OAM completes second stage renovation of Bhoga Narasimha Temple
The 11th century temple situated on the banks of Cauvery in Srinivasa Kshetra, Belagola, Mandya district, was discovered by the members of Orissa Association Mysore (OAM) in September 2003 in a dilapidated condition and they decided to renovate and restore it to its past glory. “The task was herculean but with help and support from many noble personalities in Mysuru, Bengaluru and Odisha, we could complete the 2nd stage renovation work. We did the major renovation in 2008. But due to various reasons, the 2nd stage renovation work of Bhoga Narasimha Shrine could not be taken up. Finally, our cherished dream fulfilled on Nov. 13, 2022 when the Bhoga Narasimha Gopuram work was completed,” says D.K. Misra, Founder-Member and former President of OAM, who is currently in New York.
It is indeed a dream come true for OAM, which has completed the second stage renovation work of Bhoga Narasimha Temple, situated on the banks of River Cauvery, Srinivasa Kshetra, Belagola, Mandya, on way to Brindavan Gardens.
The Mahasamprokshana ceremony (Pranaprathistha) was performed on the auspicious day of Nov. 13, 2022. The Management of Parasara Gurukulam, Belagola, conducted the ceremony as per “Sastra” following all rules and rituals. Gurukulam Management also provided all logistic support and help for the ceremony.
Members of OAM have expressed their gratitude to Guru Sri Viraraghavacharya, Founder of Parasara Gurukulam, Sri Sriram, Managing Director, staff and students of the Gurukulam for managing the event successfully. OAM has also thanked the devotees and patrons, who came from Mysuru, Bengaluru, and other parts of Karnataka for the function.
It is needless to mention about the support provided by the villagers of Belagola, headed by Sri Srinivasa Gowda, the Doddayajamana of the village. They walked hand-in-hand with Orissa Association for the renovation of this neglected but unique ancient temple. OAM has also appreciated and recognised the Sthapati Sri Selvanathan and his team. They are from the world famous Sri Vaidyanatha Sthapati Associates, Chennai. For details, visit www.sthapati.org
The 2nd stage renovation was limited to the Gopuram of Sri Bhoga Narasimha Temple. Members of Orissa Association are highly obliged to all DCs, Additional DCs, Tahsildars, Deputy Tahsildars and all Government officials in Mandya district, from the year 2004 till now, for their timely support.
Going down the memory lane, one Sunday afternoon in early September 2003, some members of OAM went to an unfamiliar location on Cauvery River bank with family members for immersion of Ganesha idol. Those days, the location, although extremely serene and scenic, was equally lonely and scary. After the immersion of Ganesha, when the family members were getting ready to return, a dilapidated structure looking like a temple drew their attention. Out of curiosity, a couple of members trod up to the temple through bushy and thorny field. The entire surrounding was covered with wild growth and looking as if no one came to the site for years.
The temple structure was looking completely ruined and in a state of disintegration. Without any knowledge about the temple and its owner, as if on a divine prompting, OAM took instant decision for renovating and restoring the dilapidated temple. Subsequently, it was learnt from Belagola village elders that the temple was a property of Government of Karnataka under DC Mandya and deities were Sri Srinivasa and Bhoga Narasimha with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi.
OAM approached Mandya DC in early 2004 and in December same year, written approval was received from Government. Without losing time, OAM appointed a student from Maharaja Sanskrit College Sri Anantasayan and started regular puja from the auspicious day of Maha Vishuba Sankranti on April 14, 2005.
Soon the matter drew the attention of all major print media and the news about the renovation of the ancient temple spread in overwhelming speed. And consequently, drew the attention of many philanthropists and noble persons of not only from Mysuru and Mandya but also from Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka, Odisha and various places in India.
Renowned archaeologists, historians, religious scholars and engineers like Dr. Nagaraj Rao, Dr. M.S. Krishna Murthy, Dr. Shalva Pillai Iyengar, Engineer Sri Narasimhaiah and Dharmadhikari of Shankar Mutt Sri H.R. Ramachandra joined the endeavour of OAM to complete this noble work in a professional manner.
A Technical Committee was constituted taking these specialists in the team. Md. Jan, a specialist modeller from Hampi, was brought in to renovate the Gopuram. Md. Jan has earned credits in the field of archaeological restoration of Hindu temples in India and abroad. These specialists, after making research, have opined that the Venkateswara Temple was built around 11th century AD during Chola Dynasty and subsequent additions and modifications were taken place during Vijayanagar Empire and Wadiyars.
These specialists also appreciated the archaeological importance of this temple. OAM, as an organisation, has attracted a lot of commendation and media coverage in recent times for its noble effort in the restoration work. Although the temple structure was in a dilapidated condition, the deities carved out of black granite, appear majestic and beautiful.
The Technical Committee, to restore this temple to its original condition, prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) with work and cost estimation of Rs. 28 lakh and a period of one year to complete this mission. The renovation work started in early 2006 after guddali puja in the presence of Sri Parakala Mutt Swamiji, President of ISKCON Mysuru and many dignitaries.
Subsequently, while the work was in progress and dismantling the walls of the temple and checking the foundation, it was observed that the deteriorations to the structures were much more than what was anticipated. So, the Technical Committee revised the project cost and the first stage renovation work was completed in February 2008 with expenditure of Rs. 42 lakh, which included strengthening of all-round foundation, realignment of walls except rear wall of Bhoga Narasimha Shrine, recasting of entire roof top and partial repair of Bhoga Narasimha Gopuram. And it was termed as 1st stage renovation, leaving the balance work of completing Bhoga Narasimha Gopuram and some other ancillary work in 2nd stage. The projected cost for completing the 2nd stage renovation was Rs. 25 lakh.
Because of the remoteness of the place, various antisocial and criminal activities like frequent burglaries, gambling occurred in and around the temple premises. Hence, the urgency of a boundary wall was felt. So, a solid tall wall was constructed with 2 gates in the year 2012-13 with a total expenditure of Rs. 12 lakh.
Now another major work completed with renovation of Bhoga Narasimha Gopuram at a cost of around Rs. 20 lakh. This highly cumbersome work was possible with the help and assistance of many noble personalities, philanthropists and devotees with moral and financial support. OAM is indebted to all of them.
After completion of renovation and restoration of the temple, the task before OAM is to build a community centre with modern facilities near the temple and engage itself in community development work. This will cover research on traditional art, culture, dance and music of Karnataka and Odisha, research on Vedic Studies and Agama Sastra, Yoga training and assisting in arranging marriage functions.
Devotees desiring to visit the temple for darshan or puja, may contact the Archaka Sri Ranganathan on Mob: +91-99024-17506.
[Contributed by Dilip Kumar (D.K.) Misra, Founder-Member and Ex-President, OAM, Camp: New York, Ph: +1-571-455-2203, e-mail: [email protected]; Rabi Narayan Rout, President, OAM, Mob: +91-98451-13082, e-mail: [email protected] and Srikant Das, Secretary, OAM, Mob: +91-94493-23635, e-mail: [email protected]]