Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2016-07-14 14:48 Hosagunda(Shivamogga): This small, remote village located in Sagara taluk in Shivamogga, known for its dense forest, is now slowly becoming a pilgrimage tourist spot for many, thanks to a Bengaluru-based entrepreneur. In the late 1990's, CMN Shastry, purchased an estate in Hosagunda to spend his retirement days. Soon, he began facing problems in his business. He consulted his family priest. The priest told Shastry that the land he bought held something sinister. Umamaheshwara Temple Intrigued, Shastry conducted excavation of his land and found an ancient temple covered by thick forest growth in a forest adjoining his estate. What he found a temple dedicated to Umamaheshwara, Kanchi Kalamma (Goddess kali), Sri Prasanna Narayana (Vishnu) and Sri Lakshmi Ganapathy (Ganesh) was found inside the 600 acre spread Devara Kadu (Gods Forest) Shastry sensed that the monument was important. He started researching its history and found that it was built in 900 AD by the Hosagunda dynasty and ruled by Hosagunda kings for over 300 years. Shastry wanted to restore the temple, but faced objections from the archaeology department. It took him seven years to secure permissions from the department. Shastry started the Umamaheshwara Seva Trust which partnered the Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust for the restoration of temple. He spent his personal funds to restore the temple. Pushkarini Kanchi Kalamma (Goddess kali) Devara Kadu (God's Forest) During 2001 temple was given a new shape and temporary place was constructed for the establishment of Narmada Bana Lingam (an oval stone, the sacred representation of Lord Shiva fetched from the banks of river Narmada) in the vacant sanctum sanctorum. Restoration of Pushkarini (Holy Pond), Mahisha Mardini temple and Umamaheshwara temple structure is being completed. The temple is being restored using the same dismantled stones and a new flag post has been installed in front of the temple. Go Shala Now the temple has been nearly restored and is a new center of attraction. Every day, over a hundred devotees visit the temple, while the weekends witness a heavy rush. "It is a miracle that Hosagunda where an isolated place which was neglected for years is a center of attraction. Earlier this place was used for grazing cattle and we used to enter forest for firewood. We knew there is some monument look like an ancient temple but never knew its importance. But Shastry's special interest has changed entire structure of village and history is being repeated," says Hosagunda resident Vinayak Bhatt. Girish Hosagunda, who looks after the management of Sri Umamaheshwara Seva Trust, told Bfirst: "We are from Hosagunda, but we did not know about the temple being hidden in the forest. We had heard that renovation or offering any Pooja to these may harm our village, but entry of CMN Shastry has changed the entire look of the village.” CMN Shastry According to Girish, after the trust was formed, villagers stood with Shastry and helped to restore the village. "Now the village has its own recognition and the weekends are filled with tourists,” said Girish.