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The Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, otherwise known as Kudroli Sri Gokarnanatha Kshetra, is in the Kudroli area of Mangalore in Karnataka, India. It was consecrated by Narayana Guru. It is dedicated to Gokarnanatha, a Hindu deity also known as Shiva. Compared to the other temples in and around Mangalore this temple was built recently.
The Billava community was traditionally suppressed by the upper caste treating them as untouchables. It is in such a scenario that the community found a messiah in Narayana Guru. Narayana Guru has been regarded as the uplifter of the downtrodden and a visionary social servant.
Learning about the work undertaken by Narayana Guru in establishing social equality through his temples in Kerala, a prominent Billava leader from the community Sahukar Koragappa visited the Guru along with the leaders of the community in 1908. The delegation appraised Narayana Guru about the problems faced by the Billawas.
Narayana Guru visited Mangalore on invitation from this delegation and ascertained for himself the exactness of the prevailing situation. After visiting, Narayana Guru selected the place in Kudroli and advised the community elders about a suitable location to build their temple; work began under his direction. Elders such as Sahukar Koragappa, B.R.Karkera took the initiative in ensuring smooth progress in the temple's construction.
Gokarnanatha Kshethra, Mangalore, foundation stone was originally laid by the couple Siri Amma Poojaarthi and Chennappa Poojaary in 1908. They were foster parents of Koragappa Poojaary. Chennappa Poojaary is the son of Ugga Poojaary who was responsible to build Brahma Baidarkala Garadi Kshethra, Kankannady, Mangalore in the year 1882. Later the divine Shiva Linga was consecrated by Narayana Guru in Gokarnanatha Kshethra.
Narayana Guru formally consecrated the temple in February 1912 with the establishment of sacred Shiva Linga, which was brought by him. He named this place as Gokarnanatha Kshethra. Narayana Guru advocated that all God's creation had the right to worship the Almighty and preached that people irrespective of the caste, creed or religion must worship one divine force, known by different names.
As per the Guru's advice, idols of Ganapathy, Subramanya, Annapoorneshwari, Bhairava, the Nava Grihas (Lords of nine planets), Shanishwara and Krishna are installed at the Kshethra. This has helped devotees worship at all these sannidanams (abodes) and seek blessings and solace for their problems. Sahukar Koragappa then donated the land needed for the Kshethra. He was also chosen as its first administrative head.
The temple was renovated in 1989 under the leadership of B. Janardhan Poojary and under the guidance of Somasunderam, son of Koragappa. Sthapadi K. Dakshinamoorthy was the architect who designed and built the present temple in the Chola style of architecture from its original Kerala style. The new gopuram is 60 feet in height and very beautiful. The renovated Gokarnanatha Kshethra was inaugurated by the prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. A marble statue of Narayana Guru was erected in the entrance of the temple and a crown studded with precious gems was given by the devotees. It's estimated the renovation cost Rs. 1 crore, and now it has become one of the largest temple in Mangalore.
Later in the year 2007 Bhagwaan Hanumaan Mandir was built in the Gokarnanatha Kshethra premises at the entrance under the leadership of B. Janardhan Poojary. Bhagwaan Hanumaan Mandir in turn adds beauty to the Kshethra.
The temple observes many festivals. Maha Shivaratri, Navrathri, Krishnashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Nagara Panchami, Deepavali, Dasara, Sri Narayana Jayanthi are celebrated with traditional gaiety and splendour. It has worshipers from all over the world. The temples branches are in Mulki, Udupi and Katpady. In addition to idols of Sharada Matha and Maha Ganapati, life-size idols of Nava Durgas are installed in the premises in an attractive way during Navaratri. All religious rites are observed for the entire period. Tableaux form a special part of the festivities and are taken around the main thoroughfares of Mangalore. Idols are then immersed in the well-decorated temple ponds in the presence of devotees.
The dasara festival is celebrated with much grandeur. The dasara celebrations of this temple is popularly called Mangalore Dasara. Mangalore Dasara was started by B.R.Karkera.
The birthday of Sri Narayana Guru is ceremoniously followed. The Kshethra also follows the ritual of feeding devotees who visit it daily. Community Sri Satyanarayana Pooja, Sri Shani Pooja, free mass marriages and distribution of scholarship to deserving students are traditions, too. Today, the Kshethra attracts devotees from all religions and communities. The Billava community has come of age. The Kshethra can be rightly called the melting pot of all religions symbolising unity in diversity.
Mangalore Dasara is celebrated in a very spectacular way by worshiping the idol of Ganesh, Adhi Shakthi Maatha, Sharada Maatha, Navadurgas such as Shaila Puthri Maatha, Brahmachaarini Maatha, Chandrakaantha Maatha, Kushmaandini Maatha, Skanda Maatha, Kathyaahini Maatha, Maha Kaali Maatha, Maha Gowri Maatha and Siddhi Dhaathri Maatha. All these idols are grandly worshiped for nine days of navarathri. On the tenth day, these idols are taken in the grand procession of Mangalore Dasara throughout the city; the procession returns to Gokarnanatha Kshethra on the next day morning where all the above idols are immersed in the lake inside the temple premises.
This temple is situated in Kudroli area (about 5 km from the City Bus Stand) in the city of Mangalore.
- The information is referred from the original record of the Gokarnanatha Kshethra.
- Kudroli Sri Gokarnatheshwara temple