Shree Panchalingeshwara Temple and Vittla (Vittal) History
Dakishina Kannada (DK) is a land of many ancient temples, these temples have a well documented history, Shree Panchalingeshwara temple has a mention in the history books, Shree Panchalingeshwara Temple is the largest temple of Vittla (Vittal) region.
Vittla comprises of 16 villages, is located in Bantwal Taluk of Dakshina Kannada The temple is unique for its antiquity and rare artistic splendour. It is faced to the west and the sanctum has three-tier roof. The shape of the temple is that of the back of an elephant rare style in temple architecture is South India.
The sanctum of the temple has five lingas – Sadyojotha, Vamadeva, Aghora, Thathpurusha and Ishana. These are supposed to be the five
features of Lord Shiva. The legend has it that the temple is a creation of the Pandavas.
Historical background :
Vittla temple is one of the temples and places of worship run by the Domba Heggade dynasty. Panchalingeshwara was the chief diety of the Heggade dynasty. Ullalthy temple at Kepu is another important temple of these rulers.
Early mention about Domba Heggade dynasty dates back to 1257 A. D. in Vogenadu inscription. Dr. P. Gururaj Bhat, a renowned historian, has pointed out that Shree Panchalingeshwara Temple must have been constructed in 7-8 A.D.
No one knows how many times it was renovated in the past, yet there are evidence that it was renovated in 1436, 1744 and 1894
The people of Vittla and devotees of the temple spread world over have joined for the cause of renovating the temple to give it a modern structural stablity while retaining the earlier historic architecture.
Now this temple needs urgent renovation. In 2002 a concrete plan was drawn up to renovate this marvellous temple of antique value. A
committee was formed a detailed blueprint was prepared. A clear direction for renovation was sought in ‘Astamangala Prasne’. Dr. Veerendra Heggade has been guiding the committee as its honorary President. The committee comprises 305 members from all the villages.
A formal approval for renovation has been obtained from the Department of Endowments. Every year since 2002, on the auspicious day of Vishu Sankramana, the Committee collectes donations from the farmers of the villages both in cash and in kind. So far Rs. 3 crore has been collected by way of selling the agricultural produce liberally donated by the farmers and cash donations by the devotees.
The renovation work of the sanctum was formally inaugurated on 29 Jan 2007 at 9.30 a. m. with the building of Balalaya (miniature-temple). The temple bull was used to remove the Kalasha, atop the temple roof. The entire Sanctum spread over 4,750 sq. feet area was cleared in 9 days with the enthusiastic voluntary work of the people of the area. The renovation work started on the same site, retaining all the previous design and size, on Feb 7, 2007 in the divine presence of Dr. Veerendra Heggade and Sri Sri Guru Devananda Swamiji of Odiyoor.
The first phase of foundation work is completed using granite and sand. This is a 2 feet bed on which stands a 4.5feet structure using granite available in Vittla region. The whole foundation is uneque in design and strength. The ritual of Padukanyasa was conducted on March 07, 2007 in the holy presence of Sri Mohandas Swamiji of Manila and Endowment minister Sri. B. Nagaraja Shetty.
Garbhanyasa and Nidhikumba
This is a major stage in the renovation of the temple. The rituals associated with the installation of Nidhikumbha and Garbhanyasa were done in the early hours of 19-08-2007. Special stones called Paduka, Jagathi, Kumudha, Galapadi are arranged along the foundation. The outer wall of the structure is made of stone. All the preparatory work pertaining to the wall is being done in the temple compound.
The three stage roof of the temple requires about 12,000 cubic feet timber, Most of the timber required for the work has already been secured from Thirthahalli, Sullia and Kasaragod. Carpenters have already started working.
World Enviornment Day was celeberated in the temple on June 5, 2007 by distributing 5,500 saplings to the farmers of vittal region. It is important to note that these saplings belong to the variety of timber to be used in temple renovation. Moreover, it is also planned to distribute around 12,000 saplings in another 3 years time