Many times whenever I said, my native place is near Sirsi the question I got back is “Is it the town which has Sri Marikamba Temple?” Sirsi has become a synonym for Sri Marikamba temple.
As soon as we enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple a big wooden idol of about 7 feet tall is seen. Marikamba is a fierce aspect of goddess “Durga“. She is sitting on a lion holding different types of weapons in her eight hands. Goddess Sri Marikamba is worshipped by her devotees as a dispeller of epidemics. The meaning of ‘Mar’ in local language Kannada is concealing or change (Marpadu). In sanskrit “Amba” meaning “mother” which is another form of Goddess Durga or Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva.
As per the local mythological story the idol of the devi was found in a nearby pond. She had told a devotee in his dream thus the idol was installed and worshipped in a temple. A he-buffalo is bred for the sacrifice of the deity and that is called as “Mari Kona”. “Kona” meaning He-Buffalo in local language Kannada. The temple is known to belong to 16th century. The animal sacrifice was quite common in earlier days. Gandhiji had taken all India tour in 1933 and visited Sirsi. He refused to visit the temple as the animals were slaughtered and offered to goddess. Thus a decision was taken to stop the animal sacrifice at the temple. Now, the sacrifice of He-Buffalo is completely stopped but one is well-fed and bred at the temple. The buffalo is kept at a separate shelter inside the temple. It is said that the blood of the buffalo is taken through a syringe and offered to the goddess during the Chariot festival.
The priest belongs to the Vishwakarma community at the temple. Idol of the deity is adorned with various ornaments and looks splendid. It is also said that the Gram devis of Sirsi, Yellapur, Mundgod, and Kalghatgi are sisters. Navarathri, Deepavali (Diwali), Karthik deepalankara (deepothsavam) and Chariot festivals are the celebrations conducted at the Temple. Chariot Celebration is done once in two years (i.e. every other year).
Shri Trimbakeshwar (Shiva) temple, Maruthi temple, and Shri Mahaganapathi temple are some of the nearby temples.
This is a small town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, India. Sirsi is surrounded by thick forest with lush green trees. Arecanut (Beetel nut or Supari) is the major crop around Sirsi. There are many waterfalls, temples and historical places nearby Sirsi. This makes it a popular travel destination. Apart from Sri Marikamba Temple Sirsi has some other famous temples. It takes at least one full day to visit all of these temples. Some of them are:
- Sri Mahaganapathi Temple
- Sri Vithoba Temple
- Sri Veera Maruthi Temple
Below are some of the places near to Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district:
Distance is approximately given:
- Sahasralinga – 18 KM
- Gudnapur – 19 KM
- Vadiraja mutt (matha) – 20 KM
- Banavasi – 23 KM
- Manjuguni – 25 KM
- Sonda – 28 KM
- Sathoddi falls – 75 KM
- Chandragutti – 39 KM
- Unchalli falls – 39 KM
- Yana – 45 KM
- Magod falls – 57 KM
- Jog falls – 58 KM
- Tibetan colony – 62 KM
- Gokarna – 72 KM
- Attiveri birds sanctuary – 80 KM
- Idagunji Ganesha Temple – 101 KM
- Murdeshwara – 112 KM
- Karwar – 120 KM
- Dandeli wildlife sanctuary – 120 KM
- Ulavi – 160 KM