Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple

Travelogue - By Lakshmi Menon

A Cool Morning at 
Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple, Bidar

I had been looking forward to a visit to North Karnataka for quite some time. It was one of the well known ancient temples which created an interest in me to make a visit to this particular area. Finally, my desire was fulfilled in last April.Our Yoga group of friends had arranged a family tour to Northern Karnataka during the summer vacation. Though we knew it will be terribly hot there during this time, all of us had agreed to join the tour, thinking of the pleasure of a group journey.

Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple is also known as Narasimha Zarna Cave temple, and Jharani Narasimha Temple.

We hired a KSRTC bus and set out around 8.30 p.m. On the way our bus had some problem, but the smart and efficient driver soon sorted it out and continued our journey. We reached Badami by 12.30 p.m. the nextday, passing through several deserted areas where hardly any shrubs of vegetation was seen, and some areas covered with huge stones. Coming from the salubrious climate of Bangalore, we felt really hot and dry there, and water bottles and tender cucumbers became very dear to us, to sustain there.

Despite the scorching heat, we visited several historic places there. Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple is one of my favorite places among them.. On our way back home, our team leader asked us which was the place we enjoyed the best, and this particular place got the maximum votes. (So you know it was not only my favorite, but of many).

We reached Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple early in the morning. The temple was situated in a large cave, under the Manichoola range of hills, about 1 km from the city. The temple was not opened that early, and waited till 8 a.m. to open the door.

We spent our time introducing to each other since we had come from different areas. We were given a short description of what can be expected in this unique temple, so we were enthusiastically waiting for our turn to experience it. A perennial stream of water is said to be flowing continuously for hundreds of years in this place.

When the door opened at 8’O clock we got in and prayed the deity there. Then just below we saw an electrified cave-like tunnel with water and we got down into the three steps in the water, and then reached above waist length. At that very moment we felt once again as kids in the sheer joy of water. It was fun following the crowd in the front laughing and talking, occasionally splashing water at each other.

We walked through the water, with a tinge of fear looking at the roof where countless bats were flying haphazardly. We were told that they do no harm to the devotees. The famous cave temple enshrines the powerful deity Lord Narasimha on the wall at the end of the cave, and it is an architectural wonder. When I turned back I saw some were carrying their kids on the shoulders, and walking through the water, all in smiles, looking at the large pipe connected for ventilation. After about 15 to 20 minutes, holding each other and wading through waist deep water for about 300 meters, we reached our destination, at the feet of the deity.

After paying obeisance to the deity, we returned in the same way through the cave-like tunnel, and enjoying the pleasant cold water on our body and the small red stones tingling at our feet, having a satisfied darshan of the Lord at Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple.

It was indeed a thrilling and adventurous experience to walk through waist deep water to seek a view of Lord Narasimha. It is believed that the shrine at Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple is a swayambu (self-manifested) roopam and very powerful.

For those who do not know - Lord Narasimha is the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Narasimha is a half-man, half-lion incarnation and the remover of obstacles from the life of all human beings.

When we came out there was another spring which was from inside, coming through an image of a nandi’s (holy cow) face, where people were taking holy bath. The water was crystal clear and was gushing out. The women folk moved towards a separate area to change their dress in privacy.

I feel that the temple needs some more attention towards its maintenance, so that it would attract more visitors to this unique place.

A little before 10.30 and the sun’s heat was too much, we climbed the steps up to board our bus which would take us towards our next destination.

Bidar is a small district in Karnataka, situated amidst enchanting surroundings. You may or may not find five-star hotels there. But we were told that there are several guest houses reasonably priced, and comfortable.

The occupation of the people of Bidar is agriculture. They are farmers who are basically very friendly and honest.

The old name of Bidar was Vidura-Nagara of Mahabharata times. It is said to be the capital city of Bhima-deva. According to Legends, it was the place where Nala and Damayanti met.

The End

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