Bettada Byraveshwara temple in Mekanagadde near Sakleshpur in Karnataka is a practically unknown ancient temple. It is dedicated to Shri Byraveshwara, a form of Lord Shiva and also known as Bettada Bhairaveshwara Prasanna Temple. Very little of its history is known. Local stories tell us this temple was originally built by the Pandavas.
Sakleshpur – A Gem in the Lap of Nature
Sakleshpur is a small Taluka in Karnataka situated on the edge of the Western Ghats at an elevation of about 3100 feet above sea level. Two rivers – the Kempuhole and the Kumaradhara originate from here. Both rivers merge with the Netravati River further on. Sakleshpur Taluk includes the Bisle reserve forest which is one of the eighteen biodiversity hotspots in the world. It is home to an amazing variety of flora and fauna. Sakleshpur town is home to the ancient Sakleshpur Shiva Temple. Besides, there are a number of historical sites and natural wonders in the nearby areas. Trekking in the hills in Sakleshpur Taluk is getting more and more popular due to the several hills all around amidst green forests and unspoiled beauty.
Bettada Byraveshwara Temple – A Historical Site
Located in the Western Ghats about 35 km from Sakleshpur, the temple atop a hill is surrounded by several other hills and verdant greenery. The temple as seen today is about 600 years old. It is built of black stones, in what is known as the Kadamba style of architecture.
The temple can be reached by a 2.5 km trek to the top. Steps have been made to make the climb easy. There is also a slightly steep motorable road that goes almost up to the temple. The short trek or drive offers Incredible views all around with clouds floating about and the fragrant mist almost in your face. Large rocks are strewn about on the hillside. There are two viewing points from where the entire countryside below can be seen in all its mesmerising beauty. The utter peacefulness and tranquility will leave you with lasting memories, making you want to return again and again.
The temple has no priests nor is any rituals performed on a regular basis, but the temple is not entirely neglected either. An Abhishekam Puja is performed once in a year in January. On this occasion, a large number of people from the adjoining villages gather here, besides the visitors.
The Mahabharata Connection – Agyatvasa of the Pandavas
The story about the Pandavas’ exile is well known. After losing in a game of dice with Duryodhana the Pandavas were forced into 12 years of exile. An additional year had to be spent by them without getting recognized. If they were found out, the exile would begin all over again. This period of one year was known as Agyatvasa. It is believed the Pandavas stayed here for some time during that final year. The Pandavas were ardent devotees of Lord Shiva and built a temple here to worship Lord Shiva. This would be one among the numerous temples built by the Pandavas across India during their 13 year exile.
Best time to visit
Though Sakleshpur can be visited all through the year, winters and monsoons are the best time to visit.
Trekkers are advised to return by 5 PM as this area is quite isolated, with forests all around. Wild animals are likely to be roaming around here when it gets dark.
Places to visit near Sakleshpur
Bisle Ghat Nature Reserve
How to reach Sakleshpur
Sakleshpur has a Railway Station which is connected to Mangalore, Bangalore and other places in the south.
Mangalore Airport is about 149 km from Sakleshpur.
Where to stay in Sakleshpur
There are a number of hotels, guest houses, and homestays in and around Sakleshpur. You will be able to find accommodation suited to your budget.
Betta Byraveshwara Temple Timings
Timings:- 6 AM to 8.30 AM
Distances from Sakleshpur
Dharmasthala – 51 km
Udupi – 172 km
Mysore – 186 km
Bangalore – 256 km