around 124 kms from Bangaluru and one can drive down straight OR one can reach Srirangapatna town by KSRTC bus and take a taxi from there to the temple which is just 7.7 Kms away.
Traveling from Mysuru
From Mysuru take a taxi and reach the temple which is 25 kms away.
Rathotsava – temple car festival
The Rathotsava is held during Phalguna maasa (Feb ~ March month) and the car festival will be attended by thousands of people, as it is believed that pulling the chariot with the rope attached to it, burns away all sins. So, there is a craze for pulling the chariot among the devotees.
The temple timing
Temple timings: 10am to 2pm and on government holidays 10am to 7pm. There is no eatery on the hilltop. One must carry water, food and other essentials for use. There is no accommodation on top of the hill, so staying overnight is not possible. One can just visit the temple and enjoy nature’s beauty for a few hours and then return.