Saligrama is a temple town on the Mangaluru-Mumbai National Highway, 22KMs from Udupi in Karnataka. Guru Narasimha is the presiding deity of Saligrama Temple and also the family deity (Kuladevaru) of many families residing in nearby villages and those who are originally from these places.
The idol (vigraha) is of around three feet in height and is carved out of single saligrama (shalagrama) stone and hence the name Saligrama for this place.
It is believed that idol was installed by Lokaditya King of Mourya dynasty around 4 th century AD under the leadership of Rajaguru Bhattacharya.
Residents of these places were originally from Ahichhatra (near Godavari river) and migrated to this place practicing Karma Marga (performance of Yajna, Yaga, Homa.), long before Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya toured this place around 8 th Century AD for the revival of Hindu Dharma by preaching Jnana Marga. Probably this explains the reason why they were not influenced by Sri Shankara’s Jnana Marga and did not become disciples/followers of Jagadgurus of any Matha(Mutt) established by Adi Shankaracharya. However they follow Shankaracharya's Advaita Philosophy.
Rather than accepting a human being as their Guru, the people accepted Lord Narasimha as their Guru and hence the temple came to be known as Sri Guru Narasimha Devasthana (Temple).
Though the presiding deity is Narasimha, the rituals conducted at the temple are not like in Vaishnavaite temples but like in Shivaite Temples. Moreover, Lord Ganapathi occupies a prominent place in all the rituals.
The reasoning could be as follows:
It seems Gajanana appeared to the devotees with ten hands with wife, Vallabha, and hence Dashbhuja Ganapati finds reference in available manuscripts.(Click to view the original Dashabhuja Ganapathi Vigraha believed to have been worshipped by Bhattacharya)
Legend has it that, since Lord Narasimha appeared as Lord Ganesha in Bhattacharya’s dream, Bhattacharya installed Narasimha Idol (Vigraha) on Ganesha Yantra in the temple.
These incidences explain the reasons why Ganahoma is performed in place of Guru Pooje in all Mangala Karyas at homes of many and also for invoking ‘Maha Ganapati Nrasimha Priityartham’ in Sankalpas in all functions at temple.
Originally many from here carried the family names like Hande, Basri, Tunga, Navuda, Holla, Mayya, Hebbara, and Karanta. Later, Adiga, Aithal, Alse, Bhatta, Herle, Madhyastha, Udupa, Upadhya, Urala and many other family names came in to existence.
Tantris, experts in Agamas, offer their services for conducting special (other than daily) religious activities at temple like annual festivals. In the case of Saligrama temple and many other temples in the coastal belt and in Malnad area, the Tantris are from Gudde Somayaji families residing at a village near Saligrama.
Sri Kota Vasudeva Somayaji, the eldest son of Veda Brahma Narasimha Somayaji is from one such family and was also Tantri of Saligrama and other temples in the region.
Realising the need for a Suprabhata Stotra for the presiding deity of Saligrama temple, Sri Kota Vasudeva Somayaji composed Sri Guru Narasimha Suprabhata Stotra in 1974.
Koota Maha Jagattu, Saligrama® not only made audio recording of his composition sung by Sangita Vidwan R. K. Shrikanthan and Shrimati M. S. Sheela in 1978, but also arranged for its broadcast on All India Radio, Bengaluru in 1980s.
With deterioration in the quality of the cassette, a need was felt to re-record the same. The trust Kootastha Veda Shastra Pooshaka Sangha® took upon itself the responsibility of re-recording of the Suprabhata with the sole objective of preserving traditional values. Ganakalabhushana Vidvan R K Padmanabha and Vidushi Sahana Ramachandra have sung to the original tune again. The trust has released the CD containing the Suprabhatam which is of 27 Minutes duration.
Few Sooktas are recited during temple festivals and on special occasions. Recording of few of these Sooktas recited by Sri. Kota Vasudeva Somayaj done for private use, is also available on same CD, duration of which is 10 Minutes. The CD also has Sandhyavandane mantra in the voice of Sri Somayaji recorded earlier for private use and is of 22 Minutes duration.
Due to popular demand from music lovers, the trust has released the 2nd edition of this in CD without Sandhyavandana mantra. Click to view the cover layouts.
The trust has released a VCD of video graphed Suprabhata on first track and a documentary on Car festival of Saligrama Temple on second track. Click to view the cover layouts.
The trust has released a MP3 CD containing 24 Sooktas ( Rudra, Namaka, Chamaka, Shree, Purusha and others) recited by experts in the field. Each Sookta is preceded by an introduction in Kannada. All of the Suktas having instrumental music (Flute and Veena) in the background is the unique feature of this CD production. Click to view the cover layouts.
All of these CDs are available for sale and can be had from the trust.
Click for mp3 free download of Suprabhatam Stotra.
Click for free download of Rudra (Namaka, Chamaka) and Shree/Shri suktas/mantras.
Click for mp3 free download of Sandhyavandana/Sandhyavandane Mantras.