The Historic Annantheshwara Temple
South India is known for its rich cultural heritage in the form of Temples – dedicated to God Krishna and Lord Shiva. The state of Karnataka has especially marked its significance in this context. The two most ancient temples found in Karnataka are the Annantheshwara Temple and the Chandramauleshwara Temples, situated in Udupi, a small town located 60 kms away from Mangalore.
The Anantheshwara temple dates back its existence to the 8th century, anciently known as 'Mahadeva’ of Udupi. Located in Manjeshwar, Udupi, the temple is also known as 'Manjula Kshetra' and 'the temple of 18 towns'.
This place was anciently known as Sivalli. Locals also called it Siva-belli and sometimes even Rajathapeetha Pura. History has it that Ramabhoja who was an ardent follower of Lord Parashurama was crowned the king of this place, hence, the name Rajathapeetha Pura.
Once, Ramabhoja wished to perform a Yajna. In the process of performing the Yajna a snake was sighted and got killed by mistake. To free himself from Sarpa Dosha (sin of killing a snake), the king decided to make a Silver Pedestal (Rajatha Peetha) which would have images of snakes carved on it, as instructed by Lord Parashurama.
Another story says that Lord Shiva occupied the silver pedestal in the form of a Linga. It is also said that Lord Parashurama was requested by Lord Shiva to enshrine the Linga in the form Lord Anantha. This is how the name Anantheshwara came into existence. This is how the story of the temple of Anantheshwara coming into being.