Uttara Kannada District in Karnataka is heaven on Earth. It is a fine blend of nature and divinity. Many temples like Gokarna, Murudeshwar, Idagunji, Gante Ganapa, Sirsi Marikamba Temple are found here. Every temple is unique here as far as their history, divinity and importance are concerned. Similarly Idagunji Temple has its own sanctity.
The Temple is dedicated to the God Ganesha (Vinayaka), and located on the West Coast of India in the Idagunji Town in Uttara Kannada District in Karnataka. The temple’s popularity as a religious place is understood with the fact that about 1 million devotees visiting it annually.
The importance of the Temple is attributed to a legend, occurring at the end of the Dvapara Yuga (the third Hindu epoch or era) before the onset of Kali Yuga (the present epoch or era). Every one feared the advent of Kali Yuga, as Lord Krishna was about to leave Earth for his divine abode at the end of Dvapara Yuga. Sages started performing austerities and prayers seeking Krishna’s help to overcome all impediments of Kali Yuga. Sages led by Valakhilya started rituals in Kunjavana, a forest area on the banks of the Sharavati River in Karnataka which joins the Arabian Sea. During this period, he encountered many obstacles in performing the sacrifice and was very disturbed. He, therefore, sought the advice of the divine sage Narada, seeking suitable ways to tackle the problem. Narada advised Valakhilya to seek the blessings of Ganesha, the remover of obstacles before restarting his sacrifice. At the request of the sages, Narada selected a site for the rite on the banks of the River Sharavathi, at Kunjavana, seeking Ganesha’s intervention. Even the Hindu Trinity (the Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) had visited this place in the past to bring an end to the demons who were involved in destroying the Earth. The Gods had even created the sacred lakes Chakratirtha and Brahmatirtha at that time. Narada and the other sages created a new sacred pond called Devatirtha. Narada invited the Gods and requested Ganesha’s mother Parvati to send Ganesha. The rites were performed and hymns recited extolling Ganesha. Pleased by their devotion, Ganesha consented to remain at the site to help them conduct the rituals without any trouble. On this occasion, one more lake was also created and named as Ganeshatirtha to fetch water to the temple. The same location is now called the Idagunji, where the Ganesh Temple was built by the devotees around 4th-5th century CE.
Idagunji is part of a temple circuit of six Ganesha temples along India’s Western Coast. The circuit starts with Kasaragod, Mangaluru, Anegudde, Kundapura, Idagunji and Gokarna. Any person visiting with his family all the six temples, within one day between sunrise and sunset will receive special blessings.
Gokarna, Murudeshwar, Sirsi, and Honnavar are the near by places one can visit during Idagunji trip. It can be visited during October to March.