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Sirsi is a important town in uttara kannada district. Goddess Marikamba residing at sirsi is famous as highly awakened and vigilant deity of sirsi. The seat of Shri Marikamba of sirsi Is one among many sacred seats of goddesses in Karnataka. Shri marikambe has innumerable devotees not only in Karnataka but in neighboring states like kerala, tamil nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Maharashtra also. Especially for the people of uttara kannada , Dakshina kannada and udupi destrits is the chief Goddess of worship.

Powerful places of pilgrimage are usually found on the peaks of hilols and mountains. Shri parvathi in Himalaya, shri vaishnavi in Vindhyagiri, shri Bhramaramba in Shrishail, shri Sharadambe in Shrigeri, Shri Mukambike in kollur are some examples, Shri Marikambe in sirsi is residing in Sahyagiri.

Mighty prowess Shri ‘Marikambe is wellknown as Mari, Maremma, Mahakali. Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati. For human beings there is nothing equal to devotion to m other. Mother is God and God is mother to us. From ancient times Mother has been worshipped as God. Shri Marikambe is Mother to all faithful devotees by getting rid of diseases, solving their woes and miseries, blessing health and wealth bestowing fortune upon them. Marikambe is sirsi is famous as a powerful prowess according to curious chapters of her history, past incidents and shown miracles. it is no ordinary thing that about 320 years back the come over to a small village like SIrsi as Gali-Mari (air-borne) and stayed over here and increased faith and devotion among the people and caused the development of Sirsi also. As a result became a populous seat of prowess in Southern India. Thousand of salutes to that sharp power of the Goddess.

Shri Marikambe fair takes place every alternate year. Scares in numbers are unheard of this fair of historical fame. Million of devotees rush in from remote parts of the country to attend this magnificent fair of Marikamba. They feel scared in life by offering their service to Devi.

In Marikamba temple Devi is worshipped everyday and various offering by the devotees are accepted. Festival of light is a specialty in the month kartik. On special days illumination of electric is an attraction. The people of sirsi enjoy the festival of light as if heaven has come down of earth.

Shri Marikamba of sirsi is Mari (terror) as well as Maremma (saviour) . She is Mari (terrible) in rage and ambe., mother of love. When cherished. She is, Shri Devi incarnate, bestowing prosperity on all. Shri devi is said to be the embodied visage of prowess ever pervading the universe for protection. She is Mother of Universe (Jaganmate) as eulogized in Vedas. She is worshipped by various names like Adishakti, Maheshwari etc. Her three forms, namely Mahakali, Mahalaxmi, Mahasaraswati are the symbols of tamas , rajas, satwik traits respectively. There are many temples in Karnataka where her ‘ tamas’ trait mainly prevails. Due to the fear of contagious epidemics, famine, death and sufferings out of pain the devotees submit themselves to Shri Devi. All these Goddess are generally named as Amma, Maremma, Ooramma, Durgamma, kalamma etc. These deities of the villages have become part and parcel of the today life of the people.

Viratanagaram ramyam gachchamano yudhisthira

Astuvan manasa deveem Durgeem tribhuvaneshwareem’

At the end he prayed to show kindness for the welfare of the world. Hangal is said to be the then Viratanagara. This is also mentioned in the inscriptions of Chalukya as ‘Fort of Virata’ researchers have opined that this was the Viratanagara of Mahabharata. Scholors have given their views that kunti dibba ( mount of kunti) as called now, was the seat of Tribhuvaneshwari where Shri Devi sat in the part. Here the fair of shri Devi was held with much pomp.

As per the tradition of those days the country there were many devided and petty chifdoms. Therefore theft, robbery and murder were very common . At that time sirsi was a small hamlet. With hardly 200 houses in chennapur seeme The fair at hangal just over. Accroding to the tradition different parts of the idol of Devi and her ornaments were kept in a box. Legends says that thieves stole that box from hangal and brought it to sirsi. They sat nearby the tank of sirsi and broke the box. They shared the ornaments among themselves. They replaced the wooden parts of the idol of Devi in the same box and threw in to the tank. Though the gazettier records that Maremma came to sirsi from Bankapur , clear explanation is not available. The traditional statement about Maremma amd the records have similarity the box of idol of Devi brought ffrom Hangal was found in Kotekere near Sirsi – all these explanation can be accepted as proofs.

There may be many legends about how the idol of Mari was found. But there is no trace in them. Moreover it is natural that sentimental devotees might have created different types of stories about supreme Devi and might have wished to relate the legends with their stories.

Whatever classical stories, legends, records, traditional statements might say, it is true that precious time for foundation of Shri Devi had arrived. All these were due to lucky time. Miraculous incidents happen on such auspicious accasions. One cannot imagine how and where devine power manifests. That divine power, coming from different places, the idol found in the tank turned in to Mari, at last come to light of sIrsi.

The place near Basattikere tank of sirsi Where the box of Mari Devi brought by thives was laid down first bis identified now also. It is general custom that Mari coming from adjustant village is called Gali- Mari . the people who were yearing for goddess Mari got assurance of protection by Shri Devi in the form of Mari. Who knows is which from Almighty Shri Devi comes to light? A niche was built out of time where thebox was laid down first. There is an idol of stone in it. That is called Gali-Mari-katte. Even now at the time of Shri-Marikambe fair outing (Horabeedu) are held here, From here if we walk in the opposite direction of the temple, on the upper side, there is ‘God’s foot prints’ platform. Here on Vijayadashami day seemollanghana programme takes place. The Platform of Shri Marikamba Footprints, exchange of leaves of Shamivraksha etc. are the sign of the direction from where Mari came here. After seemollanghana the palanquin of Shri Devi is taken to kotekere tank. Here the garlands, used in nine days Navaratri festival, are immersed. It is said that there is an old platform of stone in the tank and there also the foot prints carved on stone are found. Since many years it is said that the palanquin Of Devi was being placed on that stone platform only and teppostava (catamaran celebration) of Devi was held.

Marikamba Temples

Arrival of Shri Marikambe

It is believed that the arrival of Shri Marikamba to sirsi was in an unusual circumstance. Prior to that the temples of Marki and Durgi were in existence at sirsi. The people used to offer their prayers to them with faith, and devotion. At that time a superb power incarnated at sirsi. Adishakti (original prowess) Mahatayi (great Mother) manifested as Shri Marikambe (Maremma) before the heart filled devotees of sirsi. That is an interesting story.

There are many stories about the dwelling of Shri Marikambe at sirsi. The old records about installation of Shri Devi Show – Basava was wandering in gutti seeme ( gutti region) carrying the bowl (Padalige) . The local people objected to this. At the same time the insignia of Devi was found in the tank on the outskirts of sirsi village. The villagers desired to install the idol as Gramadevate. In this connection they King of sonda, through swamiji   of nandikeshwar matt. The devotees of Goddess got permission to install it at sirsi in the portion of Durgi crematorium of Nagar- Gutti place – so goes the story. Prior on this installation the First Fair was held on the pedestal at bidkibail and the original records show that in the same place the fair of Marki-Durgi used to be held before.

The asadis of the temple, claiming themselves as the progeny of God, are getting the highest honour in the temple even today. They had major role in the installation Of Devi. Asadi is the name of a particular sect. It is their tradition to go to gutti seeme ( Gutti region ) regularly, carrying padalige (bowl). It is found that there is such a divine and commercial relation between the regions of chandragutti Amma and sirsi. Maremma is the main region of adorned goddess for asadis. The songs sung by them about Marikambe are very famous. Eg. Shirasiya seevamma oorige doddlu. It is a part of our folk tradition to name female child after Mari, Shivama etc. and male child as Shivappa, Maru etc. Seevamma in this area means no other than Shive (parvati) herself. The asadis at sirsi also are wandering singing the supremacy of Maremma . Though there is similarity between the stories of Mariamma of Different places the names are different. Eg. DAndina Mari (punishing Mari), Rogada Mari (Epidemic Mari) Kendada Mari (Angry Mari), Yamana Mari (Mari of God of death) etc. Like Marikamba of our distict Amma goddesses of many villages are worshipped by Different names. They ere considered to be sisters of Marikambe. In this way adishakti (beginning almighty) has various forms and thousand of names. The story told by asadies regarding the appearance of Shri Devi At Sirsi is like this-

“Asadi named Basava used to go over to chandragutti fair every year with his companions. He was a supreme Devotee of Marki- Durgi. Once he was wandering in chandragutti region with place and bowls, the people there stopped and troubled him. This pained Basava and the people of his region as well. They felt affronted and became angry. Next year asadi Basava did not attend the chandragutti fair and remained at sirsi praying to goddess. One night in his dream he felt the hearing a female voice saying – I am Dyamavva. I am here bin the tank of your village.Life me up.’ Sentimental Basava , thrilled by this, communicated this episode to the head of the village . Head of the village was also thrilled. All the villagers together set out to test. I t was test for Basava also. The entire village gathered on the banks of the tank. He took three rounds of the tank and prayed ‘Oh! Mother, show your signs wherever you are’ So saying he was burning incense. At that time something floating in the tank wqas visible. It was a box. On opening it parts of the idol of Devi were found. It was a great surprise to the headman who had threatened Basava with ransome if he failed to show the deity. Parts of the idol were joined. It was the lovely idol of Devi, There is similarly between Asadi’s story and the old records of the tremple. Through the dream of basava with his religion sentiment opinion about getting the box containing the parts of the idol of Devi in a tank nearby sirsi.

There ia an interesting atory also about how the box containing the parts of the idol of the Devi reached sirsi. Legends say that the idol of Devi came from hangal to sirsi. There is a mention in Mahabharat that a dominant shakti peetha (seat of prowess) was at Hangal. Dharmaraya in his exile was on his way to Viratanagara. He found Durgi at the entrance of the village. He prayed for protection.

Marikamba Devi Poojas