Rajesh Naik

Rajesh Naik



Ancient Temples of Karnataka – 245 Anantheshwara @ Udupi This Gajaprushthakara (apsidal) style temple constructed in 8th century is the third oldest temple of Udupi. It consists of garbhagruha, antarala, navaranga, pradakshina patha, pauli, hajara, balipeetha and dhwajastambha.

The temple has the most attractive balipeetha in the district. The 40ft tall dhwaja stambha is of Vijayanagara times. Temple was known as Mahadeva temple as mentioned in an inscription slab of 1357. During early 17th century name of the temple was changed to Anantheshwara temple.

In an inscription of 1366 there is a reference to two Shiva temples in Udupi named Padudeva and Mududeva. Padudeva is this temple and Mududeva is the Chandramouleshwara temple located in front of this temple.

Anantheshwara is the mula temple of Udupi. Four Devi temples were built in 4 directions and 4 Skanda temples were built remaining 4 directions with Anantheshwara temple at the center. Udupi had a perfect temple system in place during 11th century itself.

From ancient records, inscriptions and study by historians there is no doubt whatsoever that it is a Shiva temple. But Vaishnavas believe that Ananthapadmanabha is seated on the sheshapeetha in garbhagruha in the form of a linga!!! They have been preaching it from centuries!

Surrounded by Vaishnava entities it would be interesting to see for how long Mahadeva remains as Mahadeva. There was a failed attempt in 2017 to change the name of the temple to Ananthasana. The name board was taken down after protests. Photo Credit: Shri S R Joisa, Bengaluru.

The temple trustee is the head of one of the ashta mathas. In 2003, issue went to court asking the temple to be handed over to them. Matter is still in court only because of the irrefutable evidence available to prove beyond doubt that it is a SHIVA temple.

It is in the best interests of Sanathana Dharma to let this temple be what it is - Mahadeva’s abode. If Vishnu not content with Vaikuntha, is to fight with Shiva that Kailasa also belongs to him, then that is the beginning of the end of our Dharma.

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