Kollur is the site of Sri Mookambika temple. It is at the extreme northeast of Udupi district, bordering Shimoga. Kollur was a sleepy little village, which sot into fame in 1980, after the late MGR (MG Ramachandran), the matinee idol and former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, presented a golden sword to the deity. Kollur is now a prosperous temple-town.
According to the sthala purana, Kaumasura, an asura, unleashed terror on the gods, using the powers that Lord Shiva had bestowed upon him. Sage Sukracharya then brought them the good news that he would be killed by a woman, namely Shakti. The news reached Kaumasura too, who then began a severe penance to invoke Shiva. The gods realized that Shiva's boon would be their doom. So they pleaded with the Goddess of Speech, Saaswati, to silence the asura: She made him dumb. Kaumasura henceforth came to be called Mookasura (mooka: dumb). Shakti, that is, Parvati, then killed Mookasura, and came to be known as Mookambika.
Kollur gets its name from sage kolan, who was so enchanted with the beauty of this place that he chose to do penance here. Pleased with his devotion, Shiva gave him a boon. Sage Kolan would, however, wish for nothing but the welfare of mankind. Shiva granted him his wish, and also drew with His toe a circle, from which emanated a Swayambhu Lingam. A swarna rekha (gold line) appeared on the Lingam, signifying the presence of Shakti, as desired by Kolam. It is said that the other gods in the Hindu pantheon also have their presence in the Lingam. Known as the Udhbava Lingam, its presence in front of Sri Mookambika is said to provide the Goddess great power. The Goddess, it is said, incorporates both the Shiva and Shakti aspects.
The temple is located on top of Kodachadri hill, at the foot of the Western Ghats, with the Souparnika flowing in the background. Though the temple was in existence from ancient times Venkatappa, th Ikkeri Nayak, erected the present structure in 1616. Kollur is said to be one of the seven places of pilgrimage created by Parasurama, and the sole centre of worship he created for Shakti or Parvati. It is said that the original temple was on top of the hills, which Adi Shankara relocated to the present setting. The Devi, who appeared in a vision, while he was meditating in the Kodachadri Hils, is reported to have told him that she would follow him, provided he did not look back as he walked. He could build a temple for Her at a spot where he could no longer hear the jungle of Her anklets, the Devi added. The temple now stands at the place where the sound stopped. Sankara installed the Sri Chakra in front of the deity, and also composed the Doundarya Lahiri here.
Much of the development of the temple has come about in the recent past. There is a covered corridor around the Sanctum. The four pillared Lakshmi Mandapam is richly carved. Inside, in the sanctum, sits Sri Mookambika, in all Her radiance. She sits in padmasana, with four hands. Of Her two hands, in the rear, one holds a discus, while the other grasps a conch. Incidentally, both te discus and the conch are the symbols Sri Maha Vishnu. She is heavily adored with jewels, gifted by monarchs and commoners alike. Sri Krishnadeva Raya had presented a gold mask for the Devi, and Rani Chennamma an emerald necklace (in the 19th century). There are sub-shrines for Sri Subramanya, Saraswati, etc.
How to get there :
Kollur is 36km from Kundapura, the nearest station, on the Konkan railway. It is 135km from Mangalore, the nearest airport. Udupi, the district headquarters, is 80km away. The town is very well connected by buses, but avoid travelling late in the evening you could be stranded.
Accommodation : The Devasthanam has good rooms, some distance away from the shrine, while private lodges encircle the temple.
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