Maddur is a small town situated on the banks of Shimsha River in Karnataka State. It lies south-west to Bengaluru at a distance of 81 kilometers. It is also known as Arjunapuri and Kadamba-punya Kshetra. This town has three famous temples – Sri Ugra Narasimha Temple, Sri Varadaraja Temple and Maduramma Temple.
Why the name Maddur?
Few centuries back, during the governance of Palegaras, arms and ammunitions (Maddugundu) were manufactured and stored here. Hence it is known as Maddur. In Kannada ‘maddu’ means gun-powder. Some also say that this town is named after the Goddess Madduramma, whose temple is sitauted on the right side of Sri Ugra Narasimha Temple. Maddur is also famous for Maddur-vade, a delicacy tagged geographically only to this town.
Sri Ugra Narasimha Temple
Apart from its recent history, Maddur has a spiritual significance attached to it dating back to the time of Mahabharata. During the Dwapara-yuga, Maddur was known as Arjunapuri, named after Arjuna – one of the Pandavas.
Once Arjuna requested Lord Krishna to show His Narasimha incarnation; Krishna then replied to Arjuna that it was not possible to show that fierce form. Instead he could have darshan in the form of a Deity. Therefore on the request of Krishna, Brahma got a Deity of Sri Ugra Narasimha carved and gave darshan to Arjuna. The Deity was then established in Maddur. This Ugra Narasimha Deity is one of the most ferocious forms of Lord Narasimha worshiped on this planet.
The Deity of Lord Narasimha has eight hands and three eyes. Two hands are tearing Hiranyakashipu apart, who lies on the legs of Lord Narasimha; two hands are holding the intestines of Hiranyakashipu which appear like a garland on the transcendental body of the Lord; other four hands are holding the weapons of the Lord – Sudarshana (chakra / disc), Panchajanya (shankha / conch-shell), Pasha & Ankusha. On the right side of the Lord is the Deity of Prahlada and on the left side is the Deity of Garuda, standing humbly and praying to the Lord. His third eye got manifested while killing the demon Hiranyakashipu.
Along with the Deity of Narasimha, the Ugra Narasimha Temple also houses small altars within the temple complex, where following beautiful Deities are worshiped – Sri Srinivasa, Yashoda and Krishna, the consorts of Lord Narasimha – Srimati Sowmya Nayaki and Srimati Narasimha Nayaki, Sri Sita Rama Lakshmana and Hanuman. In the altar of Sri Sita-Rama, one can see Hanuman standing on the left side of Lord Rama. It is one of the very few temples where Hanuman stands on the left side of the Lord.
This temple was renovated during the reign of Hoysala kingdom. This is not a very big temple. It has two prakaras. The outer prakara wall is built like a wall of the fort and has a kitchen, a store-room and place to store the vahanas. In the inner prakara of the temple are the other small temples. Devotees consider Maddur as one of the Divya Narasimha-kshetras.
Earlier, Sage Kadamba would take bath in the nearby river and would worship Lord Ugra Narasimha daily. Hence this place is glorified as Kadamba-punya Kshetra. And the river is also known as Kadamba River.
Sri Varadaraja Temple
Sri Varadaraja Temple is situated to the left side of Sri Ugra Narasimha temple. The mother of Hoysala king Sri Vishnu Vardhana had lost her eye-sight. King Vishnu Vardhana was a disciple of Sri Ramanujacharya. The great Sage Sri Ramanuja, suggested him to visit the temple of Sri Varadaraja in Kanchipuram. By the darshan of the Lord, his mother’s eye-sight would be cured. Mother was aged and it was not possible for her to travel all the way till Kanchi. Hence few sculptors from Kanchi were called to this place and they carved an exact replica Deity of Sri Kanchi Varadaraja. The Deity was then installed and worshiped with great-grandeur. The mother of Vishnu Vardhana regained her eye-sight when she looked at the Deity of Sri Varadaraja. From then on the Lord is also glorified as Kanchi Kannvaradaraja Swamy. In Kannada ‘kann’ means eyes, ‘vara’ means benediction.
How to Reach
This temple is situated in center of Maddur town which is on SH 17 enroute to Mysore from Bengaluru. The town is situated between Channapatna and Mandya. Maddur is well connected by Rail and Bus from Mysuru and Bengaluru.4