Mekkekattu Nandikeshwara Temple
Mekkekattu Nandikeshwara Temple is one of the very distinct temples in Udupi with the presence of hundreds of mysterious wooden dolls inside the temple. Close to a historical place Barkur, this temple is one of the must-visit spots around Udupi.
Mekkekattu is 27 km from Udupi and 13 km from Brahmavara. If you are travelling to this place from Brahmavara or Udupi, you can also visit yet another historical site Barkur on the way. We will come up with a separate post on Barkur shortly.
After crossing Saibrakatte Junction, A tall unique arch present at right side of the Barkur Siddapura road near Kudrekatte bust stop will lead you to the Mekkekattu temple. Saibrakatte Temple is just 1km inside from this arch. Once you reach the temple premise you will find ample space to park your vehicle.
The Nandikeshwara temple of Mekkekattu is uniquely famous for the large wooden dolls, few as high as 10-12 feet. First glimpse of the interior of the temple will make one feel like any other typical coastal temple. But a close observation on the small hall to the left will reveal all the giant wooden dolls of the temple.
The temple has as many as 156 wooden idols that are worshipped daily.
In the absence of any historical proof, some believe that the idols represent Lord Shiva’s army (Ganas).
But the presence of few warrior dolls wearing Mughal, Sikh, and even British styled hats, defies any such connection to mythology and remains a mystery.
The attic of this temple has some more of these mysterious dolls.
The main deity of the temple is Nandi (Bull), which is the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Another important deity is Goddess Durga (Ammanavaru), seen with 4 hands, riding a 5 faced bull (instead of lion).
With the unique style of wood carving and painting and the huge collection of mysterious wooden dolls, Nandikeshwara temple has earned its own importance in the locality.