Shree Adichunchanagiri - A Holy Place
Shree Adichunchanagiri which is located alongside the Nagamangala-Tumkur Road in Nagamangala Taluk of Mandya district is a holy place which is nestled in a hilly area in the lap of Mother Nature. The Chunchanagiri stands apart in the hilly range stretching all along from the South towards the North.The rich flora and fauna and the bio-diversity of the region is just mesmerizing. The coconut groves that seems to be stretching towards infinity, the large lakes with their crystal clear water, the thousands of peacocks which dance with merriment when the rays of the sun kiss them, all add to the charm of this beautiful landscape. There are also a number of caves, Mutts and Mantas around this place. Legend has it that several sages sat on penance in the caves and mantaps here and have attained enlightenment.
Shree Adichunchanagiri is a pilgrim place which is 3321 feet above sea level. One portion of this hilly range is famous as Akasha Bhairava and the Galigallu is about 125 feet in height. The mighty rock standing at the peak of this hill on almost a small piece of land like a linga is a wonder of sorts. Even today one can pass a sheet of paper through the space between the rock and the hill. But realising the dangers that may pose to people visiting this hill top the Swamiji has constructed an embankment of stones around the place in the form of a fort. The Galigallu is a beauty to watch. One can reach it by climbing the Kudure Kallu by holding the iron chain and there he is, Akasha Bhairava. It is a breath-taking and awe-inspiring scene with greenery all around. The long lines of coconut groves, the hill range, the lakes, the gentle breeze, the beauty of the clouds all bring in a heavenly feeling. Watching the sun set from atop this hill is as mesmerizing as watching the sunset in the coastal region. Just like the stars that twinkle in the sky during night, the electric lights from the towns surrounding these hills sparkle during night when one watches from atop this hill. There are two beautiful lotus lakes on the foot of this hill, which shine like a mirror and are a feast to the eyes. The birds in the river and those chirping in trees above, the dancing peacocks, the bees that swarm around the colourful flowers to savour the nectar, the variety of fish in the lake and the pond herons waiting in silence to prey on them all add to the beauty of this place.
One can also see valuable trees aplenty here like the sandalwood, banyan, Bilwa, Nerale or Jamun tree, Banni and Bela trees. There is a belief that Mandara flower or the Hibiscus is the favourite of Lord Shiva. One can see several Hibiscus plants in the vicinity of the Gangadhareshwara Shrine here. The place has also been a haven for peacocks also known as Mayura in Kannada and therefore is known as ‘Mayuravana.’ The Government of Karnataka has also declared the Chunchanagiri as “Mayuravana.”
The village people despite being illiterate have even sang songs and danced inspired by the beauty of this place. This is the secret behind the abundant folk literature that is available pertaining to Chunchanagiri. The richness of folk literature can be experienced during the Folk Fest being organised here every year on September 24, 25 and 26.
There is a spacious and lengthy Theru Beedi on the foot of this hillock. At one corner is the Basavana Mantapa. It is an age old tradition that the procession during the festival of the Shree Kshetra begins from the shrine of Shree Gangadhareshwara atop the hill and from there arrives at the Basavana Mantapa at Theru Beedil, where Pooja is offered. It is a delight to watch the Theru or Chariot which arrives at Theru Beedi early in the morning at 5 am on Holi Hunnime day. Lakhs of devotees converge here for the great occasion.
There are several pilgrim shrines in close proximity to Chunchanagiri. To the South West is the Anjaneya Swami Hill and to the North is the Madeshwara Swami Kshetra (Jodukatte). The Cattle Fair here is very famous. To the South is located the Shree Ranganatha Temple. Thus this place where Temples, ancient Mantapas, Caves and lakes are in abundance was considered as an Anushtana place by sages of the past who chose this place for undertaking penance. It is owing to these reasons that Shree Adichunchanagiri is famous as a place of Great and Noble men (Siddi Satpurushara Thaana).