Guru Narashima Temple , Saligrama

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Rare photo of Mooda Ganapathy Seva being performed to Lord Narasimha in Saligrama, Udupi  

Guru Narasimha temple is located at Saligrama,Udupi District.  The idol here is very old and it belongs to the 8th century AD and it is carved out of Saligrama rock.  The murti is around 3 feet high and facing west and the right hand holding chakra (disc) and the left hand holding shanka (conch) and Prabhavali at the back.It is believed that idol was installed by Lokaditya King of Mourya dynasty around 4 th century AD under the leadership of Rajaguru Bhattacharya.  Guru Narashima is the family deity (Kuladevaru) of many families residing in nearby villages and those who are originally from these places.  According to the “Sahyadri Khanda” of the Skanda Purana, the idol of Lord Guru Narasimha at Saligrama has been installed by Narada Maharshi.

Though the presiding deity is Narasimha, the rituals conducted at the temple are not like in Vaishnavaite temples but like in Shivaite temples. Moreover, Lord Ganapathi occupies a prominent place in all the rituals.

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  the original Dashabhuja Ganapathi Vigraha believed to have been worshipped by Bhattacharya

Sthalapurana : Gajanana appeared to the devotees with dashabhuja ten hands with his shakti,  and hence Dashbhuja Ganapati finds reference in available manuscripts.  Legend has it that, since Lord Narasimha appeared as Ganesha in Bhattacharya’s dream, Bhattacharya installed Narasimha  vigraha  on Ganesha yantra in the temple.  These incidences explain the reasons why Ganahoma is performed in place of Guru Pooje in all Mangala Karyas at homes of many and also for invoking ‘Maha Ganapati Narasimha Priityartham’ in sankalpa in all functions at temple.

Narada Maharshi visited these placed and took holy dip in different theerta sarovaras and worshiped at holy places. During this point in time an unexpected incident happened at this place. Earth started shaking and a big thunder sound was heard. As a result, all animals were scared and birds circled the sky. There was a heavy wind and the scared sages came to Narada Maharshi seeking for the protection. Suddenly they heard a divya vani (divine message) that preached about  Narasimha.

The divya vani, a message from unknown source informed that an idol of Lord Narasimha, holding shanka and chakra in both hands and seated in yogananda posture that is worshiped by Brahma and Lord Shiva is located between shanka and chakra thirta in middle of an ashwatta tree. The diyva vani instructed Narada Maharshi to install this idol.

Narada Maharshi accepted the instructions and searched for the idol of Guru Narasimha found it between shanka and chakra thirta in middle of an ashwatta tree.  Narada Maharshi then installed the idol of Lord Narasimha in between shanka and chakra  thirta.  Narasimha appeared in front of Narada and as per Narada’s request agreed to be there in the location permanently.  This place in the middle of Koota Kshetra, where Lord Guru Narasimha resides in Saligrama idol is called Saligrama.