Snake Temple (nAga dEvathA devasthAnA), Hennagara Kere, Karnataka, 301213

December 31, 2013

While on the birding trip, we visited the large Hennagara lake, and Prashanth, who lives in Jigani and seems very knowledgeable about the area, pointed out he nAga dEvathA temple at Hennagara Kere (lake).

Here’s the temple, on the lake-bund (raised bank):


The rock on the right was the original object of worship and veneration:


Prashanth told me a very interesting piece of folklore connected to this temple. In the several centuries that this lake has been in existence, he said, the lake has never overflowed in a flood situation. The people of the area venerated this rock as the “nAgA” (snake, or more specifically, cobra) that “drank up” the excess flood waters, and prevented the lake from ever overflowing its banks.

I wondered if, perhaps, there was some sort of water conduit under this rock that led away excess water to other water bodies around (such as Haragadde…Prashanth tells me many of these lakes are inter-connected)…and whether that might account for it. But since I have no way of finding out….I’ll put it down to that intangible thing that yet moves mountains: Faith.

An open-air part of the temple also has various carved figurines.


the old rock images, and some new carved ones, facing the kere, have been covered by a cement structure quite recently.


The image of the nAga dEvathA in the new temple faces the other direction, and there is also a shrine to Ganesha and to Parvathi.


The trash that every temple in our country seems to generate, alas:


The surrounding area of the temple was strewn with the ghee packets, milk packets, agarbathi packets, and old flowers from previous pujas. It seems strange to me that we venerate our gods but do not want to even keep their temples clean!

Just outside the temple are these there hOma kuNdA, where ritual offerings are made to fire (agni) to convey to the gods. They, too, seem in disuse:


We have a million such temples, scattered around our countryside, each with its own interesting mythology and tales. One could spend a lifetime listening to these chronicles!