The history of Kollur Mookambika temple states that there lived a demon named Kaumasura who was unleashing a reign of terror upon all the gods with his special power given by Lord Shiva. When all the gods were trying their best to stay away from his vicinity, Guru Shukracharya brings good news to the gods that this demon would face death by a woman, that is Parvathi Devi. Knowing this Kaumasura undertakes severe penance, Lord Shiva asks this demon to ask for the boon, sensing grave danger if he his offered the boon, this goddess of speech makes this demon dumb.
Hence this Kaumasura came to be known as Mookasura (mooka means to be dumb). Thereafter Devi mobilised all the powers of the gods and then this demon was killed by Kollur Devi Parvathi. She was hence forth called Mookambikai. This place where Devi killed Mookasura is known as Marana Katte.
The Kollur Devi thereafter became the deity of this place offering her blessings to all who sought her. She poses with all her radiance along with the shank and chakra in both her hands sitting in the padmahasana posture.
Suyambulingam at Kollur Mookambika temple
The Suyambulingam at Sri Mookambika temple is said to have come into existence when Parameshwara drew the chakra with his toe. This chakra is believed to be the Udhbava linga which has drawn its strength due its proximity to all divine beings. It is also very sacred since Kollur Devi is supposed to be merged with this Suyambulinga and that has made her acquire great power.
Here she is said to have formed part of Lingam along with Lakshmi and Saraswathi on one side and Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Parameshwara on the other side. Apart from this there is also an carved image of Shiva said to be injured by during the clash with Arjuna known as Kiratharjuna and this is on the right side of this Suyambulinga.
Adhi Shankaracharya is believed to be instrumental in Devi Mookambika taking this place Kollur as her abode. It is this place near the bank of Souparnika river that Adhi Shankarar stopped to fix the Chakram and on above it placed the Devi and this forms the central idol behind the Linga. This temple has been patronized by many ancient kings who donated many precious jewels to Sri Kollur Devi and they are still adorned by her. Many other hindu kings have also donated to this temple since it was believed to be the state temple in those days.
Sanctum of Kollur Sri Mookambika Temple
The history of idol installation at Kollur Mookambika temple is nearly 1200 years old. King Halugallu Veera Sangayya is said to have laid the valuable stone to cover the inside premises and this was done by him under the instructions of Rani Chennamaji. The temple comprises of the sanctorum, a hall and the Lakshmi Mantapa at the rear. This Lakshmi Mandapam has four pillars and it is about 135 feet long. These four pillars are adorned with splendidly carved images of Indian deities.
The beautiful sculptures are figurines of various Gods and Goddesses such as Vinayaka or Ganesh, Subrahmanya, Naga, Mahishasura Mardini and the mother goddess or Devi in various forms. The Garbagriha at this Kollur temple is contemporary and artisitic in value. A huge deepasthambam stands tall with its base like a tortoise’s head. This Deepasthambam has 21 beautiful concentric circles which appear very divine and similar to that of Makara jothi when all the lamps are lit and viewed from distance.
The Navrathri festival begins with an invocation to Lord Ganesha who is on this pillar. As we move inside the corridor beyond the Garbhagriha there are four types of idols of Ganapathi. Among them are Dasa bhuja Ganapathi and Balamuri Ganapathi which is beautifully sculpted using white marble.
Then there is an image of a serpent that is worshipped by all Devi’s devotees in order to wade off the evil effects of Sarpodosa and other doshas. And it is believed that when touched while offeringprayers, the devotees are said to be blessed with good fortune.
The outer side of the pradikshana we see the idol of Lord Muruga followed by the idol of Saraswathi, Pranalingeswara, Prartheshwar and Mukya Prana. This Mukya Prana is placed just opposite to Veerabadrasamy shrine to strike a balance for its dangerous appearance. This Veerabadrasamy is said to be the presiding deity here.
Pooja timings and practices at Sri Mookambika temple
At this temple prayers are offered following two traditions. - one as per the sacrificial ritual and the other as per Vijay Yagna Shastra. The poojas are performed at the temple everyday and it is performed in the morning, afternoon and evening and in the night. Among the many important rituals that are performed and celebrated, Navarathri is considered very important and the other is Brahmotsava and both are celebrated with great pomp and gaiety. This Navarathri is also is known as Sharannavarathri that falls during October month. The Goddess is said to grant boons to many an ardent devotee during these days.
Devi Mookambika’s exquisite jewellery
Kollur Devi adorns some exquisite ornaments that has been donated to her by her ardent devotees among them are Shri Gundu Rao the ex Chief Minister of Karnataka who has donated to Devi a silver sword. The legendary Rani Chennamma offered precious emerald which is still adorned by her till date. Late M.G. Ramachandran, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu also has gifted a golden sword to Sri Mookambika as a token of gratitude and as an ardent devotee. The Vijayanagaram king Krishnadevaraya presented Kollur Devi with a gold mask which is now considered very valuable. Chennamaji of Keladi gifted a gold face for Lingam that is also said to be of great value.
The River Souparnika’s origin
The source of this river Souparnika is from the Kodachadri hills lying near the temple as a backdrop. The mythology about this temple and river says that a Garuda named Suparna performed penance on this river bank in order to save his mother from the continuous misfortunes and sorrows. Then the Kollur Devi appeared before him to grant her good wishes and at this juncture this garuda requested Devi that this river be named after him hence forth and thus this river came to be known as river Souparnika.
The place where the Suparna garuda sat is popularly known as Garuda caves. This river is joined by two more rivers at the down stream. They are known as Bhrungisha and Pippalada that falls now under the Oluru region. There after it flows west ward to end at the sea near the Maharajaswamy temple.This river is said to be not only holy but also to contain rich extracts of valuable herbs as it passes through many mountains that has abundant herbs and rare plants.