Kundapur: Cave temple at Padumundu has preserved originality, serenity

Silvester D'Souza

Daijiworld Media Network - Kundapur (SP)

Kundapur, Sep 13: There is no dearth for cave and cavernous temples in this district. A number of temples among them catch the attention of people because of their uniqueness. Among such temples, one at Padumundu in Shiriyara village in the district stands out. Here, the idol of the deity is believed to have emerged on its own. The idol is ensconced in a cave that is completely covered with boulders.

A thicket of big trees and a spacious plateau of stones give rise to cylindrical formation here. It would be wrong to think this formation to be the temple. Amid these huge boulders, there is a creek through which one person can sneak in with some difficulty. Inside the cave, a sanctum sanctorum made of stone is located. There is a unique phenomenon which surprises the visitors here. How could the people have taken artistically sculpted large stone pieces through a small hole which is hardly enough for a person of normal build to sneak in?

The sanctum sanctorum is square in shape and the roof is made of artistically crated stone sheets. The finesse and skill used in making these artefacts surprises anyone.

It is said that this 'Kallu Ganapati' temple belongs to an era that is several centuries old. People believe that it was created during the period of Barkur kings. The area is full of rocks and the sanctum sanctorum is made of stones. Although no written documents are available about this temple, in the sculpted stones inside the cave, the brilliance of the sculptor is carved. The stones here seem to be narrating stories from epic poems. It is guessed that Lord Ganapathi settled down here, having been won over by the devotion of sages who performed penance to appease him for several years and made him agree to settle here.

If one approaches the eastern side of the huge boulders that are over 80 feet high, there is a narrow path between two huge boulders where sun rays do not enter. This path is dotted with stone plates. The visitor, after covering about 80 feet on this narrow path, comes face to face with the sanctum sanctorum. Inside this simple and beautiful stone temple is Lord Ganesha idol.

There is provision to move through the circumambulatory path of the Lord with difficulty one by one. There is space for about ten people to stand opposite the sanctum sanctorum. The entire area is full of stones, but small hollow spaces here and there inside create a sense of fear. Inside the cave, a small hole through which light can be seen entering it. It is possible to come out through this narrow hole. If one comes out through this route and turns east, he can see lush rich greenery with a flowing rivulet. The scene one gets from atop the boulder is also awe-inspiring.

Thousands of devotees visit this temple of 'Kallu Ganapathi'. They believe that the Lord who has settled down here after emerging out of earth on his own, grants all their wishes. Kallu Ganapathi also happens to be the presiding deity of Shiriyara village. 'Ranga Puja' is said to be the favourite procedure for appeasing the Lord. Devotees throng the temple in large numbers on occasions like Chowthi, Maha Chowthi, Sankashta Chaturthi, Sankramana etc.