Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 16

BY: SUN STAFF

Linga Showing Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesha and Surya


Aug 20, CANADA (SUN) — A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.


Last of the Brahmalingeshwara Shrines

Today we conclude our study of the Brahmalingeshwara temples and shrines with a brief mention of the last examples in this category. A number of additional Brahma linga are found in Karnataka, primarily around the Udupi region, including sites at Ninjur Chitrabail, Kokkarne, Brahamavar, Kedinje, Maladi and Yedabettu, along with Kedar, Udyavara.


Karnataka

In Ninjur, most of the temples are either Nagadevatha or Brahmalingeshwara, with Ganadevathas of Maheswar.

At Kokkarne there is a highly revered Shri Bramalingeshwara Temple, with Bramadev linga as the presiding Deity, and subsidiary shrines for Nandikeshwara and Ammanavaru.

At Brahmavar is a Brahmalingeshwara temple that was built by the Alupas. This temple was constructed in the Alupas' unique architectural style, examples of which are found in numerous places around India, including the temples at Barkur, Kotinatha, and Suratkal.

The Kedinje Brahmalingeshwara Temple in Udupi is a compound marked by a stone of Brahma that is placed on a cliff in front of the temple. There is said to be a well hidden beneath the shrine floor.

The nearby Maladi Shree Adi Brahmalingeshwara Temple features a Naga stone, and there is a mandala of the Ashlesha Bali festival sketched near the naagabana (shrine). A ganahoma, or fire yajna is performed regularly in honor of Lord Ganapathi.

In addition to the deity of Lord Brahmalingeshwara, there are various stones depicting a naaga deity, and other bhuta stones throughout the neighborhood. There are stones representing a Rakteshwari Siri shrine and Kumara shrine on the rocky hill, named Deevarakatte and Siripaade. The temple's sacred spring also sits above, on a rocky elevation.

During worship of Brahmalingeshwara in the temple, prayers are made and flowers given to Kumara, giving him darshan before Brahmalingeshwara. Prasadam is distributed, and there are processions and perambulations around Brahmalingeshwara, Kumara and the various temple complex idols.


Tamil Nadu

Further south, in Tamil Nadu there is the Sri Kalyanasundareswarar Temple in Nallur, at which Brahmalingeshwara is not the presiding deity, but is offered regular worship. Located 5 kms. east of Papanasam, this ancient Shiva shrine is home to a lingam made of a shining metal that actually changes colour five times a day. Because of the linga's changing colors, which can be easily observed if you spend several hours at the temple, the deity is known as Panchavarneswarar.

Shiva and Parvati on Rishaba with Vishnu and Brahma are worshipped in the sanctum. The presiding deity here is Kalyana Sundarar, representative of Shiva's having granted the Sage Agasthya a vision of his marriage here. Behind the lingam are images of Shiva and Parvati getting married, with Lord Brahma performing the marriage rites. On the left, Vishnu is depicted giving away Parvati in marriage.


Maharashtra

In the town of Trimbak, in the Nashik district of Maharashtra, is an ancient site known as the Trimbakeshwar (Tryambakeshwar, Trambakeshwar) Shiva Temple. One of the twelve Jyotirlingas resides here, and its three faces embody the Trimurti: Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma, and Lord Rudra.


Andhra Pradesh

Finally, in Andhra Pradesh we find our last two Brahmalingeshwara temples. The first is near Narsipatnam (Narasapatam), Vizagapatam, in the small village of Balighattam, situated two miles southwest of Narsipatnam on the banks of the Varahanadi River.

Narsipatnam is known throughout the region for its Brahmalingeshwara Temple, which stands at the foot of a small hill on the other side of the river. A large festival is held there during Sivaratri.

The shrine, like that of Visvesvara at Benares, faces west instead of east. This, and the fact that for a short distance, the river flows north and south mark this as a particularly sacred site. The local pandits quote a sloka which says, "Where a lingam faces west and a river runs north, that place is equal to Kasi (Benares), and there one will surely obtain celestial bliss.

The Brahmalingeshwara temple structure itself is not very ornamented. It is said to have been built by Brahmadev, and the river put down by Lord Visnu, during His incarnation as Varaha, thus the name, Varahanadi River. Certain deposits of white clay in the river bank are said to be the ashes of a sacrificial fire held in this place by Bali, the demon king for whom the village is named.

Chaturmukha Brahmalingeshwara

Lastly, we find the Sri Chaturmukha Brahmalingeshwara Swamy temple in Chebrolu. The Chebrolu temple is located 10 kms. from Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. This very beautiful shrine is situated in the middle of a tank. The linga has catur-mukha - Lord Brahma's four faces - carved on the sides.


Chaturmukha Bramha Temple, Chebrolu


Devotees can get darshan of Sri Brahmalingeshwara at the Chaturmukha shrine in Chebrolu by walking on a bridge that crosses the waters of the tank.

The temple was built by Raja VasireddyVenkatadri Naidu. Various terracotta figures, two coins, and a number of inscriptions of Chola leaders like Velanadu Chodas have established the historical record of this place.

Satyasaraya of the eastern Chalukyas sent an army under his general, Baya Nambi, to seize of the areas held by the Chalukya Cholas. The general entered Vengi from the south, destroyed the forts of Dharanikota and Yanamadala, and established himself at Chebrolu.

There are a great many Shiva temples in this area, most built during the reign of the Chalukya King, Krishna Deva Raya, the rest throughout the 10th-14th centuries. Much of the architecture features lofty gopurams and stone construction.

Having now covered the Brahmalingeshwara shrines, tomorrow we will resume our exploration of the "only one or two Brahma temples in all of India".


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