Bhoo Varahaswamy Temple
Bhoo Varahaswamy Temple is located in a tiny village named Kalhalli on the banks of river Hemavati. This is one of the prominent places near Mysore. The temple was built by Hoysala king Veera Ballala III. The temple is built in a rectangular shape using grey stones and looks plain from outside, but the idol inside is breathtaking. The temple is divided into two portions: Garba Griha / Sanctum Sanctorum and a Outer Hall.
The temple is is dedicated to the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Varahaswamy or the wild Boar form. The deity is supposed to have mysterious powers. The idol is 18 feet tall, is monolith made of grey stone. The god is in a sitting pose with goddess Bhoodevi seated on his left lap. The idol of Bhoo Varahaswamy is 15 feet tall seated in Sukhasana (one leg touching the ground and the other leg folded) carved in saligrama shila / black stone found in Gandaki River. Varaha means boar and the horns of the deity is lighter in color than the face and the eyes are red. On the thigh of the folded leg is seated goddess Bhoodevi (Lakshmi) holding a lotus flower in one hand and the other arm is around the waist of the lord. Bhoodevi idol is 3.5 feet tall.
Upper hands of Varahaswamy are holding a conch and discus and a Sudarshana chakra is carved on the back of the idol. The left lower hand of Lord Varaha is embracing the goddess and the right lower hand is in Abhaya Mudra. Lord Varaha is wearing a Kiritamukhuta (crown) and Bhoo Devi a Karanda Mukhuta. The knowledge of the sculptor regarding the proportions and the rules of sculpting gods and goddesses are commendable and deserves a huge acknowledgment.
The idol is also believed to have been installed by Sage Gautama 2,000 years ago. Though the idol is huge and majestic, the energy emanating from it is gentle, warm, and reassuring. The deity's birth star is Ravathy and on Varaha Jayanthi in the month of Thai the major festival 1008 Kalasa Abhishekam is held. It is also called punyakshetra or holy region where Great sage Gautama performed penance. According to legend king Veera Ballala while he was hunting he got lost in this forest. While he was resting under a tree he saw a unique thing happening in front of his eyes a hunting dog was chasing a rabbit, when they reached a particular spot, the rabbit turned back and started chasing the dog. Looking at this strange event the king new there was some magical powers in that place. He dug up the place and he found the deity of Pralaya Varahaswamy hidden under the layers of earth. The king then built a temple and offered prayers everyday. Even today you can see the temple which has weathered severe floods and storm to tell the tale.
The river Hemavati flows graciously beside the temple.Though the river appears calm there are strong undercurrents which prevents people from swimming here. In fact the dept of the river in the centre even till today is not known. During monsoon the water level reaches the temple wall and submerges the adjoining areas. When the water recedes during the months of April or May "Varaha Jayanthi" is celebrated, it is an annual fair.
Bhoo Varahaswamy Temple is on the way between Bangalore Mysore Highway. The village is 32 kms from Pandupura which comes under KR Pet taluk of Mandya district. KalhaliiGangikere is the nearest bus stop for KSRTC buses and Kalhalli is 2kms from here.