Travel: We took the Hampi express from Bangalore on 19th Sept. It started at 10:30 pm and reached Mantralya Road at 7:30 am. For return, we took the Udayan express from Mantralaya Road at 10:05 pm and it reached Banglore contonment station
at 7:45 am.
Trip: We reached Mantaralya Road at 7:30 am. As soon as we stepped out there were government buses, which got filled within a minute. It was 8 Rs per head. Apart from busses there were many shared autos which charged 15 Rs per head. From Mantralya road, Mantralya is a 20 minute journey.
We had booked a room in our community's hostel there. It took us 15 minutes to get a
room. We freshened up and left the room at 9:30 am. There are plenty of hotels in Mantralaya, and it is quiet easy to get rooms.
To eat we went to Udupi restaurant, it was close to the temple and it looked decent from outside, food was decent too, we had a quick breakfast and headed for the Tungabadra river.
Tungabadra river:Tungabadra river is a 5 minute walk from the temple. It was a very sad scene there. The entire bank of Tungabadra River was nothing but a Dobhi Ghat. It was muddy and dirty everywhere. People, who wanted to have a bath there, took a coracle to nearby rocks, which were 40 meters away from the bank. We did a quick puja to the river goddess and left the banks.
Manchalmma Temple: We reached the temple and first visited the Manchalmma Temple. It is situated on the left corner of the Mutt complex, Goddess Manchalamma is the presiding deity of the village. Before visiting Raghavendra swamy, we need to first visit the goddess. We can offer madallakki to the goddess, this time due to time constraints I hadn't taken it.
We then looked for what seva we could get done for Raghavendra swamy. In the list we saw that, most pujas were for either 5 am or 7:30 am. Only one puja "Archana sahitha Hastodaka" was for 11 am. We took that and went in. We went into gate 8, for the sankalpa. We were allowed to go into the sanctum right opposite to vrindavan and watch the archana and arathi. We then had a darshan of the vrindavan and went in for 14 pradakshinas.
Behind the mutt in a huge hall, there is idol of Moola Rama. Men not in Dhothis were not allowed into the hall. So, Raj could not come in for the darshan.
We returned to our room and went for lunch in our community hall.
Panchmukhi Temple: After a deep noon sleep, we started from our room at 4 pm. Had a quick tea at Udupi and took a shared auto to Panchamukhi temple. It costed us 30 Rs per head. It took around 40 minutes to reach Panchmukhi owing to the bad roads and stuffed shared autos. Our bodies had started aching by the time we reached Panchmukhi. Taking a bus would have been a good option, but there were no buses after 3 pm!!
The temple had padas of Hanuman at 3 places. We then went into the temple, took a ticket for mangalarthi. We had expected a glorious idol of Panchamukhi Hanuman. But it was udbhava murthi. We couldn't clearly make out the God. There was udhbava
murthi of Venkateshwara too. There were idols of Ganesha, Rudra devaru and Sesha devaru which were installed by the founder priest Antacharya.
It is said Raghavendra swamy performed penance here for 12 years in that place when Lord Venkateshwara, Goddess Lakshmi and Panchmukhi Anjenya appeared and blessed him, and asked him to enter the brindhavan. Around the temple are the natural formation of rocks.
Return to Mantralya was much better and it took us 50 minutes to reach Mantralya. We went to have another darshan of Raghavendra Swamy. It wasn't crowded as most of the crowd was standing outside the temple for the dinner which starts at 7:30 pm. Preparations for Rathosava was on. The chariots looked magnificient.
The rathosava was scheduled to start at 8:30 pm, and we had to catch the 10 pm train, we couldn't wait to see the rathosava. We checked out of the room and took a shared auto at 15 Rs per head to the railway station.
Temple Timings: Darshan starts from 6 am in the morning and the temple remains open till 2 pm. Evening it opens at 4 pm and remains open till around 8:30 pm. Dinner at temple starts from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.
Raghvendra Swami's Padukes: Last time when I had been to Mantralya, we had seen the the original paduke's of Raghvendra swamy. It kept in the archaka's house. Before Raghavendra swamy entered the brindhavan he gave his padukes to the archaka. Since, then the padukes have been handed over in the family. I can't remember the exact location of the house but I do have the contact number : 08512 - 279427. In case anyone going there get the address please post it on this blog.
Things to remember:
If you plan for bath in Tungabadra river, then take a coracle to some nearby rocks.
Men will not be allowed with shirts on and to enter moola rama mandir, dhoti is a must.
To go to Panchmukhi first half of the day via buses would be better.