Deccan Herald Article

Deccan Herald
Friday, June 18, 1999

History's tryst with technology
Kadiyali Temple

Author: Mr. Venkatesh M. R.


The Mahishamardini temple at Kadiyali has made it to the cyber world and enjoys the patronage of the cyber pilgrims,
besides the dedication of people from surrounding areas. The determination of the community saw to it that the temple
regained its past glory while maintaining its identity and ensuring that it was not pushed into oblivion,
writes  
Venkatesh M. R.


Not many people have heard of Kadiyali. And there is reason enough for that. Flanked by Udupi, the famous temple town on one side and Manipal, the Mecca of education on the other, the Kadiyali temple has had to find innovative ways to be known to the world. In the melee of countless pilgrims thronging to Udupi and students from across the world heading to Manipal, it is understandable why Kadiyali has remained in the shadows.

Hardly anyone knows that here is a unique temple dating back to the Chalukyan period. But what will truly baffle everyone is the fact that this ancient Mahishamardini temple has successfully made it to the cyber-world and is enjoying the patronage of 'cyber-pilgrims', besides the dedication of the people from the surrounding areas.

How did this happen? Well, when a community is determined to preserve a heritage site, it can happen. Not only has this beautiful temple been protected, the kind of effort and resources that have gone into its renovation and upkeep is an example worth emulation. Little wonder then that it has a following extending to the far corners of the world.

The Kadiyali temple has however been able to retain its distinct identity. A rare marriage of history and technology has enabled it to do so. Many may be surprised to know that this temple is much older than the Krishna temple in Udupi.

The persistent initiative of Anantharama Upadhya, the Managing Trustee of the temple, the backing of Veerendra Hegde, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala and the Udupi Mutts has brought back the glory of this generations - old temple. Side by side, Internet technology has strengthened the hands of those who are striving for the development of this monument.

Legend has it that Kadiyali was formerly known as Kadehalli (the farthest village) and was a part of what was known as Shivalli. According to the folklore of Tulunadu, King Rama Bhoja wanted to perform the Putrakamesti Yaga so that he would be blessed with a son. In the course of the preparation for the yaga, when the ground was being ploughed, a sacred Naga (cobra) got entangled in the plough and was killed. To vindicate himself from the sin of killing the sacred Naga, the king consecrated a Shiva Linga, which combined the divine presence of Vishnu in the form of Lord Sheshashayee.

This temple came to be known as the Ananteshwara temple, which is just near the Krishna temple. Simultaneously, the king also established four Durga temples around the Ananteshwara temple. The Kadiyali Mahishamardini temple is one among them. There are several other lores surrounding the temple but the above one is the most popular of them all.

The age of this temple has been a matter of great interest to archaeologists and historians alike. Noted archaeologist, late Dr P Gururaja Bhatt opines that this belongs to the pre-Vijayanagar period. According to him, the details of the Durga deity has enough sculptural details to indicate that it belonged to the period between the 6th and 8th Century while the temple is more of the 10th Century period. The style of the sculpture of the Kadiyali Mahishamardini resemblance that of the style of the Chalukyas of Badami.

The temple is characterised by stone construction, with slanting roof covered by thick granite slabs to bear the brunt of the monsoons. This is typical of the West coast, particularly the Kanara districts and Kerala. Although this temple does not stand out for its architectural or sculptural magnificence, the importance of this temple cannot be undermined.

Having been witness to nearly 1,200 years of history and situated in a belt where the worship of 'Shakti' is predominant, the Mahishamardini of Kadiyali has become dear to the people of the region.

Mahishamardini or Durga is an important Goddess of the Hindu pantheon and manifests in many forms. Parvati, Shiva`s wife is one of them. That she acquired the name Mahishamardini for decimating the Buffalo Demon Mahishasura is well-known. The four-armed deity in Kadiyali has a divine appeal. There is serenity in her expression, yet a casualness in the way she is slaying Mahishasura as if to pronounce that overcoming evil is child`s play for her.

Having vanquished the evil forces, Mahishamardini stands poignantly in Kadiyali enriching the culture of this region. She stands there extolling her devotees to defeat the evils of lust, greed, anger and dishonesty in their lives.

The credit for spreading the fame of the Kadiyali temple through the medium of Internet goes to Madhvesh Upadhya. Though a resident of Virginia in the United States, he has his roots in Kadiyali and retains close emotional ties with the temple. Determined to do his share for the development and upkeep of the temple, he designed the website for the temple. This website has become a cohesive force to all those who share similar sentiments with the temple and the region.

Says Upadhya, "Though many of them wanted to retain their ties to their place of origin and contribute towards the cultural growth there, most of them were at a loss as to how to go about it. With the advent of a powerful medium such as the Internet, we are able to network and harness this sentiment for the betterment of the temple as a sociocultural centre and as an invaluable heritage site. Besides, it has helped us delve into the depths of our own culture and philosophy."

While many of our lesser known temples and heritage sites are in a deplorable state, the Kadiyali temple is indeed an exception. The relentless efforts of the people behind this feat of protecting an epic landmark and their ingenuity in effectively using technology for this purpose are laudable.