Marikamba Temple, Sirsi, Karnataka

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I visited Marikamba temple during my second visit to Sirsi in April 2011. We visited the temple in the evening. The temple was built in a typical Mangalore style architecture. At the entrance there are two elephants standing on both sides. The wall was painted in red embroidery style giving a unique feel to the design. As we went inside, we first went into a hall which had beautiful paintings on the wall called kavi arts. In the hall I saw a large number of people counting money and coins, that is the temple generates good income. As you walk further straight, it leads you to the deity of goddess Marikamba. The beautiful idol of Marikamba is about 7 feet tall.

The Marikamba temple was built in 1689 by the villagers after obtaining permission from the then king of Sonda Sadashiva Rao II. It used to be a temple of the locals and prayers here were offered in the local belief. Later Brahminical change came in and goddess Marikamba is prayed as another avatar of goddess Durga. Animal sacrifices were offered before but that seems to have stopped now. Kamat’s Potpouuri has written a nice post on the history and installation of goddess Marikamba. But I disagree with her on one point. I dont think every village all over India has local form of goddess. I have not seen one in Bengal. As far as I know in Bengali there is no other form of god apart from the normal Hindu gods and goddess. I have seen this in case of Manipuri, Malayalee, Tamil and Tulu. This is also true in some parts of Rajasthan. But this may not be entirely true in other parts of India.

Every two years a huge fair takes place in which goddess Marikamba taken out for procession. Marikamba temple is located little away from the town center (around 2 km from Sirsi bus stand). Just opposite to it on the other side of the road is the Maha Ganapathi temple. You can hire an auto to reach here and it should not cost you more than Rs 15 one way.

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