Coorg -Bhagamandala and Talacauvery

Our journey took us on another spiritual quest as our next destination was Bhagamandala, which is sacred as there is the confluence or kudla or sangama of the three rivers, Cauvery and its tributaries Kanika and Sujyoti . Interestingly Sujyoti is largely mythical as its meant to be flowing underground and joining the main river as she spreads herself and flows along .

Bhagamandala comes from the name Sri Bhagandeshwara temple, which houses the deities Bhagandeshwara (Lord Shiva), Subramanya , Vishnu and Ganapathi . Known as Bhagundeshwara Kshetra .the temples are built in kerala style and each sculpture tells a different story.

We met a priest who offered to be a guide as well and he told us about the significance of the scultures . Carved in stone, they depict the Dasavatharam or the ten avatars of Vishnu , stories from mythology ,Indian customs and festivals .

A customary dip in these waters is said to purge you from all negative influences. An inscription here talks about how Bhagamandala was captured by Tipu Sultan who renamed it as Afesalabad and it was retrieved by Doddaveeraja after a fierce battle which lasted for about a week.

We move on to the Brahmagiri hills to Talacauvery where the river originates and flows down 800 kms down to Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu. .The weather changes as the sun retreats as the mist takes over.The entire mountains are enveloped .

An enclosure around the spring called Gundige is connected to a small pond .which flows underground and emerges after about a kilometer down the hill. There are shrines above the spring and temples dedicated to Agasthyeshwara and Ganesha. It is believed that the Saptha Rishis had performed a penance here to get immortality. The priest inform us that the Agni Kundas can be seen there.

A plethora of legends flow down the Cauvery, but the most interesting that we heard is the legend of the river itself. Cauvery prayed to Lord Vishnu that she should become the most sacred of rivers and Vishnu granted her the wish saying that the while Ganga originates from the Lord’s feet, Cauvery will be worn as a garland by the God. It is believed that Ganga flows underground and even cleanses herself in the Cauvery and remains here for a month .

Pilgrims flock to Talacauvery in mid Oct where the river gives Darshan to her devotees.The water from the spring overflows and it is called Tula Sankramana .It is believed to be the rebirth of the river itself and the priests tell us that Goddess Parvati comes down to earth on that day. The holy water is taken home by all pilgrims after a dip in the river .

Interestingly the River Cauvery is behind the Kodava style of draping the saree. If you notice their saree knot is always placed behind. I asked a Kodava lady , Daisy Karumbiah whose son , Bopanna runs a homestay in Madikeri. She told me this story . Cauvery who was married to the sage, Agasthya had asked him to promise that he will let her know whenever and where ever he stepped out. She said that she will leave him if he ever broke the promise. One morning the sage went apparently for a stroll without informing his wife, who decided to leave him as he had not kept his word. Despite pleas and requests, the river decided to flow underground.

While the Hindus , especially the Brahmins supported Agasthya, the Kodavas supported Cauvery . Hence this created a divide between the communities. It is said that Agasthya’s supporters cursed the Kodavas saying their crops will fail and the women will become barren as well. The aghast Kodavas ran to Cauvery who had emerged at Bhagamandala. She apparently removed her saree pleats and tied them backwards saying that ” you are not the women who are cursed…you now have a new life..” She also instructed the Kodavas to remove the saplings that were planted and replant them..It is said that till today the Kodavas continue the same style of cultivation and the women tie their saree knot behind and not in front .

We see a lot of trekkers climbing down the Brahmagiri Hills to see the panoramic view of Karnataka and the coast as well. As we prayed to the river, the mist suddenly touched our cheeks and before we knew it, we were wrapped in it .We were lost to the world as a thin white layer took us in its fold and gently lulled us to sleep.


  1. AJEYA RAO 2 July, 2008 at 17:39 Reply


  2. Nomadic Matt 3 July, 2008 at 01:46 Reply

    wow! that is a misty mountain top!! You can barely see anything.

    Also, the link on ur link section for me isn’t valid…you need to change it to the…./blog.html is gone! 🙂

  3. flyingstars 3 July, 2008 at 07:20 Reply

    WoW…some simply heavenly pics….first the architecture of the houses captured the imagination & then those your lovely customary nature pics….I love the misty view of nature & thats why hills attracts the most….a simply fascinating experience!

  4. Indrani 4 July, 2008 at 09:22 Reply

    How come I missed out on all these during my trip? Must take more days in hand I guess. You were there for how many days?

    Beautiful shots Lakshmi, there is the sudden urge to visit the place again. 🙂

  5. Jeevan 8 July, 2008 at 16:12 Reply

    Wow…. Lovely place, where seems mist often close. Exist of the purity of this spirituality quite feels pleasure. It was interesting the details of the division and how come Cauvery flows and the style of cultivation.

  6. Lakshmi 8 July, 2008 at 16:23 Reply

    Sujatha -Thats a question Ive asked myself..hopefully work will be now be travel .

    Celine , Mark – Thanks.Glad you enjoyed reading about the lores

    Ajeya – I simply loved Bhagamandala temples..I just hope they manage to keep the confluence clean

    Shrinidhi – We went in the afternoon too.. Bhagamandala was hot and suddenly as we neared Talacauvery, it became completely misty

    Ropi -Thanks..these are old temples

    Pallavi -Yes and they are well preserved

    Matt – The mist literally swept us away..and sorry abt this, Ive changed the url

    Sameera -yes, it makes it mystical

    Maria -Thats right..Rivers are worshipped by certain communities

    Kalyan -Thanks..The architecture of the temples are more in the style of Kerala

    Cuckoo – Sorry abt that..Ive changed it..I do hope you get to visit coorg soon ..let me know if u need any help

    Sahasi – Glad you liked it..ive finished the trail now

    Srik- Welcome to backpakker..and thanks for your comment..hope to see you soon

    Indrani – i spent 3 full days 🙂 im glad the post is urging you to go there again ..let me know if you need more info

    Anjan -Welcome to backpakker and thanks..glad you want to go to coorg.let me know if you need any help

    Reeta-Thanks..all these lores make it more fascinating

    Priyank – Yes, it is ..the best part is almost all of coorg is so quiet and serene

    Jeevan – Thanks..glad you liked it..yes, its so true that such places make one feel so peaceful and therein lies the true meaning of spirituality

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