It is natural for humans to seek solace from God when all other efforts fail. Sri Santhana Venugopala Swamy Temple (Huchappa Gopala) at Hemmaragala Grama, Nanjangud taluk in Mysore district is where devotees, especially childless couples, go to overcome their problems.
The temple which is said to be 1,800 years old, was built during the reign of the Cholas and Gangas. There is a stick (danda) in the temple which is said to have belonged to Koundinya Maharshi, a saint from the pre Buddha era. Before relinquishing his body, he is said to have transferred all his spiritual powers to the stick which is believed to cure any ailment, the priests say.
Couples without children from across the country come here to worship. The ceiling is adorned with small silver cradles as a testimony to the number of couples who were blessed.
Several couples have written in the temple records that they were blessed with children after offering prayers here. Some even recovered from serious ailments. Devotees offer pooja to the Santhana Sudharshana Chakra placed inside the sanctum sanctorum. There is a Nagarkallu in the temple’s backyard.
People believe that by worshiping it, their supposed ‘sarpa dosha’ will be removed. “Since the time of our ancestors, we have been visiting this temple and I believe that there is a supreme power here. The deity is very powerful and we have been cured of all ailments,” says Seenappa, a villager.
A couple who had travelled all the way from Hyderabad said it was their second visit. They had prayed for a child three years earlier and were finally blessed. Though the temple comes under the Muzrai Department, all the developmental works are taken up by devotees. On Saturdays and Sundays, thousands of devotees offer prayers as the temple which is 14 km from Nanjangud.
The presiding deity is also known as ‘Huchappa Gopala.’ According to priest N Veeraraghavan, one of the Chola kings had only girl children and prayed to Lord Gopala to bless him with a boy. When his 12th child was also a girl, he left the baby at the temple for a day out of anger.
However, when he came to pick up the child the next day, it was a boy. Since then, the deity has been addressed as ‘Huchappa Gopala’.