The Almatti Dam, across River Krishna is located in Bijapur District of Karnataka and is one of the hydro power generating stations. It is famous for the scenic beauty and many people visit this dam when passing through National Highway No.13 which runs between Mangalore [Karnataka] and Solapur [Maharastra]. The dam is located in Almatti village of Bagewadi Taluk of Bijapur.
Very near to this location there is a village called Yalgur. Along the River Krishna one has to cross over to the other bank to reach this village which falls in Muddebihal Taluka of Bijapur. What is so special about this village is, its famous Sri Hanuman Temple. If moving by car, one has to travel two to three KM from NH13 to reach the village of Yalgur. If coming by bus then one has to get down at Nidgundi located in NH13 itself, and then take share auto to reach the village of Yalgur.
As one enters the village, the three tier Rajagopuram of the temple greets and welcomes you to the temple. From the distance itself one can see the mortar statue of Sri Anjaneya in Yoga posture in the first tier of the Rajagopuram. There are few more statues that adorn the Rajagopuram. From the entrance of the Rajagopuram itself one can have dharshan of the Lord.
As you pass through the Rajagopuram, a very big hall covered with tin sheets roof and tiled flooring welcomes you. Beyond the hall there is a big mandapam and a huge tall arch façades this mandapam. The arch is well decorated and there are two Dwarapalakas adorning on either side. There are two elephants in the center of this arch showing the way to the mandapam.
The mandapam’s crowning is decorated with an arch in the middle, in which Sri Rama Darbar is shown. On either side Lord Sri Anjaneya is shown carrying either Sanjeevi Mountain or Siva Linga. This mandapam which is around thirty feet by thirty feet leads to the Garbhagraham.
There is wide space around this complex for performing circumambulation. On the left side of this complex there is office, madapalli [kitchen] where prasadam for Lord is prepared.
When making circumambulation [pradhakshana] of the Lord, one can see the vimanam of the main garbhagraham which is in the style normally found in the Maharashtra temples. The walls are painted with scenes from Srimath Ramayana, and that of Sri Madhwacharya.
SriRamachandra had traveled throughout Bharat during His exile from Ayodhya. During His fourteen years of exile He had seen North, East, Centre, West and then South of Bharat. During such travel He had visited this place named now as “Yelgur”. This place is situated on the banks of River Krishna where the Lord had spent some time during His vanavasa during Tretayuga.
This place derived the name “Yalgur” from Elu+uru which means seven villages. The seven villages named in the puranas are Nagachampika, Chandragiri, Alala tine, Yalaguru [Yalgur], Kachnakutte [Kashinakunti], bhuutihalaa, masuti [Masuti].
While it is a practice to have a temple for Sri Hanuman in each village as a village deity in this region of Bharat, it is interesting to note that these seven villages put together has only one temple for Hanuman in common at Yalgur. It was under the direction of Sri Rama it is so.
During present kaliyuga when this region was under heavy stress created by the non believers of idol worship, survival of Hindu deity and temples were put to test. Then it was practice of the elders and priest to erect a wall camouflaging the deity of worship.
In the same way, during these times, in the village called Govindraj Kere [presently known as Goni Kere] there was a temple for Lord Hanuman. There was a temple for Sri Venkateshwara and Sridevi in the North-West of this village. As there was a practice to hide the deity, Lord Hanuman was taken by the priest to the Sri Venkateshwara temple. All the deities were hidden by building a stone wall masking these deities.
When peace returned to the region and when people felt that the deities are no longer in danger of being broken, they thought of bringing back the deities to worship. The priest who was then worshipping the Lord Hanuman was given direction by the Lord to bring back the deity for worship. The priest took the initiative to bring Lord Hanuman to worship. While unmasking the deity of Lord Hanuman, he inadvertently broke the deity. The priest was put to a lot of embarrassment and felt dejected for commencing such a task without proper care and tool.
On the same night he was again given the divine direction to bring the broken deity to present day Yalgur, place the pieces in place properly and put them in a closed room. For seven days the priest was told to perform the pooja from outside and not to open the doors during this period. The priest did so by bringing the broken pieces to this place [Yalgur] and putting them in proper order. As any human being, the priest also had the curiosity to know what was happening inside the closed doors. When overtaken by the curiosity the priest opened the door to have a glimpse of the deity. To his astonishment he saw that the pieces of the deity were bonded together. But he had also noticed that the pieces in the lower portions are yet to bond together.
After some days the priest was given another divine direction that pooja to the deity should commence after anointment with water from River Krishna. After consulting the great pundits of the time, Pratishthapana of the Lord Hanuman was performed.
Today the Lord is known as Sri Yalgureshwara and Sri Yalguresh stands in the village of Yalgur on the order of Shri Rama for seven villages (Elu Uresh == Yalguresh==Lord of Seven village). Even today one can see some [lower] portion of the deity un-jointed.
After that during the rule of Maratha, Shri Baaji Rao had donated 480 acres of land for proper performing of the daily poojas of Sri Yalguresh. Till today it had been adhered to.
The Lord Yalguresh deity of Lord Hanuman is a feast to the eyes. The deity is around seven feet tall, in an ardha shila form and is massive looking, at the same time pleasing to the eyes. The ‘tiruvachi’ made of silver is adorned with carvings depicting the ‘dasavatharam’ of Lord Vishnu. The calm looking ‘prasanna vathanam’ is made more beautiful by the glowing large eyes. Lord is seen wearing huge Kundalam which is touching His shoulders. Lord’s right hand is seen wearing Keyuram and bracelet, giving blessing to all His devotees with ‘Abaya mudra’. In His left hand wearing keyuram and bracelet the Lord is holding a stem of sowgandika flower along His left thigh. The bosom is seen adorned with beautiful malas with pendants. Below His left feet a demon is seen in the crushed position. The long tail of the Lord which rises above His head and runs down to touch the ground near Lord’s left foot.
As started by the first priest under the divine direction, even today the priest goes to the River Krishna, takes bath and brings the River water for performing the abhishekam. In the afternoon this abhishekam is performed and is called “Mahapooja”. During this mahapooja ‘panchamrutha’ abkishekam, milk abhishekam are also done to the Lord Yalguresh. After abhishekam the Lord is sprayed with kumkumam, decorated with ornaments and flowers. The Lord is then offered naivedyam and after this Maha-arati is performed. Lots of devotees take part in this pooja.
Utsavas like Sri Rama Navami, Gudi Padva, Hanumath Jayanti are the annual functions of this temple. On the day of Sri Hanumath Jayanti ‘doola utsavam’ is performed to the Lord. During the Kartik month special poojas are conducted and thousands of devotees are given annadhanam.
There is a Go Shala being maintained by Sri Uttaradimath. It is just behind Sri Yalaguresh temple. Presently the Goshala owns 4 acres of land with two bore wells. Around 35 cows are being protected and taken care of in this Go Shala.
One visit to this kshetra is sure to bring great things in one’s life. Darshan of Lord Yalguresh and the great kataksha He showers on His devotee can do miracles in one’s life.
Ed [March 2015]
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SRI HANUMAN THINKS DIFFERENTLY, THINKS FAST, THINKS AHEAD AND ACTS FOR SURE.
Our salutations to this Hanuman who always brings subham - everything that is good - for His devotees and eliminates the bad and the evil. He removes even the traces of bad thoughts and deeds from His devotees. i.e He makes them pure in words, thought and deed.