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Hasanamba’s Hassan !

Hassanamba. Tall Main Gopura.city kemp View of the Tall Majestic Gopura city kempHassan town is named after the presiding deity ‘Hasanamba’, the ever smiling godesses who bestows richness to all her loyal devotees and punishes people who trouble her loyal reverned followers! Hassan dates back its existence to 11th century.
Hasanamba – the Shakti woman deity is a part of the ‘Sapthamathrukes’ – 7 sisters! Maheshwari, Kaumari & Vyshanvi stayed back mesmerized by the beauty of Hassan. They took refuge in the three ant-hills inside the temple. The rest of the sisters went further south.
This temple was built by one of the small time ruler of the region in the 12th century called Palegara Krishnappa Nayaka. Hassan was once called ‘Simhasanapura’, Janamejaya, the great grandson of the Pandava hero Arjuna ruled this region. However, today it is called after Hasanamba – the Shakti deity! This temple is in the middle of the bustling town.The deity is in the form of an anthill!
Hassan was ruled by the Hoysala Kings from 11th century to 14th century. They were basically Jains, but later took to worshiping Hindu Lord Shiva. The Mysore Wodeyar kings too ruled this region. Then the British and back to Government of India after Indian Independence. Hassan is surrounded by beautiful hills all around and is picturesque. At times it’s called – ‘poor mans Ooty!’
Hasanamba temple is unique in this town. It is kept locked through out the year and opens it’s doors only for a period of a week to nine odd days in a year! The temple doors are open to public during the Lunar month of Ashwayaja, which falls during end of October and beginning of November. This year the temple doors are open from October 20th to 31st. Visiting hours are 6am to 1pm & again from 3 to 10:30 pm . . . and sometimes up to midnight! About 40,000 devotees vist the temple each day during this week! The doors close for another year on ‘Balipadyami’ after the annual chariot festival.  When the whole town is celebrating ‘Diwali’.
In the ritual of opening the temple doors, the Wodeyar kings take part by chopping a banana tree stem with a sword even to this day. The jewels & temple keys are brought from the Hassan Treasury & the District administration gets involved in the rituals along with devotees who have come from distant lands with local people in gusto!
When the temple closes for a year Hasanamba is left with a burning ghee lamp along with two bags of rice and cooked sweetened rice as sacred offering. The deity is decked florally before the temple doors close for a year! The deity jewels & keys are deposited with the District administration & Treasury for safe keeping. It seems a miracle, when the doors of the temple open each year – the ghee lamp is brightly lit, the ghee not consumed by the lamp. The flowers on the deity fresh as ever. The sweetened rice unspoilt and fresh to be consumed as ‘prasad’! There’s a small stone idol in front of Hasanamba deity, a saved disciples stone statue which seems to move an inch forward & closer to the deity each year. It’s believed that once it reaches the lotus feet of Hasanamba, it marks the end of kaliyuga – this present  world!
Another astonishing fact is that this temple has an image of Ravana – the Srilankan king who abducted Lord Ram’s wife. Here Ravana’s image has 9 heads instead of the customary 10 & he’s playing the musical instrument Veena.  Each month on every full-moon day the local people gather in the temple courtyard to pray in reverance! Astonished with this ritual!
The temple complex also has a lot of small temples of other hindu deities. One of the main deity is of Shiva. Here he is not worshipped in the form of linga but as – Siddeshwara – here Lord Shiva is giving.
The temple complex is neat & clean. It’s maintained by the District of Hassan government. The temple premises has a well, when one drops a coin into it – it reaches a pond closeby! This temple is also called ‘Kallappanagudi’ after the 4 robbers who tried to steal the deity’s jewels and they were turned to stone idols! There are many more endless stories surrounding the temple Hasanamba. Talking to local population in Hassan will enlighten you more of the miraculous tales!
Hassan is around 200 kms. Good toll paying roads. The journey time is just 3 hours with your own vehicle. Hassan & Bangalore are well connected by buses & train. Local transports will be taxis, autos & local buses. Hassan has a lot of tourist places on the map. . . It can be a day trip, weekend trip or more depending your tourism plans! The most visited places around at Hassan are Shravanabelgola, Belur & Halebedu. Staying at Hassan overnight is advised, hotels to suit every budget are available.
Chickmagalur nearby – an hour’s drive is a major attraction. You can have a very long weekend combining both places. Hassan Tourism will be religious. Temples! Chickmagalur will be in the lap of natures beauty. Combining both is holiday for the soul & body. If you are at Hassan spend a few minutes at this centrally located 12th century local deity temple.

-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography
[email protected]

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