Article By Shreelatha Nayak Kodialbail
Pics By Sudhir B
Mangalore, Feb 26: Kudroli Shri Bhagavathi Temple, located in a two-acre plot in the heart of Mangalore, celebrated Bharani Mahotsava, a grand 10-day festival, from Feb 17 – 25.
This temple, which is about 8 centuries old, was recently renovated without damaging its historic worth. Artisans from Kerala and Karnataka constructed four complexes with carved wood and black granite. The centerpiece of the temple is an ancient Veerastambha, which is a single block of carved granite. Shri Cheerumbha Bhagavathi, Shri Padangara Bhagavathi, and Pullurali Bhagavathi are the presiding deities of this unique temple.
A maha puja offered to Shri Chirumbha Bhagavathi marked the beginning of the first day of the Bharani Mahotsava. This was followed by the bali utsava in which the idol of the deity was taken around the temple in a palanquin.
The second day commenced with a maha pooja to Shri Padangara Bhagavathi, followed by the Betikala and the Veerastambha Darshan. At midnight, the 3 deities were taken in procession to the Bhagavathi Katte, which is a platform near Canara College, and then returned to the temple for the long-anticipated “Kenda Seve,” a form of worship by individual devotees.
Kenda Seve is the act of walking barefoot over a bed of burning coals. This form of devotion forms a part of several cultures and has been in vogue from several thousands of years. The purpose of this ancient practice is to test a devotee’s faith and to strengthen his/her sense of self-worth. A bed of coals was prepared in the temple premises and devotees took a brisk walk over it in a bid to overcome fear and regain their personal power. This religious event was conducted by the chief priests of the temple. Kenda Seve will be observed for 2 days at the temple.
The third day was dedicated to Shri Pullurali Bhagavathi. From the fourth day Feb 20, all the pujas and other religious ceremonies were performed before the sanctum sanctorum of Shri Chirumbha Bhagavathi. On this day, the holy flag of the temple was hoisted and the usual pujas were offered to the deities.
On Feb 21, Sunday, religious ceremonies such as Poothalam Bali, Pushpakala, and Murthy Darshan were conducted. On Feb 22, Monday, Kanchila Seve was organized. Female children dressed in cream garments and adorned with flowers were taken in a procession by their fathers in fulfillment of a vow made before the deities.
On Feb 23, Tuesday, Chathurkala or Chaduranga Kala was held, in which the priests of the temple carried the deities on their heads and walked 64 times around the sanctum sanctorum, accompanied by traditional musicians. On Feb 24, Wednesday, devotees gathered in the temple to watch the priest carrying the deities on his head and dancing to the tune of musical instruments with snake-like movements called “Sarpakala.”
Feb 25, Thursday, is the last day of the Bharani Mahotsava. A Bhoota Kola in honor of Dhoomavathi Banta Daiva Nemotsava was organized. This ancient form of worship is still prevalent in several parts of Udupi, DK, and Kasargod. The impersonator (pathri) and his companion will dance to the special Bhootha Kola music and present solutions to devotees’ problems.
During these 10 days, a number of cultural programmes such as musical concerts, Tulu dramas, Yakshagana, and dance performances by various troupes were held.