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Spiden Gasteracantha hasselti found in Kalasa
Spiden Gasteracantha hasselti found in Kalasa
Kalasa is located in Karnataka
Location in Karnataka, India
Coordinates: 13°14′02″N 75°21′19″E / 13.2340°N 75.3553°E / 13.2340; 75.3553Coordinates: 13°14′02″N 75°21′19″E / 13.2340°N 75.3553°E / 13.2340; 75.3553
Country India
807 m (2,648 ft)
 • OfficialKannada
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
577 124
Telephone code08263
Vehicle registrationKA-18

Kalasa is a holy temple-town and Taluk located in Chikkamagaluru district in Karnataka. Kalasa is home to the Kalaseshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva[1]. Kalasa lies 92 Kilometres South-west of Chickmagalur and is located on the banks of the Bhadra River.

Origins and Etymology[edit]

The origins of Kalasa are traceable to Mythology. Although unsubstantiated, local myths attribute the origin of Kalasa to an event mentioned found in the Skanda Purana.

Accordingly, the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvathi in Himalayas caused a shift in the Earth's rotation because of the attendance of all Gods and Goddesses. To restore the Earth's balance, Lord Shiva requested Sage Agasthya to travel South. Agasthya however, expressed his wish to witness the wedding. Lord Shiva assured to grant divine vision to the sage, which would enable him to witness the wedding from any part of the world.

Agasthya travelled southward and resided in Kalasa from where he watched the wedding. Local legends state that a pilgrimage to Kalasa brings greater religious merit (punya) than a visit to Varanasi.

The Girija Kalyana (marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvathi) is celebrated in Kalasa every year to commemorate this tradition. This auspicious occasion falls on Karthika Shuddha Ekadashi of Lunar calendar.

Other legends also state that Sage Vasishta had lived in a hermitage near Kalasa as also the Skanda Dwaya.

Santara dynasty[edit]

History of this rewgion is also be associated with Santara or Bhairarasa dynasty. Santara or Bhairarasa is the name of a medieval ruling dynasty of Karnataka, India.

Jinadatta Raya or Jindutt Rai, a Jain prince from Mathura in Northern India was the supposed founder of the dynasty. He is said to have migrated to the town of Humcha with an idol of the Jain deity Padmavati, laying the foundation of the kingdom in Humcha. The area covered by their kingdom included territories in the Malenadu region as well as the coastal districts of Karnataka. The dynasty founded by Jinadatta appears to have split into two branches by the 12 century C.E. One branch being stationed in Hosagunda of Shimoga district and Kalasa in the Western ghats, chikkamagalur district. Gradually these branches (or only the Kalasa branch) shifted their capitals to Keravashe (14km north-east of Karkala) and Karkala both in the old South Canara district. Hence the territory they ruled was also known as the Kalasa-Karkala kingdom.

Edgar Thurston mentions that the Bhairarasas or Santaras were among the powerful Bunt[2] chiefs who seem to have exercised control over a greater part of the Tuluva country before the rise of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Santaras were Jains and had matrimonial relations with the Saivite Alupa royal family of the canara region. The Santaras built a number of Jain monuments and were responsible for the spread of Jainism in the Tulu Nadu and Malenadu region of Karnataka. During this period the Santara ruler Veera Pandya Bhairarasa erected the monolith of Bahubali in Karkala.

The Santaras became the feudatories of the Vijayanagara Empire after its rise.

The dynasty passed into oblivion after invasions by the Nayakas of Keladi and later by Hyder Ali


The word Kalasa is a corruption of the Sanskrit root, Kalasha, which means a waterpot or jug. In the context of Hindu temple architecture, every temple should have a round pinnacle placed at the top, known as the Kalasha.

Geographically, Kalasa is surrounded by the Bhadra river on three sides with the Duggappana Katte hill at the South. Viewed from an altitude, the town resembles a pot, hence the name. The Kalaseshwara temple is located at the base of this hill.


Kalasa is chiefly a temple town, and a tourist spot. It is considered a place of pilgrimage by most visitors who arrive in Kalasa to offer their prayers in the Kalaseshwara, and other temples. A typical trip includes visiting Sringeri, Kalasa, and Horanadu, all in the same day. Kalasa is situated at an elevation of 807 m above sea level.[3]

Kalasa largely has an agricultural economy and heavily depends on the Bhadra river to meet its water needs. Chief produces include a variety of spices, Coffee, and Ayurvedic medicine. Situated in the heart of the Western Ghats, Kalasa enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year although summers are slightly hot.

In the 2019-20 Karnataka State Budget Chief minister H.D Kumaraswamy announced Kalasa as Taluk

Tourist Places[edit]

The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport formerly known as Bajpe airport at Mangalore, which is 110 kilometres away from Kalasa.[4] Although Kalasa is pilgrimage spot, it abounds in several tourist attractions such as water spots and of late, private resorts.


The Kalaseshwara temple is the chief temple of the town. It is currently managed by the Government of Karnataka. Kalasa is notable for these temples:

  • Kalaseshwara Temple
  • Girijamba Temple
  • Hanuman Temple
  • Venkataramana Temple
  • Ranjal Mahalakshmi Temple
  • Vasishta Ashrama
  • Shree Chandranatha Swamy Temple

Pancha Theerthas[edit]

Kalasa contains five major water spots, within an approximate distance of 8 Kilometres from the town. Together, these are known as Pancha Theerthas (literally, Five Sacred Waters). Each Theertha is associated with a myth drawn mostly from the Hindu Mythology. People offer worship at these Theerthas as part of their pilgrimage to Kalasa.

  • Vasishta Theertha--Named after Sage Vasishta
  • Naga Theertha--Named in honour of the Snake God, attributable to Lord Shiva.it is believed bathing here will remove Nagashapa/Nagadosha.
  • Koti Theertha--To signify koti Devatha stayed here during first Girja Kalyana celebrated to please Aghsthya.
  • Rudra Theertha--Named after Lord Rudra (Shiva)is also called Rudrapada., similar to Vishnupada of Gaya it is believed that offering Pinda during pithru Karya is as auspious to Gaya Shradda
  • Amba Theertha-- Named after Goddess Parvati.


Each year, Kalasa celebrates several festivals to mark different events. The date for each festival is decided early in the year based on the Hindu Calendar. A typical practice during each festival is to take out the Utsava Murthy (Procession Idol) of a temple in a procession throughout the town and bring it back to the temple.

Kalasa celebrates these festivals every year:

  • Girija Kalyana--To celebrate the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvathi. It starts amavasya to harihara hunnime. Kalayana mahotsava is performed by three family who came with agastya muni from kashi. The names of three family are hoskere,mavinakere and kunikere.
  • Kalasa Car Festival--The annual car festival or the Rathotsava where the Utsava Murthy (Procession Idol) taken in a procession throughout the town.
  • Venkataramana Swamy Temple Car Festival--This is similar to the car festival, where the Procession Idol of Venkataramana Swamy is taken out.

Other Temples near Kalasa[edit]

  • Horanaadu- Shri Annapoorneshwari temple, 8 Kilometers from kalasa
  • Haluvalli - Shri Mahaganapati Subrahmanyeshwara temple, 5 Kilometers from Kalasa
  • Balehole - Shri Chenakeshava Temple, 12 Kilometers from Kalasa


  1. ^ https://kalasheshwaraswamytemple.kar.nic.in
  2. ^ Thurston, Edgar; K. Rangachari (1909). Castes and Tribes of Southern India Volume 1.Pg. 152 Madras: Government Press
  3. ^ "Elevation of Kalasa".
  4. ^ http://www.karnatakaholidays.com/kudremukh-national-park.php

Image gallery[edit]

External links[edit]