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Kundapur: Koteshwar Car festival - Thousands bathe in divinity on Kodi Habba

Silvester D'Souza
Daijiworld Media Network - Kundapur (SP)

Kundapur, Dec 4: Thousands of people from near and far gathered for the annual Car festival of Lord Kotilingeshwara, Koteshwara near here, on Sunday December 3. This Car festival is popularly known as 'Kodi Habba'. The temple witnessed steady stream of devotees since early morning.

Several devotees arrived at this historically famous temple, took bath in the temple pond, and participated in the traditional service known as 'Suttakki Seve' around the temple pond and then offered puja after paying obeisance to the presiding deity. At 12.15 pm, Lord Kotilingeshwara and family deities which were brought in a grand procession were seated on the chariot. The deities were offered Mangalarati, coconut and banana etc after which the chariot was pulled through the Car Street. Tantri of the temple, Prasanna Aithal, guided the religious rituals.

President of the temple managing committe, Markodu Goalakrishna Shetty, former president of Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation, B Hiriyanna, second-in-command of district home guards, Rajesh K C, local leaders like M Sudheer Kumar Shetty, Dinesh Kamath, Krishnadeva Karanth Koni, Nagaraj Kamadhenu, Rajesh Kaveri, Mahesh Poojary Kody, Niranjan Kamath and many others were present.

In mythological works, Koteshwara has been referred as 'Dhwajapura'. Researchers feel that this was named 'Dhwajapura' because of the fact that the flag of Lord Shiva's greatness keeps fluttering here. Out of 68 Shiva sites around Koteshwar, the temple of Kotilingeshwara happens to be the most prominent. Some say that the place got its name because of the fact that King Vasu had installed a mega flag post in front of the temple. The history of the temple says that king of Mahishmati, Vasudeva, who was on a pilgrimage, had offered puja to Lord Kotilingeshwara and built a stone temple here.

Because of the fact that Koteshwar was earlier known with the name, 'Kudikoor', the festival of this place is called 'Kodi Habba'. 'Kudi' or Kode means flag in Sanskrit. Kodi Habba is celebrated on full moon day of Vrishchika month as per HIndu calendar. As per one version, as the chariot was not ready on the day of Car festival, the then king, Vasudeva of Mahishmati, created a chariot out of Kodi (top twig of bamboo tree). To signify this, even now the 'Kodi' is taken in front of the Car festival.

As Tipu Sultan had given donation to this temple, a unique service called 'Deevatige Salaam' is offered just before the Car is pulled. Kodi Habba is believed to be auspicious for married persons. For unmarried youngsters too this temple has proved lucky as many alliances are struck here as people come here looking for grooms or brides for their children. People visiting Kodi Habba traditionally buy and carry home at least a sugar cane home from here.

Many believe that perambulating the five-acre temple pond helps them in fulfilling their wishes. Therefore, since 3 am, people begin to encircle this pond. They take bath and spread the rice grown in their fields around this pond. People believe that on Kodi Habba, dust is witnessed at Vandaru Kambala field, whereas on the day of Vandaru Kambala, water of the pond gets mixed with water from the wet field of Vandaru.

Prior to Kodi Habba, the lord is taken through the streets of the town in procession on all previous seven nights. These processions are accompanied by different musical instruments each day. People come to this festival from other districts, states, Mumbai etc. Touching the chariot of the lord is believed to purify one of the sins committed by him. Thousands compete with each other to pull the Lord's chariot. Everyone who comes to Kodi Habba returns with a sense of contentment and fulfillment.


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Title : Kundapur: Koteshwar Car festival - Thousands bathe in divinity on Kodi Habba


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