RAJARAJESHWARI TEMPLE- divine bliss in concrete jungle
Less than 1km from the eye-catching Rajeshwari Entrance Arch on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. In the early 1960’s His Holiness Sri Tiruchi Swamigal had established Kailas Ashram at Kenchanalli, a remote village close by the Vrushabhavathi river. The same village is now a posh locality, Rajeshwarinagar. Later, Swamiji built a temple dedicated to Goddess Sri Rajarajeshwari Ashram seer had chosen Kenchanahalli for the temple and the ashram, as there are Puranic legends about the place, where Sage Athreya and his devout wife Anusuya are believed to have lived. The eye-catching temple, built in the Dravidian style of architecture, has five Rajagopuras.
However, the main attraction is the six-feet tall, inspring stone image of Divine Mother Sri Raja Rajeshwari, also worshipped as Mother Sri Gnanakshi. Devotees from distant places can be seen in long queues at the temple, particularly on Tuesdays and Fridays. During the annual Brahmarathotsava and the Navarathri festival, the devotees offer special pujas, homas, rathotsavas. Cultural programmes are also held on all the nine days of Navarathri Utsav at the temple. Later, Swamiji built a temple dedicated to Goddess Sri RajaRajeshwari and SRI CHAKRA TEMPLE.
The Temple of Sri Jnanakshi Rajarajeshwari is a magnificent edifice in pure granite. Verily a masterpiece among the recent monuments in the whole of Karnataka. It is an excellent specimen of Dravidian religious architecture, and is built strictly in accordance with the agama prescriptions. With its finely carved pillars (Sthambha) and beautifully dressed walls (Bhitti) it presents a charming spectacle. It is complete with an elevated sanctum (garbha griha), a porch (antarala), an open pillared hall (Mukha Mantapa), a wide circumambulatory path (Pradikshina patha) and an inner courtyard. In the sanctum sanctorum (garbha griha) can be seen the splendid stone image (six feet in height) of the Divine Mother Sri Jnanakshi Rajarajeshwari, seated on a throne with her right leg folded and placed across the seat, while her left leg is bent at the knee and stretched below to rest on a lotus in full bloom. The worship is conducted in the Saivagama tradition, elaborately and meticulously, by competent and well trained priests (deekshitars).
STORY BEHIND THE TEMPLE :
Sri Kailash Ashrama Mahasamsthana in Kenchenahally (now called Sri Rajarajeshwarinagar) was founded by His Holiness Sri Sivaratnapuri Swamiji (popularly known as Sri Tiruchi Swamigal) in 1960. His Guru was Sri Sivapuribaba who lived in Katmandu. The Guru, after initiating him asked him to go south, where, he said there was much good work to be done. Before coming down South, Swamiji went to Mount Kailas. There, during intense meditation, he had a vision of the triple divinities of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi; and a bodiless voice (Asarira vani) asked him to go to Karnataka. He came down to Bangalore via Bombay. EEarly in the morning on 14.1.1960, the auspicious Sankranthi day, Sri Tiruchi Swamiji was proceeding to Mysore by a car for a Pada Pooja, along with two of his disciples. Just at about six miles South West of Bangalore City, he saw above him in the sky, three garudas (sacred eagles) circling. He saw in them the images of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi who had appeared before him on Mount Kailas. Swamiji got down from the car, and saw a footpath leading to a tiny village Kenchenahally. He proceeded and spotted a tiny cottage amidst a grove of guava trees, the spot the eagles kept on encircling. He decided to have his Ashrama there and arranged to purchase the area. This area happens to be the ancient sacred Tap van of Athri Maharishi and Mahasathi Anasuya. The Foundation stone was laid there by Sri Sivaratnapuri Swamiji (now popularly known as Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal) between 5-30a.m. and 6.-15a.m. on 3rd April 1960. From then onwards, the growth of the Ashram, has been phenomenally rapid. He has built an Ashram complex consisting of numerous building, established a Pathashala for Vedic and Aagamic studies, free school for academic education, branch Maths in several places, and most important of all, constructed the temple at the present spot which was divinely ordained. On the 27th of March every year at sunrise, the rays of the sun fall directly, on the Devi's forehead and travel down to her feet. This was not planned, but it happens that way. The temple is attracting more and more devotees everyday; and special mention should be made of the Navarathri Celebrations and Brahmotsavam, during which Chandi Homa is performed everyday and priests are specially recruited to recite the Vedas and the Saptashati. There is also a Guru Parampara School where Vedas are taught.
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