Sacred ecology and Malleswaram's Kadu Mallikarjuna temple

Sacred ecology and Malleswarams Kadu Mallikarjuna templeSaplings were planted by the Kadu Malleshwara Geleyara Balaga on the occasion of the 100th celebration of Hunnime Haadu

The first mention of the Kadu Mallikarjuna temple is found in an inscription found in the precincts of the temple dating to about 1669 AD which credits Venkoji, son of Shahji Bhosale, with bestowing a grant of Madara Ninganahalli as manya (honour) for the Lord Mallikarjuna of Mallapura. The idea of divinity in India is deeply entwined with the worship of nature and natural forces, collectively termed Pancha Bhutas. The very first of the sacred texts, the Rig Veda, is an extensive ode to the divine energies of earth, air, water, sun and fire. Structural temples based on idol worship aren't very different as they often take birth in relation to a natural node such as a lake/ tank bund, and/or sacred trees. In fact, the deity is seeded from the womb of mother earth which marks the 'garbha-griha'. It is no surprise then that one should seek to restore these connections to nature and in turn to the Divine Feminine.
Such an effort was made today in the environs of the Kadu Mallikarjuna temple in Malleshwaram by the Kadu Malleshwara Geleyara Balaga led by Rakshith Shivaram on the occasion of the 100th celebration of Hunnime Haadu, a musical extravaganza organised every full moon within the temple complex. The intent was to plant about 200 saplings of local varieties like Sampige (Champaka), Parijatha, and Bevu (Neem) around the temple and along Sampige and Link roads. The saplings were planted in pits that were dug a day before and nourished with red earth and manure after plantation. The people procession planting the saplings around the temple marked a pertinent circumambulation reclaiming a strong sacred connection to ecology.
Another temple called Nandi-teertha which was reported by some agencies to be 400 years old was re-discovered in 1997 AD during excavation work in a place south-east of the Kadu Mallikarjuna temple. However, B N Sundara Rao in his book, Bengalurina Itihasa, has documented that the late Rao Bahadur Yele Mallappa Shetty constructed this Kalyani along with the Nandi, and the Shiva-linga. The Kalyani was constructed sometime after the construction of Sankey tank in about 1882 AD. Downward stream from the Sankey tank was observed to be flowing towards the place by Mallappa Shetty. He constructed a conduit pipe from here to the mouth of the Nandi so that water flows gently through the mouth of the Nandi through-out the year onto a Shiva-linga idol (Nandikeshwara) which was set right underneath. This water was then channelled to a Kalyani (stepped tank) which is at a lower level such that excess water flowed onto a well found in the garden in front of the southern entrance of the temple. This was connected to a storm water drain (raja-kaluve) which emptied the excess into another tank bund called Jakkarayana kere. This network has unfortunately been encroached upon. Surrounding the Kalyani is a double storeyed colonnaded structure. A shrine to Ganesha is also present in the vicinity. Mr. B K Shivaram, who is a patron of the Balaga, has planted Rudraksha, Neem, Bilwa, Banni, Arali, Ficus, Parijatha, Nagasampige and Devasampige in the garden of the temple. This, along with the Kadu Mallikarjuna and Gangamma temples, marks the linkage of the sacred to a natural node.
The tree plantation event was accompanied by a Kadalekai parishe (ground-nut fair) on the lines of the annual event held at the Dodda Basava temple for over two days which commences from the last day of Karthika month of the Hindu calendar (Nov 18th this year). Hakki-pikki tribals were seen selling bead necklaces and the like. School children with a marching band accompanied the saplings laden trucks, and the street was transformed into a public plaza for a while today, with the temporarily installed carousels being favoured by most of the children.