The Mekekattu Nandikeshwara Temple is a historical location situated 20 kilometers from Kundapura near Saibra katte. The place is close to Barkur in Shirya village. As per legend, the temple was built by Parshurama and is considered to be at least 1000 years old. It’s said to attract large crowd during Sankaranti festival, especially during annual festival, Hasara and Sedi.
About the Temple
Unlike traditional Hindu temples, the idols are all made of wood. This ensures that no Abhisheka is performed in this temple. The deities are 10ft tall and colourfully painted. The deities last around 150-200 years after which they are remade and were last remade in 1970, and repainted in 2007. The place in and around Barkur had 365 temples out of which only 5 are functional. The rest have been destroyed.
About The Deity
The temple is said to worship Nandi the bull. The lord’s army is found inside the temple while the enemy warriors are found outside. The deities are not moved except when replaced. Only the Tiger idol is taken outside the temple during Shankranthi. The statues have various types of head dressing like Persian Hats, Sikh Turban, Maratha Hats and typical Muslim hats. The weapons range from huge swords, dagger to primitive guns. Surprisingly, women warriors are also found in the army. Most of the wooden statues are in warrior dress, giving an impression that this entire row of wooden statues are made to remember an incidence of war that would have taken place here during 1600-1700 AD.
Legend and Stories
This place has two legends associated with it. The first is related to Sage Parashurama. It is considered the creation of Sage Parashurama. When drought hit this area, Sage Agastya came to perform Yajna to please the rain god. During the Yajna, the Asura Kumbha started bothering the sages. To rescue the sages Bhima killed the demon with the help of the sword gifted by lord Ganesha. The other tale as told by the head priest of the temple is associated with the Alupas Dynasty. Their influence over coastal Karnataka lasted for about 1000 years. It’s believed that the temple was built by one of the kings of Alupas dynasty. However the name of the King is unknown. The King of Barkur was attacked by the neighbouring King and went to seek help from a sage in Jambur. The sage helped the king by requesting Lord Shiva (who had agreed to grant the sage’s wish) to send his army. The might army of Lord Shiva commanded by Nandi defeated the enemy and thus securing the kingdom. The King later built the temple for Lord Shiva’s army for their help.
The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport. The nearest railhead is in Kundapura. Mekekattu can be reached by Road from nearby towns like Mangalore/Udupi/Kundapura. Typical route will be- Mangaluru-Udupi-Brahmavara-Barkuru-Shiriyara (Buses that go towards Haladi from Brahmavara can drop you off at this place). Alternatively you can connect from Kundapura town either via Bidkalkatte or Saybarakatte.
Mekekattu Nandikeshwara Temple Rd,
Shiriyara, Near Kundapura,
Udupi, Karnataka, India.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.