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Mandarthi is a Hindu holy place located 25 km north to Udupi in the Udupi District of Karnataka state, India. The Goddess Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple resides here. The name derives from 'Manda-Aarathi' from Kannada, meaning the holy light.
Long ago the King Shankachooda was ruling Nagaloka. He had five daughters Devarathi, Nagarathi, Charurathi, Mandarathi and Neelarathi.
Once they went to Kailasa with an aspiration of marrying the Lord Subramanya Swamy, son of the Lord Shiva. These Five princesses were stopped by Nandi (Lord Shiva’s Devotee) on their way and cursed to become snakes. Instantaneously they were transformed into snakes and fell down to earth. When Vyaghrapada Maharishi who was wandering in the sahyadri Ghats saw these five snakes caught in the forest conflagration, and knew everything about them by his divine insight. He said to the five princesses (now Snakes) that their curse would be removed by a royal person in due course of time.
Meanwhile, the King of Avanthi Devavarma, who had been banished and wandering in disguise in the Sahyadri Mountains, saw these five snakes and decided to save them. He wrapped the snakes with a piece of cloth and started travelling towards the west. The snakes slid out of the cloth wrapper and reached a nearby termite hill. One of the snakes called “Mandarathi” reached a part of forest, which came to be called as “Mandarthi” later.
Once the nagakanyas appearing in a dream to King Devavarma, intimated that Jalajakshi, the only princess of the King Rajaditya, was in danger. Devavarma promptly saved the princess from the danger and protected her.
The King of Hemadri Rajaditya was greatly pleased by this and gave his daughter Jalajakshi in marriage to Devavarma and enthroned him as the King of Hemadri.
Once the queen Jalajakshi was seen by Mahisha a demon, who was born from the union of the sage Vyagrapadamuni with thamasic natured Kiratha woman. Mahisha, who was lustful, cast his evil eyes on the queen. He expressed his desire to marry her. When the queen opposed him, he became enraged and tried to possess’ her by force and violence. But all the efforts made by Mahisha were fruitless. The queen Jalajakshi who was deeply hurt and sad went to her palace and told the story husband Devavarma. Later both of them decided to take shelter in the hermitage of Sudevamuni.Then, Mahisha became angry with the muni for giving shelter to the royal couple and sent “Mahodara” a demon to attack his hermitage.
Sage Sudeavamuni was a great Tapaswi who had supernatural powers. He prayed the mother Durga to protect his ashram and the royal couple from Mahodara. All of a sudden a huge termite hill appeared before the demon and swallowed all the weapons used by him.
When Mahisha himself started fighting against the muni the royal couple prayed the Divine mother Durga for protection. Then she appeared with all her might and splendor and ordered the divine spirits (Buthaganas) Veerabhadra, Haiguli, Kallukuttiga, Bobbarya to destroy all the demons.
Ultimately the demon Mahisha surrendered to the Divine Mother asked for a boon worshipped and the devotees who would do “Kenda Seva” should be amply rewarded. Later Mahisha laid his soul at the feet of the Divine mother.
Sage Sudeva and the royal couple prayed the goddess Durga with fervent devotion .Then mother Durga blessed them with assurance that she would manifest here at Mandarthi with all her power as Durgaparameshwari.
Later Devavarma found the idol of Durga in Varahi River as was guided to him by the Lord Subramanya Swamy in a dream and consecrated it with all devotion.
The temple celebrates Navarathri in a grand scale with chandihoma on all nine days. A five-day mathothsava in Makara Masa and Jatra in the month of Kumba are annual and important events while Darshan of Virabhadra and Kalkuda every Friday draws devotees like a magnet. Kenda seve (walking on fire) in front of hayguli and huli devaru is considered to safrguard Mangalya Bhagya (longevity of husband) of the married woman. The various cultural and religious activities and in particular the Yakshagana conducted in the premises of Mandarthi temple reflect the dedication and devotion of the people in continuing the rich traditions of the region.
Kundapura Kannada is the most widely spoken languages in Mandarthi.
The climate in Mandarthi is hot in summers and pretty good in winter. In Summers(from march to May) temperature goes up to 40 °C and in winters (from December to February) 32 °C to 20 °C.
Monsoon period During June to September rainfall is average with Heavy winds.
Mangalore (Bajpe) Airport is located at a distance of 75 km from the temple