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Hindu Temples India

Kumaraswami Temple – The Oldest Temple in Karnataka


The temple, built by the Chalukyas and now a protected monument, has for centuries been out of bounds for women. It was discovered by the local rulers, the Ghorpades, in the thickly-wooded Swamimalai hill in the 15th century.

Women were earlier strictly not allowed to enter the shrine. Murarirao Yeshwantrao Ghorpade lifted the ban on women in October 1996. After the ban was lifted, nearly 3,000 women have worshipped at the temple.

The Ghorpades, well loved and respected by the locals, had declared the temple open to Harijans as early as the 1930s. After learning of this on his visit to Sandur in 1934, Mahatma Gandhi said, “A small state in south India has opened the temple to the Harijans, the heavens have not fallen.”

This centuries old temple complex in located inside Swamimalai forest range and is said to be infested with venomous snakes like russell viper and spectacled cobras. Peacocks are also a very common sight here. The forest range is also a very good habitat of leopards.

Kumaraswami Temple is located on south-west corner and is connected to Sandur by road. The temple complex is quite huge. The complex houses temples of Parvathy and Kumaraswami.

According to geologists, this peculiar mountain is made of volcanic eruptions and is very rich in mineral deposits. The soil and lake here is red marshy that owes to presence of rich ferrous deposits. Nowadays due to mindless mining in this area is resulting in habitat destruction.

Karnataka State highway No.40 pass through the above said gap in mountain, connecting Sandur to rest of the State. Temple is approachable by road from Sandur. Nearest Rail Heads are Hospet& Bellary on Guntakal-Hubli line.

Krauncha Giri is believed to be the first abode of Subramanya in south India. It is located 10 km from Sandur in Bellary District of Karnataka.

Unique feature of the mountain is its elliptical shape with a diametric narrow pass. According to legend, this gap is made when Kartikeya pierced the mountain in the battle with the demon Tharaka, with his sphere weapon vel to kill the demons who were hidden inside mountain. This legend is held in high esteem in Hindu mythologies including Mahabharata (salya parva.46), Skanda Purana(asura kandam). Krauncha Giri is also associated with legends of the sages Agastya and Parasuram.

Kalidasa in the work Megha Sandesa describes the gap in the mountain. This place is connected with legends of Sri Sailam jyotirlinga in Andhra Pradesh.

The name ‘Krauncha Giri’ is very familiar to many, but few know the location of this legendary mountain. For many, it’s just a mythical one like Mount Meru.