Kollur Mookambika temple is a very renowned temple in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It is said to be one of the seven abodes of salvation created by Parashurama. Mookambika temple is in Kollur, which is in the Udupi district of Karnataka. This temple is dedicated to art and knowledge. Goddess Mookambika is regarded as the Goddess of speech and letters. The idol of the Devi was made using “Panchaloha” (five metals) – gold, silver, copper, iron, and lead.
The story goes that the great philosopher and theologian, Adi Shankaracharya, was responsible for establishing the Kollur Mookambika temple. He also expounded the Advaita Vedanta, and he was also the founder of Dashanami Sampradaya.
History and legends
Kollur Mookambika temple has a hoary history dating back 1200 years ago. The temple enjoyed the patronage of many royals. Apart from the local kings, the famous kings of the Keladi dynasty, Shankanna Nayaka and Shivappa Nayaka, had donated generously to the temple and also made renovations.
Adi Shankara was a great devotee of Goddess Saraswati. One day, the Goddess, who was pleased by his bhakti, appeared before him and agreed to go with him to Kerala, as he wanted to establish a temple for her there.
But the Goddess had a condition to which he had to agree. She said that she would follow him all the way to Kerala, but Adi Shankara was not allowed to turn back and check if she was following him. If he did so, the Goddess would not go any further and would stop right there.
The philosopher agreed to her condition, and both of them began walking, with Adi Shankara walking in front and the Goddess walking behind him. After some time, Shankara could not feel the Goddess’ presence behind him, and so he turned to see if she was still there. He was glad to find that she was, indeed, following him, but the moment he turned back, Goddess Saraswati came to a stop and refused to walk further, according to the condition she had laid down. She then suggested that he install her idol at Kollur, the place where she had stopped in her tracks. Adi Shankara pleaded with her to forgive his mistake and continue walking, and finally, the Goddess agreed to a compromise solution. She said that she would preside at the Chottanikkara Temple in the mornings but return to the Kolllur Temple by noon.
Kaumasura and the Devi
Mythology related to the temple says that a demon called Kaumasura was slain by the Goddess at this temple. Kaumasura had done severe penance to get some boons that would make him powerful and invincible. But Goddess Parvathi, sensing his evil intentions, deprived him of his powers of speech so that he could not talk or ask for boons. For this reason, Kaumasura came to be called Mookasura. However, thanks to Shukracharya’s blessings, he recovered his powers of speech again. Then he unleashed a reign of terror. When his actions became too unbearable, Goddess Parvathi took a powerful form and descended to earth to end his reign of terror. After killing him, she came to be called Mookambika. This is how the Goddess in Kollur was called Devi Mookambika, and the name, Kollur Mookambika, came to be used. The locals, who were grateful to the Goddess for rescuing them from Kaumasura, also began to worship her.
Chitramoolam and Ambavanam are places where Adi Shankara meditated, and these are located in the Kodachadri hills. Many ancient Hindu kings patronized this temple, and priceless treasures of the past were found here. This temple was the state temple for the Nagara or Bednore Rajas. They and their Vijayanagara overlords are said to have gifted some of the jewelry that adorns the idol. When the Marathas raided this district in the 18th century, gold, silver, and gems worth crores were taken away by the raiders.
Significance of the temple
Kollur Mookambika Devi is the form of Adi Lakshmi, the creator and protector of all life. The temple used to be the site of Shakti worship for many centuries. The Goddess here is revered as Vagdevatha (Goddess of Speech and Letters). This is supposedly the only shrine that is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. The Goddess is seen here in the form of Jyotir-Linga, a fusion of both Shakti and Shiva. The Temple is an important seat of Shakti worship in India. Here, the Goddess is worshipped in 3 forms – Parvati, Saraswati, and Lakshmi. The right half of the Jyotirlinga here represents Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The left half represents Goddesses Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi. This temple is one among the 7 Muktisthala pilgrimage sites in Karnataka. Vidhyaramba ceremony (initiation to learning for children) can be performed here on any suitable day. There is a rare sculpture of Panchamukha (five-faced) Ganesha here. The Garuda Cave at the banks of the Sowparnika river is believed to be the place where Suparna (Garuda) did penance to please the Goddess.
Among the devotees who visit the temple are politicians, film stars, and other celebrities. The Kollur Mookambika temple is a very popular pilgrimage destination in South India. Most of the devotees are from Kerala, and others are from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The annual festival at the temple is celebrated during the festival of Navratri. In the month of Phalguna (March-April), on Moola Nakshatra day which is the birthday of the Goddess, too, large crowds visit the temple. Every day, Trikala Pooja is performed at the temple. At 5: am in the mornings, Nirmalaya Pooja is performed. At this time, people will be able to see the Swayambhu Lingam.
The idol of the Devi is set up on ‘Shri Chakra Yantra’. It is said to be the Goddess’ most powerful form. The rituals that are performed in the temples are according to the Vijayagama system, formulated by Adi Shankara. On the western side of the sanctorum is the Shankara Peetha.
The Mookambika Devi Mantra is a Sloka on the Goddess who bestows courage, wisdom, and wealth. It is usually recited before starting a new activity like Akshara abyasa on Vijaya Dashami day, annaprasnam, and even the start of each day to bring in success and prosperity.
Nana kanchi vichithra vasthra sahitham
Nana vidhar bhooshitham
Nana pushpa sukandha malya sahitham,
Nana janaa sevitham
Nana veda purana sasthra vinutham,
Nana kalir pradham
Nana roopa dharmam- mahesha mahishim Mookambika,
O Devi Mookambika, I meditate upon her who clothes herself in various attires who is adorned in different ways, Who wears garlands of different flowers, Who is worshipped by different types of people, Who is recognized in different Puranas, Vedas, and Shastras, Who bestows various blessings, Who takes various forms and who is the consort of Mahesha, that is you Devi Mookambika. Please show concern for us, Devi!!