This temple is situated on right banks of Kapila (Kabini) River and is one of the oldest and biggest temples in Karnataka. The Shiva Linga in the temple is believed to be installed by the sage Gauthama who had stayed here for some time. This Shiva Linga was also worshiped by Parashurama when he had stayed for some time in this town on his journey to get cleansed from the sin of beheading his mother. This temple has 3 main deities, Lord Nanjundeshwara, Goddess Parvathi (wife of Lord Shiva) and Lord Vishnu with Sridevi and Bhudevi. The temple had been under frequent expansion in phases and contributions from different rulers of the region for about 10 centuries by Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas, Krishnadevaraya, Dalavoys and Wodeyaras from 9th century to 19th century. When Tippu Sultan's royal elephant had lost its eyesight, he worshiped Lord Nanjundeshwara and had faith in him. The eyesight of the elephant got recovered and Lord Nanjundeshwara was called as "Hakim Nanjundeshwara" by Tippu Sultan. Tippu Sultan then donated a Shiva Lingam made of jade (precious green stone) along with an emerald necklace to the temple. Hakim means doctor, Lord Nanjundeshwara is also called as "Vaidya Nanjundeshwara" and is even today said to be a healer for his devotees. The temple's main entrance is facing eastwards and has a Gopura (tower) on the entrance which is about 120 feet high and is one of the largest Gopuras in Karnataka. It has seven stories and has seven gold plated Kalasas on the top of the Gopura. The Shivalinga (Idol of Lord Shiva) is about 1 m in height. The other deities in the temple are Ganesh, Subramanya (Muruga or Karthikeyan), Goddess Sharada (Saraswathi), Chandikeshwara, Navagraha, and Nandi (Bull). There are more than 100 lingas in the temple which are of different kinds and sizes of which Sahasra Linga is not to be missed. The Srikanteshwara (Nanjundeshwara) Linga is the oldest one.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- To get cured of various diseases
- To get cured from poisoning
- To cleanse themselves of sins committed
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.
6 a.m. to 1 p.m. 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.