Yesterday, My family and I visited the Sri Santana Venugopalaswamy temple, known as ‘Dakshina Govardhana Kshetra’, situated in village Hemmaragala, Nanjanagudu, Mysore. As per traditional history, this temple is situated in the land where Shri Koundinya Maharshi worshipped and did pennance, and is famous for fulfilling the wishes of countless devotees who come here to pray.
The temple consists of the central idol of Lord Shri Krishna, who is standing in his most beautiful and enchanting ‘Tribhangi Avatara’, also known as Tribhangi Kolalu Gopala. The Utsava murthy which is kept is also a really beautifully image and should not be missed. Presence of the ant hill behind the Garbha Griha makes this temple unique as it is a rare occurrence and it is also worshiped by the people, do not miss this too.
History of the temple as told to me:
As mentioned earlier, the village of Hemmaragala was under the leadership of many kings. The first recorded were the ‘gangarasaru’. During their time, when the king ‘gangarasa’ was about to undertake a military expansion drive, Lord Krishna came in his dreams and prophesied the victory of the king, and also said that while on the return journey, his chariot would break down and on the exact spot was buried the idol of lord Krishna; Sri SantanaVenugopalaswamy. He ordered the king to retrieve it and bring it to the worship place of Maharishi Koundinya and get the idol installed in the divine hands of the Maharishi. And as the king left for battle the next day, the exact happened as was prophesied and the idol was retrieved and was made to be installed by the great maharishi Koundiyna. This temple later came under the leadership of the ‘hoysalas’ and their king Veeraballava donated lands to the temple for the daily needs of the rituals in the year 1298 AD in the month of Phalguna, on a Tuesday.
The temple by itself is of Hoysala architecture at the Garbhagriha, but the outer structure is of Vijayanagar times or later. The entrance to the temple is covered but after crossing the main Gopura, one enters a big compound which houses the main temple. Upon entering, one can find columns or pillars of Vijayanagara times and the Udbhava Narasimha on a pillar is amazing to watch.
Few Stories about the temple:
The reason as to how the lord got the name Hucchu Gopala is a very interesting and divine one. The Chola king who reigned over this area had 12 daughters. Hearing about the divine powers of the lord Sri Venugopalaswamy, the king along with his entire family came to the temple and prayed that he beget a son to continue his lineage. In due time the queen conceived and the mood in the whole palace was of joy and excitement. But, to the shock of everybody the baby turned out to be a girl again. Feeling dejected, the king along with his wife, returned to the temple and decided to give up their lives in the temple itself and sat down praying to the lord. All night passed and in the early hours of the morning, when the couple wanted to take one last look at their new born daughter before sacrificing themselves, to their utter shock, astonishment and joy found out that the girl had been turned to a boy. The couple who were beside themselves with devotion and happiness, named the idol as ‘hucchu gopala’ (hucchu = mad) for the amazing way in which they begot a son and it has carried on ever since. The lord here is known by various names, some of them being bala gopala, hucchu gopala, venu gopala, sri santana venugopala etc. Another very amazing feature of the temple is the DANDA.
The Danda, literally translating to a stick, was handed over to the temple by the great Maharshi Koundinya. The Danda, believed to have enormous powers is believed to deliver people of their difficulties and problems be it health wise, monetary wise etc. The danda is believed to contain the powers of maharishi Koundinya who transferred it onto this sacred danda to help the people who are in need as he was beginning to depart to the heavenly abode. This danda is open to public darshan and the ‘Danda Sparsha’ is done only on Saturdays and Sundays from 6AM-6PM.
Location and Driving Directions
Sri Santanavenugopala Swamy temple,
From Bangalore 180 kms, From Mysore 35 kms
1.Bangalore – Mysore – Nanjangud – Hedthale– Hemmaragala, towards Chamarajanagar.
2.Chamarajanagar-Hedthale-Hemmaragala, towards Nanjanagud.
Take the Bangalore Mysore highway, upon reaching Mysore, proceed towards Nanjangud. After visiting Nanjangud temple, take the road which proceeds towards the Chamarajanagara. Upon reaching Chinnadagudi railway station, procced further until you reach Badanaval, take right and proceed for about 2 kms take a right turn and you will find a temple arch, follow the route to reach the temple.