Kollur Mookambika temple is a well-known temple of Karnataka. This is also one among the seven abodes of salvation created by Parashurama. Mookambika temple is located in Kollur in the Udupi district.
The temple is dedicated to knowledge and art. The Goddess, known as Mookambika, is worshipped as the Goddess of speech and letters. The idol of Mookambika Devi was created using “Panchaloha”, or five metals - gold, silver, copper, iron, and lead. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya was responsible for establishing the Kollur Mookambika temple. He was a philosopher and theologian who expounded the Advaita Vedanta and supposedly also the founder of Dashanami Sampradaya.
History and legends of the temple
Kollur Mookambika temple is said to be 1200 years old and was patronized by many kings. The local kings, as well as the well-known kings of the Keladi dynasty, Shankanna Nayaka and Shivappa Nayaka, had made many donations to the temple and also renovated it.
The story goes that Adi Shankara worshipped Goddess Saraswati with great devotion. Pleased with his devotion, the Goddess appeared before him and agreed to accompany him to Kerala.
But the Goddess laid down a condition to accompany him. She told him that she would walk behind him and that Adi Shankara should not turn back to check if she was behind him. If he looked back to see if she was following him, the Goddess would stop right there and would not go any further.
So both of them started walking, with Adi Shankara leading the way and the Goddess walking behind him. After a while, Shankara could not feel the presence of the Goddess, and so he looked back to see if she was still following him. He was reassured to find that she was. But as soon as he turned back, Goddess Saraswati stopped and refused to proceed further, as per the condition she had laid down. She told him to install her idol at Kollur, where she had stopped. Adi Shankara begged her to reconsider her decision, and after repeated entreaties, the Goddess said that she would be at the Chottanikkara Temple in the mornings and return to the KolllurTemple by noon.
According to mythology, a demon called Kaumasura was killed by the Goddess at this temple. Kaumasura performed rigorous penance to get boons so that he could become powerful and invincible. But Goddess Parvathi took away his powers of speech so that he would not be able to ask for boons. Because of this, Kaumasura was known as Mookasura. Later, due to Shukracharya’s blessings, he was able to speak again, and he began killing sages. When his torture became too unbearable, Goddess Parvathi assumed a powerful avatar and came to earth to slay Mookasura. After slaying him, she took the name Mookambika. Since then, the Goddess in Kollur is revered as Mookambika, and the name Kollur Mookambika came into vogue. The local inhabitants were grateful to the Goddess for saving them from Kaumasura and began to worship her.
Places like Chitramoolam and Ambavanam, where Adi Shankara is said to have meditated, are located in the Kodachadri hills. Many ancient Hindu kings used to patronize the temple, and many valuable treasures of the past were housed here.
This was also the state temple for the Nagara or Bednore Rajas. Some of the jewels that adorn the idol were supposedly presented by them and by their Vijayanagara overlords. During the Maratha raids that occurred in this district in the 18th century, gold, silver, and gems worth crores were spirited away by the raiders. Kollur Mookambika Devi is the form of Adi Lakshmi, who is the creator and protector of all forms of life. The temple has been the site of Shakti worship for centuries. The Goddess at this temple is revered as Vagdevatha (Goddess of Speech and Letters). This is supposedly the only temple that is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. The Goddess is seen in the form of Jyotir-Linga, which combines both Shakti and Shiva.
Devotees who visit the temple include politicians, film stars, and other celebrities. The Kollur Mookambika temple is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in South India. People from all over India flock to the temple. Most of the devotees who come here are from Kerala, while others are from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
The annual festival at the temple is held during Vasant Navratri. During the month of Phalguna (March-April) on Moola Nakshatra day, which happens to be the birth day of the Goddess, too, huge crowds flock to the temple. Trikala Pooja is performed daily at the temple. In the mornings, at 5:00 am, Nirmalaya Pooja is performed. At this time, devotees get an opportunity to see the Swayambhu Lingam.
The idol of the Goddess is set up on ‘Shri Chakra Yantra’. It is believed to be the Goddess’ most powerful form. The rituals that are performed in the temples are as per the Vijayagama system. This was formulated by Adi Shankara. On the western side of the sanctorum is the Shankara Peetha.