Halthi Mallikarjuna Cave Temple | Karnataka Tourism | Nagamangala Mandya | Parashurama & Pandavas.
Namaste, a warm welcome to Ask Mysuru viewers. Dear viewers, well known as a land of historical temples, we can see numerous temples which are rich in heritage and history in Nagamangala taluk of Mandya district. We are going to introduce you to one of the major historical place called Halthi Mallikarjuna Swamy Betta located in Nagamangala. If we travel around 70 km from Mysore towards Nagamangala, we can arrive at Mallikarjuna Swamy Betta of Halthi village. As per Hindu mythology, they say that Pandavas were staying here for a brief period.
Also, there is another story of Sri Parashurama’s curse being liberated in this holy place. We can get Lord Halthi Mallikarjuna’s Darshan by climbing stairs, then crawling through the narrow opening of the temple cave, and then crouch-walking through the flowing water. Come, let's understand the historical significance and mythological importance of this holy place. This area was cut by Parashurama while he was standing on horse. You can see horse’s representation on the stone here.
This is around 12-14 ft. of height. Here, he cut the mountain while standing on the ground.And here, while bending. That is the Nagara Kallu (stone tablet of Lord Naga) which has been erected. This platform is the only new construction here. The Basava here is called Udbhava Basavanna (Basavanna which emerged on its own without human intervention).
Hence this idol has no proper shape or forms. This Basava is manmade and hence has a smooth structure and proper form where as these two are nature’s creations. As an indication of Saint Parashurama’s arrival here, there is a mark of human on this Basava. Here, on top of the idols, water oozes out of the stones all the time.
There is an opening through the nose of Basava and water oozes from it Also, they say that the beetle had passed through this nose opening. The reason of Parashurama being not aware of Lord Shiva’s idol was, the Basava statue is located right and the Lord Shiva’s idol is towards left. Hence, by mistake Parashurama might have hit the idol inside. We do only Puja and Abhisheka to Lord Shiva’s idol inside. But here, for Basava idol, we do Abhisheka, Puja, Arathi and Teertha Prasada will be done.
During rainy season, this whole area will be submerged by water till Basava’s neck level. The extra water will go out of the temple. Even if it is raining heavily, we need to come here to offer Puja to Basava on a daily basis. This is the Udbhava Basava and you can see the opening here on face. You can’t make out the eyes, nose, and ears clearly, but you can see the whole structure of a bull.
This is the man made Basava idol. This is the mark which indicates the arrival of Saint Parashurama’s here. People use to perform Ganga puja to this idol.
These are the places from which water is being sprinkled on Basava idol. Water gets oozed out only above Basava and Lord Shiva’s idols. Those who desire children, will perform Ganga puja with the oozing water on the idols.
We do Puja, Abhisheka, Arathi, and Teertha Prasaada here to Basava, whereas, only Abhisheka and Puja to Lord Shiva. To see Lord Shiva’s idol, need to pass through the water and need to keep all items here itself to go inside. Now water is less, but still to reach there, we need to pass through crouching.
We don’t allow people to go inside if the water level exceeds certain limit. One can have Darshan only during summers considering the water level. During rainy season, you can enjoy the scenery in and around the mountain which is covered with numerous small waterfalls, greenery, etc. But one can’t get Lord Shiva’s Darshan during rainy seasons. You can just come till this point. Yes, during rainy season, water level increases since there is no roof or shelter above and the rainy water oozes inside here. This makes it impossible to get a Darshan of Lord Shiva. Mythology says that this tunnel has a way towards Siddhaganga and Shivaganga.
But since this tunnel has many snakes and scorpions, this way has been closed with stones to prevent people to pass through. But one can pass through the tunnel which leads to Melukote and Nanjangud for some distance. This particular tunnel will lead to Melkote in Dhanushkoti where Lord Shriram had shot his divine arrow. This is the Udbhava Linga and this is the place where Lord Shiva has appeared in front of Parashurama. There is a mark near God’s idol which signifies Parashurama’s axe stroke.
Also, we can observe water oozing from Lord Shiva’s head portion. The water which you can observe here is the resultant of the water oozing near Lord Shiva’s head. This statue is called as Mallappa or Malleshwara. We cannot view this portion due to obvious reasons. We can come here during summers. This portion will be made dry using motor during the auspicious day of Maha Shivarathri festival. During then, you can come and visit here.
We need to perform Puja daily except during the occasion of full submersion of Linga into water. We make the flower to be placed on Shivalinga. This is the Moola Vigraha (original idol) here. You can even see the Paani Metlu (holy stairs). Here you can see the axe mark created by Parashurama. This is the Mukhavaada (holy mask of God) of Shiva which has been placed by us behind the Shiva Linga. Above this axe mark water always oozes from mountain cracks on Linga.
If a person touches this holy water which leaves Shivalinga, just like Parashurama, all his previous sins will be liberated. From ages, this God is being addressed as either Mallappa or Malleshwara. My name is Mahesh and my father's name is Nagaraju. We are around 8 cousins among same family.
We perform Puja to Lord Halthi Mallikarjuna daily. We have divided the routine yearly for a fixed time period among ourselves. This temple is called Halthi Betta or Halthi Malleshwara temple. This holy place is also called as a place of Saint Parashurama’s curse liberation.
There is a mythological story behind this place which was passed on to us by our forefathers. According to that story, Saint Parashurama was the son of Renuka Yellamma Devi and Saint Jamadagni. Based on his father's command, Saint Parashurama beheads and kills his mother.
Since he kills his own mother, he gets a curse. Due to this curse, all those eatables which Saint Parashurama touched, used to convert into germs. He gets to know that, to liberate from this curse, he needs to worship Lord Shiva. One morning, while performing Puja during Brahmi Mahurtham (auspicious time), he observes a beetle carrying Bilva leaf which is Lord Shiva’s favourite leaf. Becoming curious, Saint Parashurama follows that beetle on horse to observe to where it is going with that Bilva leaf.
He climbs the monolith mountain while following that beetle. The beetle had made a small hole through which it could enter the mountain with the Bilva leaf. He presumes that there might be a presence of Lord Shiva statue inside since the beetle was carrying Bilva leaf inside. He starts cutting through the mountain with his Parshu (axe) to enter the mountain. Hence, you can observe that you can’t see any chiselling on the mountain.
Initially he starts cutting the mountain while sitting on the horse itself. Hence, we can see the cutting on the mountain are at the higher level. As time passes by, he cuts the mountain standing and then while bending. As he starts cutting the mountain by bending, the beetle disappears. A Basava (Ox) appears in place of the beetle. The same Basava statue can be seen inside. The beetle enters the nose of Basava and goes further.
Even today, there is a stream originating from Basava’s nose. Since he sees Basava, he firmly predicts that Lord Shiva should also be present further. So he continues to cut through the mountain in various positions like standing, crouching, bending, sitting, etc. While he was cutting in crouching position he doesn't observe the Lord Shiva Linga and he hits the idol in cheek portion. Lord Shiva’s cheek portion starts bleeding and after sometime instead of blood, milk will start oozing.
Parashurama drinks that milk and his curse gets liberated. Lord Shiva appears in front of him and tells – “Now your curse is liberated.” Since the milk started flowing from then on, this place is famous with various names such as Halti Mallikarjuna, Malleshwara, Mallappa, and so on. And another famous place here is Kennalli because of Kene (milk cream). And another famous place here is Kennalli because of Kene (milk cream).
As a proof of Parashurama’s arrival here, there is a tunnel inside. This tunnel makes way to pilgrim places like Melukote, Siddhaganga, Shivaganga, and Nanjanagud. The tunnel towards Melukote and Nanjanagud are open but with very less light. But the tunnel towards Siddhaganga and Shivaganga has many snakes. It is also believed that Saint Parashurama had passed through
this tunnel and hence, it has been closed to prevent others to pass through. Immaterial of seasons, water will be flowing throughout the year. Also, the water gets sprinkled over God’s head all the time during all seasons. Because of Parashurama’s curse liberation and milk formation, this place got the name Halti Mallikarjuna. According to my forefathers, during ancient times, a bear called Jambukeshwara used to perform Puja in this temple.
Doors and other amenities were created recently. The Mantapa (gallery) and stairs were constructed by Cholas. So, this is the story of Saint Parashurama who got acquitted of his curse when he visited this place. There is a strong belief that Pandavas were staying here before. Just like Kanakana Kindi (Kanaka’s opening in Udupi), there is an opening through which we can see the Deepa (lamp) lit inside this temple. The utensils and pots which were being used by Pandavas were there before but were destroyed due to lack of preservation measures.
Even the shelves, houses which they had constructed can also be seen. The stone arrangements which you can see here were originally a part of entrance itself, but over a period of time was destroyed by various generations of people. This place had been constructed very artistically with threshold, door, etc. It’s a pity that people don’t appreciate artistic things but sadly they try destroying artistic things for temporary pleasure. Through this opening, we can see the Deepa (lamp) lit inside the temple. This is the place where Pandavas were staying.
There is a gap present there such that we can view the Deepa (lamp) from here. Tourists and others who visit here, have been destroying the walls and stones and are creating such mess. You can see water inside the temple all the time. We organize special Jaagarane (holy vigil) during the auspicious occasion of Shivarathri festival and numerous devotees visit here. People should not drink or smoke and should not have non vegetarian food during Shivarathri if they want to visit this place.
Here, these honey combs are like sentinels for this temple. Hence, devotees must enter this place with sanctified body and soul. There is a story behind these honey combs which my grandfather used to narrate. There is a gift land of around 16 acres which was gifted to this temple. Since my grandfather told me this, even I am not sure about the original owner of this. Since my grandfather told me this, even I am not sure about the original owner of this.
It is also believed that Kaamadhenu (bovine-goddess, described as the mother of all cows in mythology) used to graze in that land As time passes, people started noticing this place. Some farmers noticed the Kaamadhenu which was grazing here. They were astonished to see this cow grazing here during unusual time of the day. Hence, they followed that cow to find out more. Kaamadhenu noticed those people who were following and cautioned them not to wander around this holy place. As a token of goodwill, it converted the hoe which they were carrying into a golden hoe.
But even after Kamadhenu’s friendly caution, people started to climb mountain to reach here and started cunningly peeping inside this place to discover more. Once, while peeping inside, a person saw that a saint used to milk from Kamadhenu and drink it. Upon knowing this, Kamadhenu told that person not to come here since it is Kaliyuga (the fourth and worst of the four yugas, which is full of conflict and sin) and people are cunning and sinful.
It also cautioned that person not to divulge this information to anyone else. It also said that – “if you divulge this, then your head will explode into thousand pieces”. Since human mind is very fickle, he narrates this incident to others. As soon as he does, his head exploded into thousand pieces. They say that those exploded pieces have got converted into honey bees and they are securing this place from evil forces.
Even if someone tries to chase them away, those attempts have been futile. Till date, these have not harmed anyone who come here with noble intensions. But they will attack those people who have bad intensions in mind. For long distance tourists who want to visit Halthi Mallikarjuna, they can enquire for temple priest’s house in the village and they will certainly guide them. You can also contact me or my cousins directly on mobile number – 9591468548.
We can fix up a schedule to visit this place. Considering wild animals movement, it is safe if you arrive here before 5 PM in the evening. We perform Puja early in the morning around 4:30 AM during Dhanurmaasa (a month name as per Hindu calendar). You can visit even early mornings during this period.