Temple architecture

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: Iconography, Architecture, Legends, History and Significance


oi-Pundreeka Valli

At a distance of about 60 km from Bangalore, about a mile from Channapatna, on the Mysore – Bangalore highway, one can spot the tall tower of this famous Aprameya Temple which invites you to experience its magical touch in your life. By traveling a few meters further, one can surely reach the temple of Ambegal Krishna who resides with Lord Aprameya and his wife Aravindavalli, in the same premises.

Baby Krishna temple in Doddamallur

Welcome to Malur, the abode of Navaneetha Krishna who is well known for blessing the childless with offspring however difficult your case may seem. Many senior and experienced astrologers recommend this place as their first choice to pray for conception. The mood is spiritual and the temple complex evokes a sense of piety and wonder in any casual viewer. Read on to find out more.

Temple of Doddamallur Krishna: iconography

The main deity of the temple, Lord Aprameya is made of Saligrama shila. Aprameya means the one who is beyond the bounds of measure, for his mercy is immeasurable. He holds shankha and chakra in his two upper arms, while the lower arms carry the Gadha and Padma in the Abhaya Hastam mudra.

The Utsava murthi or idol taken for the procession is an exact copy of the main god who is flanked by Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi on either side with an idol of Ramanujacharya as accompanying Utsava murthi.

Sri Aravindavalli Thayar is present in a separate sanctuary. She is called Aravindavalli mainly because she sits on a lotus flower. She is four armed with her two upper hands holding lotuses and the other two in varadha and abhaya hasta postures. The idols of Andal and Sri Deshikan are also found in the same shrine.

The Navaneetha Krishna or the baby Krishna idol in the Prakaram part of the temple, is the real crowd puller here. He is inscribed separately and is seen in a creeping posture which makes him dear to all onlookers. Installed by Sage Vyasa, according to legends, he holds butter on his right and wears many jewels that bring him closer to the hearts of devotees.

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: Architecture

Built on sand, this temple has an imposing Dravidian-style Raja gopuram with Dasavatara carvings carved along the side walls. The Maha dwaram or the main entrance is 30 feet high. A large monolithic Deepa stambham is positioned directly opposite the Mahadwaram, competing with it in height.

Apart from the Rajagopuram, we have the Purandaradasa Mantapam, which is the place that inspired Purandara dasa to sing “Jagado ddharana Adisidalu Yashoda” which immortalized his love for Krishna and Krishna’s matchless response to him, for posterity. It is during the Brahmotsavam conducted in April/May that the rays of the dawn sun directly hit the shrine of Lord Aprameya.

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: Legends associated with this temple

a. Krishna and the rich woman

A wealthy woman, belonging to Bhadrachalam, lost her sight on the banks of the Godavari River. She had a dream the same day she saw the Navaneetha Krishna of Mallur asking her to visit Mallur for granting her wish. She visited Mallur and praying day and night her sight was restored. Then she gave up her material life and all comforts for the worship of Lord Krishna. She made Mallur her home and led an austere life, living on alms, and the money she saved was spent on adorning Lord Krishna. When he tested her devotion by asking her for jewelry, she had it made and presented it to him. She was behind the renovation of the Garbha Griham, Maha Dwaram, etc. Finally, one day, she reached her feet.

b. Maharaja of Mysore and Lord Aprameya

In another interesting incident, which occurred about 130 years ago, in the case of the Maharaja of Mysore, who had come to visit Malur, the Raja, enamored with the appearance of Lord Krishna, took his archa vigraha (the idol in the shrine which is worshipped) to his city. He had a dream the same night, of a fierce-looking Bal Krishna asking him to take him back to Mallur which the Raja paid no attention to. Consequently, the palace was partially destroyed in an accidental fire that broke out. Realizing his folly, Maharaja restored Krishna’s idol to Mallur.

vs. Sound of bells at night

According to local belief, the Kanva and Kapila Rishis still reside here in the premises. It is a common experience for people, once locked in the night after artha jama, you can still hear the sound of door opening at Garbha gruha and the ringing of temple bells.

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: History

The 3,000-year-old Sri Aprameya swamy temple is known to have existed long before Ramanujacharya stepped in to spread his principles, according to a written document which mentions that a deepa kainkaryam (nanda deepa lighting) was performed in the year 980. The Lord of this place was worshiped by Sri Jayatheertha, Sri Ramanujacharya and Sri Yagnavalkya Maharishi. Some legends say it was built in the 11th century by Rajendra simha, a Chola prince, son of King Parantaka I (r. 907-955). .

According to legend, it is believed that Lord Rama stayed here and worshiped the resident deity, Lord Aprameya. Since Lord Rama intervened here he acquired the title of Dakshin Ayodhya and the deity was called Ramaprameya. Some yagnya structures remain, as evidence to prove that Lord Rama led Yagas here, as mentioned in local legends. Lord Aprameya finds mention in the 12 chapters of kshetram Mahatmiyam Kandam of Brahmanda Purana.

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: Meaning

In case you have lost all hope of having a child, he is the God to whom you can turn to fulfill your “childhood” dreams. Soon after the devotees conceive, in thanks to God, they come here and tie silver and wooden cradles in the sannidhi and there is a long list of such cradles in the area, the beautiful testimonies hanging from the favors of Lord Krishna during troubled times.

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: Other Deities

There are numerous sannidhis (holy place) or shrines in the temple, with the main presiding deity being Sri Ramapreya Swamy. Other sannidhis are those of Sri Aravindhavalli Thayar, Sri Navaneetha Krishna, Sri Vaikuntanatha swami, Alwars, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Koorathazhwar, Sri Vedantha Desika, Sri Pillai Lokacharya and Sri Manavala Mamuni. Apart from that you have Venugopala sannidhi, Anandavalli Thayar sannidhi and Rama sannidhi. You can also see the sannidhi of two gods, Sudarshan and Narasimha merged into one idol, which is rare to see in any temple.

Baby Krishna temple in Doddamallur

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: Nearby Punya Theerthams

To the east of this place flows the Kanva River. There is a widespread belief that a sacred bath in these waters will rid one of its pancha maha patakas (five deadliest sins) and cure stomach ailments. To the southwest of the temple you can see the Shambhu Theertham, to the northwest there is a well whose water tastes sweet and hence used for thirumanjanam, tirtha prasada and naivedyam. Vishnu Theertham is also on the northwest side. It is here that the goddess Mahalaxmi is said to have been born on a lotus and is therefore also called kamala teertham. To the northwest there is Brahma theertham.

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: Festivals

Mallur organizes festivities every month like the Brahmotsavam which is famous for an important event. On the day of Rathotsavam, local Muslim families donate cardamoms, cloves and perfume to the Lord. During Brahmotsavam, pilgrims are given free food all day. Then there is the Dolotsavam which lasts for five days in June July. Tiruvadippooram or Andal Jauanti is also celebrated for 7 days. Sri Krishna Janmashtami in August September is celebrated with pomp. Pavithrotsavam takes place over four days in September. The rest of the national festivals are all celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor.

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: Why is it called Mallur?

The place was previously known as Mullaithoor. Once upon a time, King Sarangadhara’s limbs were cut off by his enemies during a war and thrown into a river. Suffering from severe pain, the king crawled to the Aprameya temple here and prayed for mercy whereupon his limbs returned to their original form. Since the members grew up, it was aptly called “MULAITHOOR” in Tamil and gradually it was called Mallur.

Doddamallur Krishna Temple: How to get to Doddamallur?

Dodda Mallur is well connected by rail, road and air. Trains in considerable numbers commute between Bangalore and Mysore with a stopover at Channapatna. You can then drive to the temple. Many buses also pass through this route. Taxi services are also available. The nearest airport is Bangalore International Airport.

Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the Internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any entry or information related to the article and our sole purpose is to provide information. Boldsky does not believe in or endorse any superstitions.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Article first published: Saturday, August 27, 2022, 12:05 p.m. [IST]