The Padi Igguthappa temple dedicated to Igguthappa is the most important temple in Coorg. Igguthappa is the chief deity of Kodagu or Coorg and the total deity of the Kodava community. In ancient times, he was probably considered the god of rain and harvest. The reason for my guess is that rain is important for the survival of crops and for the survival of humans.
The local farmers still offer the first yield of their paddy to the Lord every year in this temple. After this, a festival called Farmers’ Puttari is formally launched in the Coorg region.
Igguthappa Temple of Madikeri
According to legends related to this temple, Igguthappa was the fourth child among the 4 divine children of his parents who had reached the Malabar coast in a conch shell. He was a total of 6 brothers and a sister. Each of the three elder brothers selected one village in Kerala for themselves and settled there. Four younger sisters and brothers crossed the Western Ghats and reached the Coorg region.
These four sisters and brothers lived at this place like any other siblings, that is, they quarreled and lived together. Of these, the eldest brother Igguthappa decided to reside here and provide rain and paddy to the residents of Kodagu. Other siblings moved elsewhere.
Here you can read the entire story.
The head of the Padi Igguthappa temple is Deva Subramanya or Karthik who is believed to be the son of Shiva and Kaveri Amma. Kaveri Amma is considered an incarnation of Gauri. The temple has idols of both Shiva and Igguthappa. In this region, the river Kaveri is considered as Kaveri Amma, the omnipresent goddess of Coorg and its citizens.
The priest of the temple was preparing food for the devotees. While doing their work, they started talking to me. He told me that this is a centuries-old temple. It was built by King Rajendra of Kodagu in 1810. Recently the temple has been renovated by the citizens of Coorg. For this, he had collected crores of rupees.
According to him, Igguthappa is the local name of Shiva’s son Kartikeya. It literally means, God who provides food. People here believe that at some time they used to live in Coorg in human form. It is also believed that Karthikeya asked people to provide him food. From that time, the Farmers’ Festival of Farmers in Coorg is celebrated.
Putri – Harvest Festival
The date of the Puttari festival usually falls in the middle of December when the Sun travels in the Rohini constellation. It is in a way an annual tour of God. At this time procession of Igguthappa Bhagwan is carried out. They are bathed, groomed, entertained by music and dance, and after the procession they return to the temple. Thereafter 4 types of Shiva Tandava dances are performed in front of them, which is the divine dance of Lord Shiva. After this, elaborate prayers are offered to the god of Igguthappa. Food is donated. Tula load is organized in which devotees donate food grains equal to the weight of their or their relative. I mentioned the same process of Libra load in one of my editions on Dwarka.
Pujariji said that he himself or his family members perform the Tandava dance. They all have received extensive training in this dance form.
In the temple, the Tulabhar ritual is organized on every Saturday and Sunday.
He told that if there is a possibility of delay in arrival of rain or there is a possibility of rain deficiency, then people come here to pray for adequate rainfall. He also gave an example of this, that an officer of Tata Coffee came here for special poojas in the year that there was not enough rainfall. It is said that only after a few hours of the puja rituals, the god of rain pleased and fulfilled his wish.
Many childless couples also come here with the desire of children. Pujariji was telling that he saw at least 500 couples who had children after offering prayers at the Padi Igguthappa temple.
While they were talking to us, they were cooking continuous food for the devotees. We also got the privilege of tasting the food. We had breakfast here, ate pineapple pudding and also drank hot tea.
Visit of Padi Igguthappa Temple
This temple is located in Kakabe town, about 10 kilometers from Madikeri city. It is easily accessible by road. To reach the temple one has to climb up by a steep path from where you can enjoy the unending beauty of the green valleys of Coorg.
It is a small temple, but it is best maintained on the hill. While we were walking towards the temple, we saw many idols of Naga Naginis under a tree. All signs of worship and worship were present on them. Most of the statues had garlands of fresh flowers. Among them, a lamp was lit in front of a group of large idols. Snake is an important symbol in this region. Seeing this, I remembered the Tharu community of Nepal, who keep the idol of Kundali Dhari Nag in front of their residence.
A bangle seller was selling glass bangles. I could not understand that these bangles are for the devotees or they are offered to God.
Architecture of Igguthappa Temple
The present structure of the temple is less than 10 years of age. Seeing him, one can immediately get an idea of this fact. It is designed by stone rocks. Its slanted roof is similar to that we see in Kerala temples. The roof towards the entrance is beautifully engraved with metallic embellishments. Gajakritis were also visible on both sides of me.
As a visitor you are not allowed to enter the temple. Therefore, God decorated with flowers will have to be satisfied by seeing you from a distance. The main entrance has a cover of silver letters on which many Kodagu legends and inscriptions are engraved.
The outer walls of the temple have stone plaques embossed on which beautiful sculptures of the stories of the Kodavas have been done. They are sculpted with scenes related to the worship of God, weights, warfare, festivals, music and dances.
Philosophy of vibrant Kodagu culture
The best part of the temple’s vision and observation was the philosophy of the vibrant culture of Kodagu! The women here dress in saris in the traditional Coorgi style. This style is similar to the style of other places in India, the only difference being that the front part of the normal sari is in front of them and the front part is in their back. It seems as if the women rotate 180 degrees keeping the saree in the same place. In this style, I saw many women wearing colorful saris sitting at the temple munder. I was very surprised to see this style of wearing a sari.
I was the only one among the women who came to see the temple, which was not decorated in a sari. I was fully aware of his rejected vision. The food cooked in the form of prasad and cooked by the priest was being offered to the devotees. We did not stay there for food because there was so much observation of other places. But there were many families waiting in line waiting for their call.
• The temple remains open from morning till noon. The pastern opens for a few hours in the evening. You should confirm the exact time of opening of the temple with the local residents.
• Photographic painting is not allowed inside the temple.
• The doors of the dining room are open to all the devotees and tourists visiting the temple.
• Tourists are not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
• Choose your dress keeping in mind the sanctity of the temple and the dignity of the rites.
Translation: Madhumita Tamhane