History of Kukke Subrahmanya Temple

Kukke Subrahmanya, one among the seven holy places created by Parashurama is mythologically and historically famous for "Nagaradhane". Residing with Vasuki, God Subrahmanya showers his divine grace on devotees as the presiding deity of the Kshetra. It is also called "Guptha Kshetra". "Mruthika Prasada" given here is regarded as sacrosanct. The devotees believe that the holy bath in the Kumaradhara Thirtha and Madesnana eradicate dreaded diseases like leprosy. Diseases related to skin, the devotees firmly believe, get cured here. God Subrahmanya has earned an honorific title "Annadana Subbappa". Thousands of devotees receive Annadana everyday here. The devotees find solace here after performing "Sarpasamskara", Naga Prathiste", "Ashlesha Bali" for sarpa dosha, which causes barrenness / infertility, skin disease, blindness, bhoomidosha etc. God Subrahmanya is the destroyer of the sorrows f innumerable Janmas receives the Sevas of devotees done with devotion and dedication and fulfills their wishes and hence in Kaliyugh hi is behind as "Prathyaksha God" Devaru.

Kukke Subrahmanya lies in South Karnataka and is the abode of Karttikeya, the son of Lord Siva. Before Karttikeya, the snake-king Vasuki took up residence in Subrahmanya. According to the Skanda Purana, Garuda was once hunting for snakes to devour and came across Vasuki hiding in a large cave (this cave is called 'Biladvara' and is close to the temple). Striking Vasuki with his mighty wings and tearing at him with his sharp claws and beak, Garuda tried to kill him. Owing to Vasuki's strength however, Garuda became dazed by the poisonous vapors emitting from Vasuki's mouth, as well as the luminous jewels on his hood. As they fought, the great sage Kasyapa Muni appeared and requested Garuda to desist from killing Vasuki who was a great devotee of Lord Siva. With great humility, Garuda folded his palms and told the sage that he was starving and had not eaten in days. Kasyapa told him, "Go to the Ramanaka Islands (modern day Fiji) where snakes and uncivilized Kiratas (hunters) are available in plenty." Immediately Garuda went to that place to satisfy his hunger.

Turning to Vasuki, Kasyapa Muni said, "O best of serpents, go to Kumara Ksetra in the Sahyadri Mountains and pray to Lord Siva. You will never be bothered by Garuda again." Bowing to the sage, Vasuki and his family went to Subrahmanya Ksetra and attained the blessings of Siva who told him, "In the next kalpa, my son Karttikeya will come and reside here. He will bless you and you will always remain by his side." Later, after Karttikeya killed Tarakasura and married Indra's daughter Devasena, Vasuki was united with him and has been worshipped alongside Karttikeya ever since.

The glory of this holy plaace is described in the Sahyadri Khanda of the Skanda Purana (chapters 113-118) wherein it is described how during the Satya-yuga Karttikeya was installed as the 'senapati' (commander-in-chief) of the demigods on the banks of the River Dhara (or 'Kumaradhara' as it is commonly known). Kumaraswamy (Subramanya) Killed Tarakasura and other Asuras in the battle at Kumaraparvath,a with his this sibling Ganapathi. After vanquishing the demon Tarakasura, he washed the demon's blood from his spear in the River Dhara. Admiring the beauty of this place, Karttikeya decided to reside here. Devendra had decided to give away his daughter Devasena to him on "Margashira Shudda Shasti". Accordingly the marriage took place on the banks of Kumaradhara Thirtha. Bestowing his grace on "Sarpa Raja" Vasuki, who was doing Thapasya at that time. Kumaraswamy assured to dwell along with Devasena in him. Since then, it is behind that Lord Shanmukha (Skanda) in his spiritual presence is residing with Vasuki in the shrine.

In the Treta-yuga, Lord Parasurama came to this place and bathed in the River Dhara in order to absolve himself of the sins of exterminating the ksatriya-race twenty one times over. In Dvapara-yuga, when Samba, the son of Sri Krsna was cursed with leprosy, he came to bathe in the Dhara in order to become free from the disease. By smearing the mud from the riverbank over his body and bathing in the river, he regained his orignal beauty. From that time on, the waters of the Dhara River have become famous for curing skin diseases. During this age the Pandavas also visited this holy place. In more recent times Subrahmanya was visited by Adi Sankaracarya who referred to this place as 'Bhaje Kukke Lingam' in his composition Subrahmanya Bhujangaprayata Stotram.

In the past Subrahmanya Kshethra, the edicts and Grantha inform, was known as Kukke Pattana. Shankara Vijaya authored by Ananda speaks about Sri Adi Shankaracharya visiting Subrahmanya during his philosophical conquest and his sojourn here. Reference to his sketra could be inferred from "Bhaje Kukkelinga" which forms a part of "Subrahmanya Bhujanga Prayatha Sthotra" composed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. According to Sthala Purana many Devarushis installed Shivalingas in this Kshetra. Reference to such Shivalingas should be understood as as Kukkelinga.

People suffering from Sarpadosha, whose diseases were not cured by medication, undertake sevas and these they are able to fulfill their wishes. During Subrahmanya Shasti the devotees participate in Beedhi Madesthana, the remover of their physical and mental problems. Not only that, the performing of Madesthana on Uchista of mass feeding and Uruluseva in the quadrangle are well known vows undertaken in this temple. "We bathed in Kumaradhara, Saw Kukkelinga, fed ourselves the food prepared in cauldron" (Kopparige) is a popular folk saying. Soil taken from anthill (Moola Mruthike) is the main Prasada here.

Distance from Kukke Shree Subrahmanya Temple to Vasti, Maharashtra is 698 km and takes around 13 h 13 min via NH48. Distance from Kukke Shree Subrahmanya Temple to Tumakuru, Karnataka is 248 km and travel time is around 4 h 44 min via Bandadka-Bengaluru Road.