Umbrella prayers

eNarada, Kokkada, Sunday, July 2, 2017

While the temples in south India have made their mark for their grand architecture, a small temple in Karnataka is making news for being one of the first roofless temples! Sowthadka temple located near Dharmasthala is probably one of the very few roofless temples in the entire country.

So, now one wonders as to how would one pray or perform pooja during rainy season especially at a place like Sowthadka located in the lap of Western Ghats which in turn is known for heavy to very heavy rainfall). Well, here lies the magic-the temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh is open 365 days and the poojas continue even in the heaviest rainfall. The priests carry an umbrella with them. So, even if it starts raining in middle of the pooja, there is no running to the safe shelter, as the priests continue with their umbrella on!

A priest is offering pooja to Maha Ganapathi by holding an umbrella. eNarada Pictures.

As it is Lord Ganesh temple, there is a huge rush especially among kids as parents want to conduct their wards’ Akshabhyasa here. So, if you happen to be at Sowthadka anytime now, then don’t miss these special sessions where in everyone is sitting in open with umbrella and turning towards the deity. We also suggest that you shouldn’t miss the special Moodappa Seve at the Sowthadka temple where tasty Appam will be offered a prasadam.

The temple also has an interesting story of its origin. Nearly eight centuries ago, the temple was administered by a local royal family and was destroyed in the war. The idol of Ganesh was found by a cowherd that carried this idol with devotion to the current place of worship and placed it under a huge tree. Every day, they offered Ganesh with tender cucumber as naivedya, performed prayers, chanted bhajans. Since then, the place got the name-Sowthadka (Sowthe in Kannada means cucumber and Adka meant a vast plain).

Sowthadka is a pilgrimage centre located at a distance of three kilometres from Kokkada in Belthangadi Taluk of Dakshina Kannada district, 16 kilometres from Dharmasthala and 35 kilometres of Kukke Subramanya. The uniqueness of the place is that Lord Maha Ganapathi is out in the open field without a ‘Garbha gudi’ (sanctum sanctorum) and temple structure. It is surrounded by lush greenery and is open round the clock for offering prayers. The temple is decorated with lot of bells mainly offered by worshippers.

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