By Swami Harshananda
Kukke Subrahmaṇya is situated between two hills, Kumāra parvata and Seśaparvata. It is very near to the rivulet Kumāradhārā. It is a well-known pilgrim center of Karnataka State. It is 105 km (65 miles) to the south-east of Mangalore. It was originally known as Puṣpagiri and Kukke-paṭṭaṇa.
It is believed that the original shrine of Subrahmaṇya, the chief deity of this temple may be at least 1500 years old. According to the local legends, Subrahmaṇya was also known as Kumāra, Skanda and Saṇmukha (the one with six faces). He is said to have washed his weapon, the Śakti, in the waters of the Kumāradhārā after killing the demon Tārakāsura and hence it is named so. The waters of this river is said have the power to cure skin diseases.
Shrine of Kukke Subrahmaṇya
The chief deity of the temple complex is the six-faced Subrahmaṇya. Over this idol is the icon of a seven hooded serpent. In the north-east corner, there is another shrine with the idols of the five deities:
There are also other shrines dedicated to Lakṣmīnarasimha and Umāmaheśvara.
There is a Subrahmaṇya Maṭha (monastery) belonging to the Mādhva tradition. It was the first pontiff of which was Viṣṇutīrtha. The original deity of this temple is in a place 250 meters (820 ft.) away from the outer wall to the north. Here, there is only an anthill with live snakes which is worshiped as the deity Subrahmaṇya. The greatest festival of this temple is the Subrahmaṇyaṣaṣṭhī which usually falls in December. Śaṅkara (CE 788-820) is said to have visited this place.
- The word Kukke probably means bāla or child.
- He was the younger brother of Madhva CE 1238-1317.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore