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Marikamba Temple Sirsi

Marikamba Temple located in Sirsi Karnataka is a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Doddamma or Yellamma which is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The term Doddamma means elder sister in the local language and hence, this form of the Goddess is considered as elder to all the Mariamma temples in the state. The main highlight of the temple is an eight-armed image of Goddess Durga which is also called as Renuka. This temple was built in 1688.

About Marikamba Temple

The word Marikamba is a union of two words Mari and Amba which means terror and mother. Hence the Goddess is worshipped as a symbol of both anger and savior. The frontage and portico of the temple has been painted blue in the 19th century. The frontage takes one to the courtyard which is the middle portion surrounded by a walkway around it. The walkways are filled with paintings depicting the mythological characters and images of Gods and Goddesses. The ancient structures and paintings have been hidden by the renovation made in the 19th century. The main striking thing worth watching in the temple is the image of a fiery form of the Goddess Durga mounted on a tiger and killing a demon. This seven foot tall idol is believed to be recovered from a pond near Hanagal and it was relocated in its present place by the order of Sadashiva Rao II, the King of Sonda in 1611. The speciality of the temple is its art form. The temple has a very special painting of murals in the form of Kavi art which is famous art forms in the coastal Konkan region in Karnataka. The speciality of this art form is that the top plastered layer of the mural is colored with a red pigment dye which has a white layer concealed inside it.

Importance of the Temple and Rituals

Unlike many other Hindu temples the main priest of the temple belongs to the Vishwakarma or Carpenter caste. This temple had the practice of animal sacrifice as part of the ritual. Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to eradicate untouchability across the country happened to visit Sirsi. Mahatma refused to visit this temple as he was against animal sacrifice. As per the ritual of the temple a he-buffalo was offered as sacrifice to please the Goddess Durga. This buffalo was specially reared to be sacrificed on the Rathyatra as the locals believed that this would bring good fortunes to the people of the area. However, with the protest of Gandhi and strengthening of Bhakti movement the animal sacrifice was abolished and Dalits were given entry into the temple. The procession of the deity celebrated once in two years with great pomp is the Marikamba Rathayatra. This is an important festival of the temple held in the month of February. The procession travels through important points in the town and is attended by thousands of devotees. Goddess Marikamba is seated on this Chariot for Seven days during the celebration. The Gopalakrishna temple and Mahaganpathi temple are housed in the nearby vicinity.

The area in and around Sirsi has many picturesque locations. Vast areas in this place are under thick forest region. This place is also full of several breathtaking waterfalls worth watching.

Best Time to Visit

Sirsi experiences moderate climate and in the summer season the average maximum temperature remains around 37°C. This place is popular for the rainfall and if you have any idea of visiting the place during the June to Sep period, you are advised to carry proper rain protection wears. This period is not considered very pleasant due to slippery ground and other discomforts. The period from October to January is considered ideal to visit this place as it is the winter period. Tourists can carry winter clothing and thoroughly enjoy the weather amidst nature at its best.

How to Reach

By Air

The nearest airport is Hubli located at a distance of 105 km. Hubli is connected with low fare airlines from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. There are numerous KSRTC, private buses and cabs available to reach Sirsi from Hubli.

By Train

Talguppa is the nearest railway station located at a distance of 42 km from Sirsi. This station has trains connecting to Shimoga, Mysore, Hubli and Bangalore. However, the nearest major railway station which connects to different parts of the country is Hubli located at a distance of 105 km.

By Road

There are number of private and KSRTC buses plying between Sirsi and prominent destinations in the state. There are also buses to neighboring states.  Tourists can also take a taxi or hired cabs to reach Sirsi.

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