Today (July 25th, 2020) is Garuda Panchami, which is the 5th day of the waxing moon (Shukla Paksha) of the Indian month of Shravan (July-August). The day is dedicated to the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, Garuda, also the king of birds. This takes me back to the trip we made, back in 2011, to a small sleepy hamlet in Karnataka called Bindiganavile. 130 kilometres from Bangalore, it is located in the Mandya District.
This verdant and beautiful village has a small but important Sri-Vaishnava temple that is dedicated to Sri Channa Keshava Perumal and his consort Sri Sowmyanaayaki Thaayaar. But it is also famous for the fact that this is the only temple where there is a separate sannidhi for Garuda. In all other temples, Garuda is installed on the Dwajasthambam or flag post in front of the temple. The temple is over 1000 years old and was visited by the Vaishnava saint Sri Ramanujacharya during his travels. Garuda here is known as Vainatheya or son of Vinutha. ( I hope to update the story of his birth at a later date).
The stories associated with the temple are nothing short of miracles and goes something like this. The Chennakeshava temple at Belur had placed an order for a wooden Garuda Vahana to a sculptor in Kanchipuram. When it was ready, a group set out on a journey to bring it to Belur. During the journey, the convoy that was transporting the vahana decided to stop for the night at Bindiganavile. That night, the leader of the caravan had a dream wherein Garuda spoke to him and said, “We have arrived at Keshava’s abode. I would like to stay here to serve the Lord. Let us go no further.” The leader dismissed the request as just a dream and the convoy prepared to leave Bindignavile. But to their surprise, the Garuda vahana refused to move. The same night, the local village official also had a dream where he was asked to get the temple ready for installation of the vahana. In deference to Lord Garuda’s wishes, he was installed as the ‘Archamurthy’, which means there are daily poojas conducted for him.
However, over time the wooden statue of Garuda got covered by an anthill and snakes made it their home. And the daily poojas were stopped. It was in early 20th century, that Rao Bahadur B. K. Garudachar, the president of Bangalore Municipal Council and also a successful businessman had a dream where Lord Garuda instructed him to install a new idol or vigraha to resume the pujas at the Bindiganavile temple. The Rao Bahadur whose ancestral village was also Bindiganavile bought the best sandalwood and hired the best sculptor to start the work and they proceeded towards Bindiganavile. However, the sculptor simply could not progress with the work. Garuda once again spoke to the sculptor in his dream and asked him to resume his work in the morning. The sculptor got up in the morning and was amazed to find an outline marked on the sandalwood that made him start and complete the work. There was some left over wood that was used to carve a statue of Lord Hanuman. Together, in Sri Vaishnava parlance Lord Garuda and Lord Hanuman are known as ‘periya thiruvadi’ and ‘siriya thiruvadi’ respectively or those who are at the feet of the Lord. Garuda is referred as ‘Periya thiruvadi’ (a senior) as he has served the Lord in all his avatars and this confers a status that is unparalleled.
The temple architecture is typically Dravidian with a beautiful Rajagopuram that can be viewed from a distance. The worship of the Lord follows Agamas as prescribed by Ramanujacharya. In the sanctum sanctorum are the beautiful idols of Lord Chennakeshava and Goddess Sowmyanayaki along with Vainatheya and Anjaneya. These are the ‘moolavar’ idols. The original wooden idol is encased in a brindavanam. There is a ‘utsavar’ Kalyana Vainatheyar along with his consorts Rudra and Sukeerti. There is also a sannidhi for the Azhwars or Vaishnava saints. Along with them are housed Lord Dhanavantri, Lord Krishna, Lord Sudarshana, Lord Narasimha, Nathamuni, Vedanta Desikar and Yamunacharya.
The chariot at the temple is exquisitely carved and the ‘Rathothsavam’ festival that spans 10 days brings the village to life. The temple is of great significance to the Hebbar Iyengar sect.
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Acknowledgements: The Shloka and explanation by Smitha Ranganathan
15 thoughts on “The Vainatheya Temple at Bindiganavile- Garuda Panchami Special ©Sangeeta Venkatesh”
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Well written. The other interesting aspect of Bindiganavile is the availability of a very superior quality of jaggery in the surrounding areas. This renders a special, divine taste to the prasadams of the temple, especially sakkarai pongal!
Oh yes! How can we forget that incredible experience!
We visit this temple on 1st april every year. We will be very much thankful if you give the telephone no. Of Archaka of the temple. Thanks
Read the whole blog to my mother in law who was really happy to know the story and the importance of the place. You made my day🙏🙏.
I added a little more knowledge to my bank .
And you made my day with this note!!
Very nice explanation. on 14th December 2020, we had been there. We are Hebbar Iyengars and also i am life member of the temple. Now they have installed 20 solar lights and planning to install CCTV around the temple.
Thank you Mr. Prasanna. Nice to know that you are a life-member of the temple and thank you for the update too.! Maybe I will edit and add it in sometime.
For more info about the temple n Bindiganavile you may refer the website which was created n maintained by me…
Thank you Mr. Raghavan.
Very nice narration. Happy to know the history of the temple.
Thank you for your appreciation Bhuvana.
Very interesting post, Sangeeta. I love the temples in the south. They exude such divinity. Will try and visit this temple for sure in my travels to Bangalore. 🙂
Thanks for reading Rama! I love them too. There were a whole lot of hidden gems that I visited by road the last 2 years! Some still undocumented. But am trying to catch up. 🙂
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