A unique cave temple- Jala Narasimha Swamy Temple, Bidar, Karnataka

Jala Narasimha Swamy Temple (also known as Narasimha Jharni) is located near to Bidar town, Karnataka 120 kms from Hyderabad on the Hyderabad-Mumbai National Highway no. 65 and around 700 kms from state capital Bengaluru.

Narasimha Jharni (local Kannada: ನರಸಿಂಹ ಝರನಿ) is a cave temple. It is associated with Bhagwan Narasimha, an incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu. The ancient temple was excavated in a 300 m tunnel under the Manichoola hill range situated at around 4.8 km from the Bidar city. One has to walk through the cave wherein water height varies from 4 feet to 5 feet to have a darshan of the deity’s image formed on the laterite wall at the end of tunnel which is an architectural wonder.

Source: Wikipedia

The end of the cave temple is the sanctum sanctorum which houses two deities – Bhagwan Narasimha and a Shiva Linga which the demon Jharasura (Jalasura) had worshipped. Around six to eight people can stand and watch this spectacular sight as there is very little space in there. Others need to wait in the water for their turn.

Source

Since the water flows continuously and people walk in it, the water does not remain crystal clear. People carry kids into the temple on their shoulder. The water has sulphur in it and is said to have healing properties for people having skin problems. This temple is especially visited by many child seeking couples.

Sthala Purana

Bhagwan Vishnu guarded the child devotee Prahlada, who was put to endless torture by his father Hiranyakashipu, a Demon, for chanting Bhagwan’s name instead of his own. But Prahlada withstood all these tortures with steadfast devotion. Finally Bhagwan appeared in the form of a Man-Lion (Nara-Simha), and killed Hiranyakashipu.

This fourth incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu, Bhagwan Narasimha, is half human and half lion. Legend says that Bhagwan Narasimha after killing Hiranyakashipu, killed another giant named Jharasura (Jalasura) who was a staunch devotee of Bhagwan Shiva. While breathing his last, Jharasura pleaded with Bhagwan Vishnu (i.e., his incarnation Narasimha) to reside in the cave in which he was living and to grant boons to the devotees.

Granting last wish of Jharasura, Narasimha came to live in the cave. There is a roughly carved image of Narasimha on a stone wall at the end of the cave. After being killed, the demon turned into water and started flowing down the feet of Bhagwan Narasimha. The flow of water in the cave tunnel is continuous since then. The spring has never dried out.

The traditional tales reveal that Vidura lived here; hence the place was earlier called Viduranagara and also as the place where Nala and  Damayanti (Daughter of Raja Bhima, the King of Vidharba) met each other. The recorded history of the city goes back to the third century B.C. when it was a part of the Mauryan Empire. After the Mauryas, Satavahanas, Kadambas, and Chalukyas of Badami and later the Rashtrakutas ruled the Bidar territory.

Geology

Narasimha Jharni is a tubular spring. Though Bidar is at an elevation, the temple is at a lower level. It is located amidst the slopes of the hilly terrain. The lateritic rock formation under the plateau enables percolation of surface water. The plateau consists of red laterite rocky crust, of a depth varying from 30.5 m to 152.4 m supported on impervious trap base.

This has resulted in springs at the cleavages between trap and laterite rocks. Such water springs can be observed in Bidar also at places like Guru Nanak Jhira Sahib Gurudwara, Papanasha Shiva Temple etc.

Facilities at the temple

To facilitate the devotees, the cave temple has been air conditioned and electrified for lighting systems. The temple is open from 8 AM to 6 PM. Parking space, multi-purpose hall, rooms, overhead tank to ensure adequate water supply to the devotees and a percolation tank to make use of the water coming out of the cave are some of the amenities one can find at this temple.

Considering the inflow of devotees which is increasing day by day and particularly during the festivals and holidays, the temple authorities/ government should think of expanding the range of facilities like- construction of queue complexes, rest rooms, halls for devotees to sit, canteen, publications on temple history etc.

Nearby cities are Bidar, Sadasivapet, Tandur. Bidriware, one of the rarest and most intricate art forms is unique to the city. This native art form has obtained Geographical Indications (GI) registry.

How to reach Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple?

Devotees who visit the cave temple can go by air, rail or road travel.

Air – Hyderabad airport is the nearest one.

Road – Luxury buses to Bidar are available from all over Karnataka.

Train – Bidar has a major railway station that is well connected to all major cities.


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About the Author

Dr. B.N.V. Parthasarathi
Ex- Senior Banker, Financial and Management Consultant and Visiting faculty at premier B Schools and Universities. Areas of Specialization & Teaching interests - Banking, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Economics, Global Business & Behavioural Sciences. Qualification- M.Com., M.B.A., A.I.I.B.F., PhD. Experience- 25 years of banking and 14 years of teaching, research and consulting. 100 plus national and international publications on various topics like- banking, global trade, economy, public finance, public policy and spirituality. One book in English “In Search of Eternal Truth”, two books in Telugu and 20 short stories and 27 articles published in Telugu. Email id: [email protected]