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The Golden Era of Veerashaiva faith in coastal Karnataka during Keladi reign

This article particularly not upholding a particular community instead to give information to the people on the hidden rich history of Veerashaiva faith in Undivided Dakshina Kannada districts (Present Dakshina Kannada & Udupi district) of Karnataka.

During the Vijayanagara kingdom the main feudatories to this region are Keladi kings are Veerashiava followers and Aftermath of the Vijayanagar kingdom fall they powerfully ruled the present Malenadu regions, Coastal Karnataka regions – Shimoga, Chickmagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada district’s, Kasaragod of Kerala respectively.
Queen Chennamma (In the middle of sculpture) 

They built many forts along the coastal belts – Bekal fort (Kasargod, Kerala), Mirjan fort, Basavaraj Durga  (Honnavara)

Basavarajdurga Fort,Honnavara
Bekal fort, Kasargodu

Bekal fort, Kasaragodu

During this time they glorified the Veerashaiva faith in this region by constructing many Mutt’s (Religious place for spiritual studies,accommodation & free food ) As per Mr. Ganapathi Rao Aigal 1  there are 45 Veerashaiva mutt’s in Dakshin Kannada district and each one of mutt from the below listed town’s:

Basrur, Koteshwara, Siddhapura, Maniga, Balekuduru, Benne kuduru, Shankaranarayan, Barkur, Kandlooru, Uppooru, Klayanapura, Kondadi, Udupi, Naala, Kerewaane, Naravi, Karkala, Sanooru, Moodabidre, Venooru, Puchhemogaru, Guruvayanakere, Blthangady, Uppinangady, Hosamatha, Bellare, Vittla, Ullala, Manjeshwara (Kasargod), Bantwala & Gurupura.

As per Prof Gopala Krishna Samaga2 the Veerashiava faith was flourished in Tulunadu by 14th Century AD during the Hoysala region itself, many Veerashaiva traders were engaged in the trading that time.

During Hoysala reign, Virupaksha Ballala IV granted a two-copper inscription to a Veerashaiva jangama saint Shri Haradanahalli Gosalacharya visited to Tulunadu during his reign   and performed many super magical healing by his great will power.

The below details captured form one of Copper inscription7:

From the Barkur inscription (1372 AD)  the Veerashaiva’s first religious center was at Koteshwara in Tulunadu after that it spreads to  Basrur, Barkuru of Udupi district.

From the below inscription 3 dated 1373 AD  October 20, saka 1295 Paridhavin Karthika Su 5 Guruvara the inscription refers itself to the region of Mahamandeleshawara Goparasa Vodeya was ruling Barkuru Rajya , Nandinatha, Bringinatha, Virabhadradeva, and Ganakumara Heggade, purchased some plots of land, the specified boundary in koteshwara and made a gift to the temple of koteshwara for feeding UBHAYA JANGAMAS during the festival called Katiya habba; the yield of land was 12 Mudes rice and 40 honnus.

Along with this one more inscription 4 during Vijayanagar reign of Pratapa Maharaya son of Virupaksharaya Maharaya dated A.D 1487 (Saka 1409, Plavanga Kartika , Su 5, Ravivara )
It records that while Virupaksha Odeya was governing the Barakuru Rajya, Rudrakshi-Odeya , the gurus of Settikaras built a  matha (Mutt) at the paduvakeri of Basarur and that Settis endowed the matha with plots of land. The boundaries of the lands and their annual income are given:

These rulers not only glorified Shaiva faith along with this they are tolerant with other faith’s Vaishnavism (Madhwa), Jainism, Christianity, Muslims. During Veerabhadra nayaka reign AD 1639 and Keladi  Chennamma (1672-1698), they donated enormous  lands to Udupi Shri Krishna mutt as well Krishnapura mutt as per inscriptions(5)

After the death of Somashekara Nayaka in 1677, Chennamma efficiently handled the administration of the Keladi dynasty. During her reign rendered a trade agreement with the Portuguese involving commodities like Pepper, Rice.

She was given the epithet “The pepper Queen” or “Raina da Pimento “by the Portuguese6.  

Queen of Keladi -Chennamma

According to the inscriptions the following mutt’s built-in this regions :

·        Kollur Siddeshwara Mutt(AD1485)
·        Basrur Rudrakshi Odeyara Mutt(AD1487)
·        Bsavappa built a Mutt in Basrooru(AD 1641)
·        Shankaranarayana Virupaksha Devara Mutt (AD1562)
·        Barkooru Mahathinna Mutt(AD1621)
·        Siddammaji built Mutt in Someshwara (AD 1641)
·        Chennanna built Mutt in Hosangadi (AD 1659)
·        Paramesha Ayya built a Mutt in Koteshwara (AD1665)

Along with this, there are many Mutt’s in Kalianapura(Udupi), Soorali, Venooru(Nirvana Swamy mutt), Brahmavara, Yenneholey, Surathkal, Mangalore, etc & each mutt there will be a minimum of 150 – 200 acres of land as donated that time for the development activities.

Jangama Mutt-Manipal

Jangam mutt-Manipal

The Veerashaiva influence in this region is evident from place names like Blamatta, Basavanagudi, Kadumath, Hosamath, Ganjimatha, etc it’s popular places surrounding in Mangalore.

The below photo snaps of Gurupura Jangama Mutt(Neelakanteshwara Temple), Mangalore

It’s sad to say that only a few mutts are active in this region and other mutts lost their royalty due to many reasons like financial aid, political acquisition, etc.

It’s our humble request to the Department of Archaeology, Karnataka Government & Veerashaiva -Lingayath Leaders to undergo the survey of these mutts and preservation of documents in the catalog form.
To be Continued......

Shiv Kumar Mutt


1.       Mr. Ganapathi Rao Aigal :
Dakshina kannada Prachina Ithihasa : Ganpathi Aigal, Pg no 134, 300-301  (In Kannada language)

2.       Prof Gopala krisna Samaga : Ithihaasa darshana pgn
3.       South-India inscription Volume IX -PART II ; Inscription no 415 & page number 19.
4.       South India Inscription Volume IX -PART II ; Inscription no 473 & page number 487-489.
5.       Mr Ganapathi Rao Aigal  
Dakshina kannada Prachina Ithihasa : Ganpathi Aigal Pg no 195-201
7.       Veerashiava religion in Dakshina Kannada District by Shrinivasa Bhatta , Kateel “Paramjyothi”August 1992 Pg no 35-36 (In Kannada Language)


  1. Good research information in one page


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