Narahari Hill Near Mangalore
Narahari Hill is located on NH48, the highway that connects Mangalore to Bangalore. From Pumpwell circle, Mangalore the Narahari Hill is exactly 26 kms (about 30 minutes drive if you start out early in the morning). Hit the highway and once you reach BC road then its 2 kms from BC Road junction. Continue on the highway and on your right you will spot an entrance to the temple, with words written in Kannada saying “Entrance to Narahari Temple”. Take this road and you will encounter a steep slope. The road is well asphalted and should be a pleasure to drive. Keep following the road and once the road ends, you will need to climb some stairs. There are about 150 steps to climb.
For those of you, who haven’t driven on the NH48, then you sure have missed a pleasurable drive. If you forget the occasional potholes, the drive is a pleasure, with lush greenery on both sides. The photograph below gives a glimpse of what you can expect.
There are stretches on the highway, where speed seekers can crank in some gas. You can easily hit above 90km/hr without blinking an eyelid. But just be a bit cautious of unruly drivers (“As long as you stick to the rules fast driving is not rash driving”- Supreme court of India) who drive on the right. At Panemangloor there is a bridge spanning the Nethravathi River, its worth stopping there and having a look at the river. You may even spot some Kingfisher’s or Heron’s fishing. At BC road junction, the road is in a pathetic condition. Be a bit careful during rains. Once you come close to Narahari temple and enter the temple entrance (the one I mentioned above), you will be greeted with a scene photographed below. Your final destination is at the tip of this peak.
To reach the peak you have to climb the 150 steps. The climb itself is fantastic. Take your time and slowly climb up, if you find the climb too laborious then you can perch on the many rocks that dot the stairway and you will be greeted by many chirping birds. Within 15 minutes of my climb, I spotted Woodpeckers, Babblers, Orioles, Drongo’s, Chloropsis and Munia’s and even many more birds later. Also the place is a butterfly haven. Many colourful butterflies dot the entire climb. If you love to watch birds then this place is worth investing your time in. For the adventurous, you can even explore the nearby forest.
Once you continue your climb you will finally reach the peak, which has a Narahari temple on it. Legend goes that Nara and Hari, incarnations of Lord Vishnu were supposed to have performed their penance here. This hilltop temple is also known for its small ponds, which are in the shape of Shanka (Conch), Chakra (Wheel), Gadha (Heavy Weapon) and Padma (Lotus), the weapons of Vishnu. Once on top, you can relax on the many park benches that are provided here. Pleasant cold breeze will cool you mind and soul here. This is a perfect place to relax and look at the panoramic view.
The panoramic view on top of Narahari Hill is breathtaking. Lush green landscape, dotted by fields and the backdrop of the purple looking Western Ghats on one side and a foggy looking Arabian sea on the other simply breathtaking…
According to a legend, Sri Krishna (Lord Hari) accompanied with Arjuna (Nara) offered penance here to free themselves from the sins committed during the Mahabharatha’s Kurukshetra war. Lord Hari as a sign of his visit sculpted Shanka (Conch), Chakra (Wheel), Gadha (Heavy Weapon) and Padma (Lotus) giving rise to the four ‘Teerthakoopas’ (Holy Ponds) which are present even today. Arjuna purified himself by bathing in these holy ponds and installed the Shivalinga and worshipped it and hence the hill gets its unique name ‘Narahari Sadashiva’. The astounding hill is topped with the ‘Narahari Parvatha Sadashiva Temple’ which engulfs every visitor with serenity. It could be pilgrimage to the devotees or an expedition for the trekkers but it takes a climb of 333 steps to reach the top. The boards that say ‘Shiva Shiva’ on the sides of the railing can be a motivation for the devotees to stick to their climb and hence honour their deity. Once you reach the top, the four ‘Teerthakoopas’ are an unbelievable sight as they are perfectly in the shape of a Shanka, Chakra, Gadha and Padma.
The panoramic view from the top can keep anyone rooted to the ground for hours. When you stand on this mountain, you can see Sulliamale, Ballamale on the eastern side and Kadenjamale on the southern side. With national highway on one side and Mangalore Hassan railway line on the other, the sight of the graceful Nethravathi River makes the view exquisite. Soon after the magnificent sunset, the lights from the nearby towns such as Pane Mangaluru, Kalladka and B C road make us feel that we are gazing at the stars from heaven.
People throng this mountain during ‘Aati Amavasya’ and ‘Sona Amavasya’ for Teerthasnana (Dip in the ponds). The Renovated Bramhakalasha establishment day, Shivaratri, Nagapanchami and Sri Ganesh Chaturthi are the other festivals celebrated with pomp in this temple. The last Monday of the Karthika month is considered to be an auspicious and vibrant day as various religious and cultural programmes are held. Taking a dip in the ponds on this day is considered to be sacred. So, people are seen flocking the hill during this particular day.
Devotees believe that by performing ‘Baliwadu Seva’ in this temple, people can overcome their fears. By performing ‘Pasharpane’ people can get relief from breathing problems, by performing ‘Thotilu Magu Seva,’ the barren can be blessed with children and with Tender Coconut Abhisheka all the desires will be fulfilled.
Ideal Time to Visit Narahari Hills
The best period to visit this place I think is during the monsoons from July to December. The entire area around the mountain will be lush green and you may even be lucky enough to see low level clouds around the peak. Morning’s between 7 to 10 is the best time to visit the place. Birds are most active around this time and the temperature is at its coolest.
If you are going there during monsoons carry an umbrella. If it rains when you are climbing the stairs then trees are your only cover. Carry your own water and food if any. Once you cross BC road you don’t have any shops nearby. The only shop at the hills will be closed sometimes.