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Sri Rameshwara Temple, Thirthahalli
Thirthahalli is a panchayat town located in the Shimoga District of the state of Karnataka, India. It lies on the bank of the river Tunga and is also the headquarters of the Thirthahalli Taluk of Shimoga district.
As per the legend, the Parashurama son of great sage Jamadagni and Renukadevi (Parashu means axe, hence his name literally means Rama of the axe) chopped off his mother Renuka's head using an axe on the orders of his father, Jamadagni. Later, Parashurama tried to wash the blood stains off the axe by dipping it in various rivers.
Despite of dipping it in various sacred rivers, a sesame-sized blood stain remained on his axe. Then he dipped his axe in the Tunga river near Thirthahalli. Hence, this place is now called as Parashurama Thirtha (or RamaThirtha) and is the origin of the name Thirthahalli.
Near Parashurama Thirtha (or RamaThirtha), there is a stone mantapa called Rama Mantapa. This legend has made Thirthahalli a holy place for Hindus. It is believed that a dip in the holy river Tunga here during Ellamavasye day will cure one of all sins.
Sri Rameshwara Temple
Sri Rameshwara Temple located in Thirthahalli is one of the main Hindu Temples. This temple is constructed on the banks of the river Tunga and it is made of stone.
Sri Rameshwara Temple is near the place Parashurama Thirtha. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has a Shiva Lingam which is believed to have been installed by Parashurama.
The day Parashurama cleaned his axe to remove the sesame-sized (Ellu in Kannada language) blood stain; was Amavasye (New Moon Day) of Margashira month in the Hindu calendar. That particular day is termed as Ellu-Amavasye (also called Ellamavasye) day and every year on this day a fair termed as Ellu Amavasya Jatre is celebrated at great devotion in Thirthahalli.
The Ellu Amavasya Jatre will last for more than five days, but three days are very important for the devotees. On the day of Ellamavasye, the Utsava Moorthi (procession idol) of Lord Sri Rameshwara is taken to the river and holy Abhishekam is carried out on the idol in the Parashurama Thirtha. After this, the devotees take a holy dip at this place.
On the second day, the temple chariot which is decorated with flowers is pulled along the main street of Thirthahalli. This street is call Car Street (Ratha Beedhi in Kannada language). The big chariot of the temple which occupies almost the entire width of the street, is pulled by devotees and the chariot even climbs a steep gradient on this road.
On the third day, the Utsava Moorthi is taken on a Teppa (raft) on holy river Tunga towards the river bank at Kuruvalli and brought back. This celebration is called Teppotsava (raft-festival). On this day, a lot of colorful crackers are lit and also the river banks, Tunga Bridge and Rama Mantap are decorated with lights.
This festival normally falls on last half of December or the first half of January. This festival attracts thousands of people from the Karnataka state.
Distance from Tirthahalli
Bangalore : 335 km
Shimoga: 60 km
Mangalore: 145 km
Udupi: 85 km
How to reach:
Nearest Airport: Mangalore
Nearest Rail head: Shimoga is nearest railhead
Road: From Shimoga, one has to take the National Highway NH-13 (Thirthahalli road) to reach Thirthahalli.
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