Shri Raja Rajeshwari temple is situated in Kariyangala Village which comes under the Bantwal Takula of Karnataka state. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Shri Raja Rajeshwari. In ancient times the Goddess was known as Porala and the place was referred to as Pural. The Shri Raja Rajeshwari temple has been mentioned in several ancient epigraphs and old records.
It is believed that the temple was built in 8th century AD. King Suratha got constructed this temple, installed the image of Goddess Rajarajeshwari and placed his own crown on the head of the deity.
The place is known as 'Puraal' in Tulu.The word Pural means 'flute' according to the 'Tulu Nighantu'.The word 'puraal' is originally from Mugera language ( a member of Early Munda group), since it is also used in some pad-danas connected with Mugera kolas and folk dances.
The geomorphology of the area suggests an altogether different view.The puraal town is located on the river bank, where the said river takes a swift and abrupt turn.The Tulu 'pural' or 'purel' means to change sides.
Shri Raja Rajeshwari Temple - Daily Rites and Rituals
As per the rules mentioned in the Skandagama and Durgagama, daily poojas are conducted in this temple. The morning pooja starts at 8.30 A.M. which is followed by the Mahapooja at 12.30 P.M. The night pooja is conducted at 8.30 P.M. Two other poojas namely the Flower Pooja and the Karthika Pooja is conducted only at the time of daily poojas and not at other times.
The big image of the Goddess is made up of Clay; the height of the Goddess is more than nine feet and wears an amazing crown made of precious gems.
Mother Rajarajeswari is the main deity at the historic temple of Polali, while Mother Bhadrakali, Sri Subrahmanya, Sri Ganesha and others are also worshipped alongside. River Phalguni (or Gurupura) flows round the temple washing the Mother's holy feet.
Lord Mahaganapathi, Lord Subrahmanya, Goddess Bhadrakali and Goddess Saraswathi are other deities adorn the sanctum sanctorum.
Football Game (well known as Polali Chendu) during the Annual festival: This festival of football commences when there are seven days to the avabritha. This football festival continues for five days. This game during the temple festival is very popular.
The annual festival begins in the month of March and lasts for one month. The deity is placed on 'Prabhavati', a beautifully adorned circular crown-like structure. Polali chendu, a football game played during the temple festival is very popular.
Other festivals like Sivarathri, Gokulashtami, Navaratri, Deepavali, Sashti and Dhanur mahotsavam is celebrated with great devotion.
Sri Rajarajeshwari Temple,
Polali, Bantwal Taluk,
Dakshina Kannada District,
The famous temple finds mention in Markandeya Purana, in Ashoka's inscriptions, and in the accounts of ancient foreign travellers. It is believed to be over 2000 years old. Pilgrims even from far off places come in thousands. There are many unique features of the temple and its traditions, which have added to their attraction. However, for an earnest devotee, the most remarkable feature of the Polali temple is the divine Mother's palpable presenceand the power felt in the vicinity.
History of the Polali Rajarajeshwari Temple says that there were ten temples of Lord Eshwar in and around the temple. Already, there is the Akhileshwara Temple and now recently the tracing of the Devaragudde temple, has been the latest addition. Being a pilgrimage Centre, Polali attracts travelers and tourists with its natural scenic beauty and serenity. Polali Chendu is a unique festival in this temple, which will be performed during annual festival of the temple.
Devaragudde is located 1.5 km away from Polali and here are seen remains of what might have been a lake in the past. Moreover, wherever dug in ths area, some materials, be it ancient bricks or portions of broken stone idols are found and this place has now turned out to be an ideal spot for historians and archaeologists.
Devaragudde near Polali, the famous pilgrim shrine of the district where Sri Rajarajeshwari Temple is located, is today a centre of attraction particularly after the tracing of an ancient Shivalinga and an inscription in the area very recently.
Even the belief of the locals that the newly traced Shivalinga was the one which grows in size with the passing of each year, has further added to the attraction with large number of devotees thronging the area in the recent past.
The ancient Shivalinga that was traced recently, is of white stone and unique as is the idol of the Goddess at the Polali Kshetra which is clay made.
Polali Chendu is a festival of this temple. It is believed that Shri Lalitha Devi was the full incarnation of Shri Bhuvaneshwari and after her coronation she was called Shri Rajarajeshwari. Her sacred story is as follows:
After death of his wife Gouri, Lord Rudra renounced all activities. Kama the God of Love shot Rudra with his flits of love. Rudra opened his third eye and burnt Kama into ashes. After several years Lord Ganesha made a human form with that ash and placed it before Rudra. Lord Rudra looked at it with sympathy and it became a living being. Nandikeshwara initiated him with the holy mantra of Rudra. The ash born repeated the mantra with inherent faith and prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was pleased with him and granted him many boons. He became famous and was known as Bhandasura.
Guru Shrukracharya, took him to Shonithapura and crowned him as the King of asuras. Shukracharya initiated Bhandasura with many mantras of mysterious power. Bhandasura did a severe penance and received many boons that made him very powerful. He began to torture the people. With the advice of Divine sage Narada the impoverished Gods engaged themselves in meditation, worship and penance to make the Divine Mother visible before them. Shri Bhuvaneshwari in Manidweepa saw the sufferings and penance of Gods and appeared before them in the form of Lalitha Devi. It is the full incarnation of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari.
A battle started between the army of goddess and army of Bhandasura. His brothers, nephews, relatives and ministers, army chief and large army died fighting against the army of the Goddess. On fifth day Bandasura himself came and fought against the Goddess and died. King Suratha installed and worshiped Shri Rajarajeshwari. Some of the special occasions are Simha Sankramana, Souramana Ugadi, Gokulashtami, 4th day of Bhadrapada Shukla, Kadiru Habba (Corn Festival), Navaratri Festival, Diwali, Kartika Bahula Padya, Laksha Deepotsava, Subramanya Panchami and Shashti Festivals, Dhanurmasotsava, shivaratri and the Annual Festival (commences on Sankranthi day of month of Meena)
The festival of Polali Chendu during the Annual festival commences when there are seven days to the avabritha. This continues for five days. Members of a cobbler family at Mijar prepare the leather ball that is used for the game. The members of oil miller family of `Kadapu Karia` bring the leather ball from Mijar. While coming back they come to the house of Malali Ballal. They first place the ball in the cow dung washed front yard of the house and inform them the date of the football festival.
In the evening members of the Gutthu families occupy their respective places on both sides of the front gopuram. The members of the oil miller family then place the ball and a palm leaf umbrella in the gopuram. A person who is authorized to throw the ball arrives there wearing his headgear. He offers prayers to the deity in the presence of the members of the Gutthu. Thereafter the members of the Gutthu families go to the `Sultan Katte` near the football field and wait there. The honourable person who is authorized to throw the ball then comes to football field.
Game begins when he throws the ball. When the ball reaches either the southern or northern bund of the field it is again given to the authorized person to be thrown again. The ball is thrown out three times and this procedure is repeated for five days. When three games are over the person authorized to throw the ball returns with it to the temple thereby occupying his seat in the gopuram. Some specified persons are offered betal leaves and areca nuts and honoured in the presence of the head of Gutthus. The final Polali festival is well known.