Kaiwara is a small town in the Chickballapur district of Karnataka state, located northeast of Bangalore, India. Kaiwara is a popular place to visit, as it is very close to Bangalore (about 65 km away), the capital of Karnataka. Free boarding (prasada) and well-maintained, low-cost accommodation is available at the ashram. Chintamani Town is the nearest Taluk Centre and a business hub of this part of Karnataka.
As of the 2001 Indian census, Kaiwara's population was 5,488, of which 2,792 were male and 2,696 female.
Kaiwara is famous for Saint Narayanappa (1730-1840 AD), popularly known as Kaiwara Narayana Thata ನಾರಾಯಣ ತಾತ in Kannada and Narayana Thatayya in Telugu, who was a bilingual poet. He lived there during the last half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. Narayanappa prophesized and composed Keertanas (poems in praise of the Lord in different forms) in praise of Amara Narayanaswamy, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, in both Kannada and Telugu languages.
The Keertanas are comparable to famous Keertanakaras of Karnataka such as Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa. Thatayya also appears to have been influenced by Vemana Kavi and Veera Bramhendra Swamy of present-day Andhra Pradesh, and Sarvajna of present-day Karnataka. One of his writings is the Bramanandpuri Shatakka, in which he explains all the nuances of yoga in depth and detail.
In one of his poems, half of each line is in Kannada, and the other half in the Telugu language. This poem has been sung by Sri Balamurali Krishna, one of the most famous and versatile Indian musicians of present times.
Kaiwara has an ashram dedicated to the Thatayya that has become a pilgrimage and a tourist destination because of the cave in which Thatayya meditated and attained the supreme spiritual enlightenment. The ashram, the cave, Amara Narayanaswamy temple, Vaikunta (temple) by the side of the cave, and the hillock (on which Bheema is supposed to have killed the Bakasura) are all places worth visiting.
The town was known as Ekachakrapura in Dwaparayuga. The Pandavas of India's greatest epic Mahabharata lived here during their vanavasa (period spent in the forest). Bheema, the brother of Dharmaraja, has established a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (Bheemalingeswara temple). A park that is maintained by the forest department of Karnataka is located nearby.
Points of interest
Amaranarayana Swamy Temple: The temple of Sri Venkateshwara was established in the form of Amaranarayana, god of eternal life. It is said to have direct connection between the temple of Tirupathi, where Sri Tatayyanavaru worshipped both Amaranarayana and Tirupathi Thimmappa at the same time. Once, there was a fire near Thimmappa's foot at Thirupathi, and it was Tatayya who extinguished the fire. Another important observation in God's sculpture is that the charm of Amaranarayana overtakes that of Thimmappa. Also there is saying that, the deity was installed by Lord Indra. During the period of Lord Rama's exile, they stayed in this temple for shelter. Thus there is a small sculptor of Lord Rama, Seeta Devi and Lord Lakshmana in this temple. Aranya Rama Temple or Rameshwara swami temple is located very near to the Amaranarayana temple and this shrine is dedicated to Lord Rama, where he resides with his wife Sita devi and brother Lakshmana.
Laxmana Theertha: Located on top of the hill in front of Chamundeshwari temple, Laxmana Theertha dates back to the period of Thretha Yuga. While in exile, Rama, Seetha and Laxmana were said to have gone there. Laxmana used an arrow to make a hole in the rock to get water for Seetha, who was extremely thirsty.
Kanyakaparameshwari temple: This is a newly built temple. The goddess Vasavi Kanyakaparameshwari Deity has been installed here. We can also see Lord Ranganatha Swamy and Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi Deity's in this temple. The Goddess Vasavi is the sacred god of Vaishyas community. There is a Venugopala swami temple close to this temple.
Yoginarayana Mutt: Ashram dedicated to the Thatayya where he was buried alive as a ritual of Jeevasamadhi. Thatayya did all his meditation in a cave which is 3 km from Kaiwara and they call it as Gavi. During his period of meditation, a tiger and a leopard used to guard him and few years later he was enlightened.
Bheemalingeshwara Temple: During Agnathavaasa of Pandava, they stayed in Kaiwara (then Ekachakrapura) for one year. During their stay, Bheema fought the demon Bakasura, put the demon into a cave and blocked it with a huge rock. The rock came to be called Bakasurana Bande (Bakasura's Rock). After taking a life, Bheema was burdened with Bramhahatyadosha (sin of killing). To rid himself of it, Bheema established a Shivalinga (a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva used for worship in temples), followed by his brothers and mother. Later temples were built and came to be known as Bheemalingeshwara temple.
Yoganarasimha swamy Temple, Vaikunta and Thatayya Cave:Yoganarasimha swamy Temple is at a distance of about one kilometer from the Mutt on a small hill called Vaikunta. There is a cave here in which Thatayya meditated and attained the supreme spiritual enlightenment.
Hilltop: A place in which the footprints of Bheema and Bakasura's fighting are preserved. At the pinnacle of the hill is a stone where Bheema used to meditate daily. Prints of his one foot and knee have been seen in this location.
A National park and a small zoo is maintained by the department of forestry with a few animals and birds. This place is around Vaikunta.
Kailasagiri cave temples of Lord Shiva and Ambaji Durga cave temple on a rock hill top are located about 7 km from Kaiwara, which are being restored. The magnitude of the cave and the efforts made to construct the temple are impressive. At the foothills of the Kailasagiri/Ambajidurga for the benefit of devotees free Prasadam distribution centre is arranged.
Other places of interest near Kaiwara include Temple of Lord Venkateswara in Alamgiri.