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Udupi: Rare Brahma Temple Consecrated

Udupi: Rare Brahma Temple Consecrated

Author: Team Mangalorean, Udupi
Publication: Mangalorean.com
Date: May 26, 2009
URL: http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=broadcast&broadcastid=126360

A very rare Brahma temple dating back to nearly hundred years was recently on May 14 renovated and consecrated with the Brahma Kalasha. The temple is located atop the Kumblegudde or Kallechi Mountain which is in the centre of Palli nearer to Udupi district. Before the country's independence in 1947, there was a wooden idol of the deity at the spot, which had broken into pieces due to nature's fury and hence replaced with a stone one. But over the years even this stone idol along with the temple was badly damaged and needed urgent repairs. Thus the temple was renovated and restored to its former glory by members of the Palli Pejakodange family ably lead by Palli Jagdish Hegde and his team.

Although there are three major gods in Hinduism such as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, Brahma is rarely worshipped by Hindus. According to stories narrated in Hindu mythology various curses on Lord Brahma, is supposed to have prevented him from being worshipped on Earth. Moreover, according to the ancient puranas, Lord Brahmâ is regarded more as a Creator of God/Brahman and not necessarily regarded as God himself in Hinduism. Hence, India today has very few temples dedicated to Lord Brahma alone, as opposed to the tens of thousands of temples dedicated to the other deities such as Vishnu and Shiva. Among the famous ones is the Brahma temple at Pushkar in Rajasthan, other known ones include those in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat, Kullu Valley and a temple in Thirunavaya. But none that is known in Karnataka, hence this temple at Palli may be the only known Brahma temple in the region.

This Brahma temple is located at 350 feet on top of the Kallechi Mountain with a breathtaking panoramic view of the region particularly of Manipal, Nitte, Kudremukh with even the Nagarjuna power plant being visible. The temple is located at a distance of about 19 kms from Udupi and Karkala equally. The Palli Pejakodange Bunt family's ancestors date back to nearly 500 years. The head of the family then was a female chieftain Baalu Maadedhi. It is said that Baalu Maadedhi's name even features in one of the Tirupati edifices as having made a hefty donation there in those days. She had two heirs Palli and Yellyal which in Tulu means elder and younger daughter respectively. The rest of the Palli Pejakodange families are believed to be the direct descendents of these girls in the respective places at Palli and Yellyal. The entire Palli temple renovation work was taken up a month back and against tremendous odds duly completed. It was rebuilt with huge granite stones with yeomen effort and co-operation from the localites especially the transporting of the construction materials to the top of the mountain. In fact, the work was done by localites with out any payment, in the evening till late night as during day time the heat would be unbearable.

There are a few significant aspects relating to the place and temple. One was that in the Kallechi Moutain there is a huge 'surang' tunnel passing below the temple, right down to the ground level of the mountain, in which tigers are said to often come and take refuge. Moreover nearer to the ground level on the mountain there is a well filled with pure water which is utilized by the devotees. However, people here state that when the traditional Kambla which is a race of buffaloes takes place a few distances away, the water at the said well too gets muddied, due to the race. Another significant aspect pertaining to the temple is that the entire temple is built from granite stones and copper but no iron metal is used in keeping with the ancient wisdom. According to the Hindu Shastras use of metals like iron is forbidden in temple structures as iron, is mystically considered the crudest, most impure of metals. Moreover the presence of iron is said to attract lower impure forces. By and large gold, silver, copper, granite is used in the structure so that only the most sublime forces are invoked during the pujas.

The Brahma Kalasha ceremony of the newly renovated temple at Palli began early in the morning with the various rituals associated with it, thereby bringing the temple to life. Firstly the vastu puja on intricate rangoli and rice designs on the ground close to the temple was performed. Then the kalasha ceremony began with 108 copper kalashas (pots) filled with holy water brought from various religious places. The kalashas were decorated with mango leaves in the mouth of the pots and a coconut placed over it. Colorful threads were also tied around its neck and the pots were decorated with designs. The kalasha is considered very auspicious and duly worshipped. The waters from the holy rivers, the knowledge of all the Vedas and the blessings of all the deities are invoked in the kalasha and its water is thereafter used for all the rituals, including the abhisheka. Thus the consecration (kumbha abhisheka) of the Palli Brahma temple was done in a grand manner with elaborate rituals including the pouring of 108 kalashas of holy water on the top of the deity inside the temple.

The puja was conducted by the head priest of the family Shreesha Tantri. Although there was no rain in the region, but when the abhisheka took place it started raining which was considered by many to be a very auspicious beginning indeed, for the temple. After which there was the bootha darshana, which in the course of the ritual expressed it's satisfaction at all the work done. Prasadams were distributed to the devotees at the end of the ceremony. After which there was a community luncheon (anna santharpane) on plantain leaves for all those who had assembled. Also for entertainment there was a singing troupe which kept the crowds enthralled with religious songs.

There were nearly one thousand devotees and family members at the venue, all of whom had climbed the steep mountain range to reach there. Usually only two days of the month a puja is held at the Brahma temple at Palli, one during Sankranti and another during Amavasya (New Moon Day) and yearly there is 'Tambila' which is a special puja performed.

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