Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sonde-Sacred Place of Guru Shri Vadiraja Teertha

Hi! This is my second post in Punya Kshetra Series in which I plan to write about many important holy sites and shrines of India.
In this post I would like to give some detailed information on Sonde.My main intention in starting this series is to give a brief insight about the pilgrimage centres,facilities available in those places to make the pilgrims comfortable.
This December end ,we wound up 2011 by visiting Sonde, a beautiful place which is blessed with the Brindavana ( sacred tomb ) of Shri Vadiraja, a great Madhwa Saint of the period 1480 AD-1600 AD.

Sode,also known as Sonde/Sonda and Swadi is at about 2000 ft altitude, is surrounded by Shalmali river and is situated in the present Uttara Kannada district some 20 Kms from Sirsi town.
Sode Village, eventhough it was a capital of a province under Vijayanagar empire five centuries ago, today activities  revolve around  Shri Vadiraja mutt which was also known as Kumbhasi Mutt before Vadiraja Teertha.
The mutt is approached by road through beautiful ,thick forests, lovely hills,water bodies like lakes and a river.
Dvaja Sthamba in front of Trivikrama Temple
As one nears the Sode Mutt,first to be sighted is the lake known as Hayagrive Samudra.Towards the west of this lake,crossing an arch of the Temple Entrance, stands a Dvaja Sthamba in front of the Ramaa Trivikrama Temple.Hamsa and Garuda are depicted on the dvaja sthamba.
The Ramaa Thrivikrama Temple consists of three parts-the sanctum sanctorum with the lovely idol of Lord Trivikrama,the stone chariot used for transporting Lord's idol and the idol of Sri Lakshmi Devi in the chariot.
To the south of the temple stands a stone incription recording the grant of land to the temple by Arasappa Nayaka.
To the north of the temple and down some 24 steps is the Rajangana which also houses the mutt's offices.Here is the entrance to the mutt,the puja mandir(ananthaasana),stores and kitchen.
Further down a flight of 24 steps,is the' Dhavala Ganga' pushkarini along with a smaller 'Sheethala Ganga' tank nearby.The waters of these tanks are believed to be a confluence of all holy rivers of India.
Dhavala Ganga Pushkarini
Around the pushkarini are located several small temples consecrated by Sri Vadiraja Teertha-Shri Chandramouleeshwara on south,Sri Veera Anjaneya on the west ,Sri Venugopalaswamy on the north.
Towards the east of Pushkarini is situated the pancha vrindavans with the vrindavan (Sacred Tomb)of Sri Vadiraja Teerha situated  in the centre surrounded by four more vrindavans forming a perfect square.In front of vrindavans is the temple of Sri Vedavyasa.On the right (to the south) of vrindavans is the temple of Kshetrapala-Bhootha raja.To the north is nagavana.
Also situated near the pancha vrindavans are four moola vrindavans and five mruttika vrindavans.
Uniqueness of Sode mutt
Serene surroundings around the mutt
Sode mutt is unique in many ways.It is a non commercial pilgrimage centre, i.e., there are no unnecessary shopping area to distract devotees attention.There are 2 shops where they sell required puja materials to the devotees.No Thefts,No misbehaviour in that entire area.People there in sonde attribute this to the Kshetrapala BhoothaRaja who protects the pilgrims from all these mishaps.There is a serene peaceful atmosphere in the entire mutt area where you can see devotees performing sandhyavandanam,reading scriptures and  practising meditation without disturbing others.
No wonder that spiritual people get addicted there to such wonderful atmosphere where the air is filled with divinity and reverence.
How to reach Sonde
Sonde /Sode is accessible by well maintained roads.There are Buses plying from Bangalore,Pune etc.
Nearest Railway stations are Hubli,Talegoppa.
From Hubli ,Sonde can be reached via Khalgatgi,Yellapur,Sirsi.From Sirsi it is just 20 kms.Hubli-Sonde is 120 kms and can be covered in 2 hours by Road.
Accomodation and Food
There are many rooms built by Mutt Authorities in buildings like RAJADHAMA and they charge a nominal Rs.150/- per room with an attached Bathroom and Toilet(Indian).The room is 10 by 10 dimensions with a wooden cot and 2 mats are provided by the authorities for each room.No mattresses and blankets.So Pilgrims should carry their own Blankets.Toilets are clean and well maintained.Rooms are available on First come First served basis.
As far as food is concerned,there is no problem in Sonde.At 11 am in morning they serve superb lunch and at 7.30 pm,dinner is provided to the pilgrims.The main Prasad there is 'Hayagriva'(contains cooked Bengal gram,jaggery,coconut etc) which is named after Vadiraja's favourite deity Hayagriva who is a form of MahaVishnu.They don't charge anything for food.Pilgrims can offer Donations for Annadaan at office.Sincere volunteers serve the food to the pilgrims.People who want Breakfast /coffee etc can get them in a nearby small hotel.There are 1 or 2 houses which prepare food at request for pilgrims.
Place where Bhootharaja Bali Puja is performed 
Puja,Aarthis are all held with great rigid rituals and splendour in Sode mutt by the Achars present in the mutt.In the evening,Bhootharaja Bali Puja is also conducted in the evening.A coconut is rolled by the devotees in Bhutharaja Sannidhi for fulfillment of their wishes.
Dress code-Shirt and Banians for Men are not allowed inside the Mandir.
Sankalpa Seva
Sankalpa Seva is one of the common seva offered in many madhwa mutts like Mantralayam and Sonde.
At Sode, Sankalpa Seva is quite different from that of Mantralayam.
Devotees who undertake Sankalpa to do the pradakshina Seva are required to buy the Seva tickets the previous day and report to the Acharya in the mutt early morning with a coconut.
First,Take a dip in Dhaval Ganga Tank,Wear a madi vastra or new vastra and go to the Acharya in the mandir to take the sankalpa.After Sankalpa is taken,Acharya hands over the coconut to the respective devotees and from then on,the coconut should be handled with so much care that it doesn't touch the ground till the seva is completed.
Then,Start the 7 Pradakshinas with Wet Madi Vastra.The coconut should be tied tightly with a long towel on the right side around the waist.Before each pradakshina dip 7 times in DhavalaGanga  and  while doing pradakshina 12 namaskaras have to be done to each small mandirs in the route of Pradakshina which covers Tulsi,Veera Anjaneya,Venugopalaswamy,Nagavana,Vadiraja,Bhootharaja , Brindavans and Chandramouleeshwara.After completing each pradakshina and after dipping 7 times in pushkarini,ladies should apply haldi,kumkum and gents should apply Gopi chandan on their foreheads.After completing the 7 big pradakshinas ,climb 50 steps to reach Trivikrama Temple and perform 7 Pradakshinas there.This entire seva takes 50 minutes to 1 hour.Come back to Dhaval Ganga ,Tie the cloth carrying coconut near Veera Anjaneya Temple.Change to dry Madi Vastra (Special changing compartments are there for Ladies) and  perform 108 Pradakshinas around the Pancha Brindavan in Mandir with 2 Namaskars per Pradakshina,one for Vadiraja and one for Bhootharaja.Time taken for 108 pradakshinas is around 3 and a half to 4 hours.While doing seva,chant simple mantras like "Vadirajaya Pahimaam,Bhootharajaya Rakshamaam".It adds to the divinity of the entire process,Seva is performed for 3 or more days.Once Seva is completed,on last day Krishnarpanam is performed by Acharya where he hands over the coconut to the devotee.
Rules to be followed during Seva

  • Follow simple lifestyle like sleeping on mats,don't wear footwear,don't shave or use cosmetics.
  • No Physical Intimacy between Couple on Seva days.
  • Food offered in mutt should only be consumed.Avoid Coffee,Tea.
  • In the evening Mutt authorities provide simple food like Upma,Flattened Rice to devotees performing seva.
  • Devotees are expected to spend their leisure time in Spiritual matters rather spending time in Gossiping.
  • In case of Nature's call amidst Seva time,devotees have to change to their normal dress,attend the call,after that take bath in Dhaval Ganga and change to Madi vastra and continue the Seva .       


It was a wonderful and fulfilling experience in Sonde for all of us.The entire place is full of Positive Vibrations ,rejuvenating and is peaceful.
I would like to end this post with Sri Vadiraja Mantra
Kamadenuh yatha purvam sarvaabheesta palapradaa
Thathakalau Vadirajah sripadobheeshtah sathaam
Srinamo Vadirajaaya deerghadaaridrya ghatine
Rajabhogapradathrecha namostu jayadayine

[Meaning:- Very much like the Kamadenu of the past yugas granting all our wishes,in this kaliyuga,Sri Vadiraja grants fulfillment of all our wishes.
Salutations to you Sri Vadiraja who destroys all our deep seated poverty and bestows upon all riches and leading us to victory in all our endeavours.]

Sri Vadiraja Teertha Sri Sode Vadiraja Mutt-A Brief Perspective by Gowdagere Vijaya Kumar Acharya.


Ravishankar said...

Good one Padma

Anonymous said...

good recall of memories and we enjoyed it.

Raja said...

Nice blog..and good pictures to go with the narration

Anonymous said...

The entire atmosphere was so divine. The mutt was buzzling with devotees in the morning. The afternoons & evenings were so calm & peaceful. Seva is something to be experienced.
Well, something of my interest, saw two birds i had never seen before & a snake while leaving sondhe. They say seeing a snake in Sondhe is equal to darshan of Bhootraja.Lucky me.
Padma, nice blog. ~ Rajendra

Nandakumar said...

A good narration.Can be done only when u have spiritual mind.I love to see this place.By the way mantralayam was like this about 40 yrs back.No hotels and no shops.Commercialisation kills divinity....Once again nice blog.Keep travelling...Keep writing.

Unknown said...

planning to visit sonda with husband and perform seva for 3 days..this info helped me get some idea about how seva is done...thanx a lot...

Anonymous said...

The Puja is called Bootha Raja Puje and not Bootha Bali Puja .

Padma said...

Thanx,i ll make the corrections.I received some requests for my email id bcos some readers had some important questions to be discussed with me.I would like to tell that we can use this blog as a forum for discussing your questions.This is a complete spiritual,be free to ask questions about spiritualism.- padma

Padma said...

The questions I ve recd are incomplete so unable to clarify the reader's doubts.

Padma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Padma said...

For some readers who have doubts on Madi and wearing kachhe,I did sankalp seva with normal saree,but i saw many women performing seva with 9 yards.For men,kachhe is a must.In sonde ,when we perform seva,automatically madi is followed.otherwise in house for regular pujas,and when madi is reqd,I use washed clothes which are dried in a height.if u r not able to follow anything strictly,please remember that these rules were laid out for maintaining basic cleanliness,so pl.follow ur conscience,do good and be good to others.that is more than enough.-padma

Anonymous said...

I have visited nava-brindavanam, near hampi, the location is in the midst of a small village wherein you cannot find any flowers or tulsi leaves, How is this location? can we find shops which sells thulsi garlands? because for vaishavism, tulsi leaves are adored.


Geeta Murthy said...

I am visiting sonda for a day...plz let me know, what is the puje or seva one can do???

Geeta Murthy said...

Can unmarried girls wear kurta and salwar?

Padma said...

S unmarried girls can wear salwar kurta

rkrish said...

I visited the Mutt about a fortnight ago and did Sankalpa seva for 3 days. If someone is visiting for the first time and trying to sankalpa seva, I recommend pl go with your family. I went alone and had some problems adjusting to the new environment, food and even the dieties..I was not used to the concept of Bhoota Raja and Trivikrama dieties before and night times there are noises from various animals. Also maybe because of age, Iam 53 yrs old, I found the dipping in the kalyani and doing pradakshina namaskaras, quite difficult..body pains. Total about 180 times you need to do bend on your knees or do full sastanga namaskaras.

But after the 3rd day , I received the prasad and while doing meditation/ Japa on Guru Vadirajaru, I had a wonderful experience. I had a vision which made me feel that my seva was accepted by Guru Vadirajaru and felt blessed. Before that I was feeling little guilty whether my seva was done properly or not. All in all the experience left me with very positive feelings and I feel Iam totally blessed. Iam convinced that Bhakti and Bhava while doing pradakshina is very important.

Padma said...

S.Positive vibrations r always there after a sondhe visit.

Anonymous said...

Dear Padma,

Could you please let me know if we need to stay there for three nights and 4 days.
My understanding of above is
Day 1 - we need to go get Sankalpa ticket and start the parikrama.
Day 2 - Parikrama
Day 3 - Parikrama . Do we get Prasada on day 3 or 4?

What time do we need to be there for the seva on day 1?

Once again thank you for your guidance.

rkrish said...

Prasad is given only on 4th day morning at around 6.30AM. I was there 2 weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Thank you rkrish,
Some additional questions
After parikram do we need to hang it in prandevara devasthana. Will it remain there till day 2 when we start the procedure again? Do we need to bring it back to room or will it remain in the temple? Am sorry to ask too many questions.
Can we book a room in the matta complex?

Thank you Padma for such beautiful blog.

rkrish said...

Proceedure is as follows; Buy Sankalpa seva ticket at the counter along with a coconut, by specifying whether seva is for 3 days, 5 days or 7 days. In the morning at 6.30 AM and at 10AM the archakaru will allow you to make Sankalpa in a group. You will need to tie the coconut around your waist and start the pradakshina.. After completing 7 baths along with namaskaras in madipanche and 108 rounds of namaskaras in dry panche, you will tie the coconut in the Pranadevaru temple. Next day morning again you take it and use it for the days programme. This will be done for 3 days and on 4th day morning at 6.30AM the coconut is given to you as prasad by the archakaru. You can carry madipanche or buy it in a shop near the temple by paying Rs.200/- for a pair. Lunch is 11.30 AM in the morning and some snacks like Uppitu and Avalakki given in the night at 7.30 PM. No coffee or tea available. There is just one telephpne(landline) available in the temple accommodation. But BSNL Mobile works and if you have BSNL SIM pl carry it. Room cost starts at Rs.250 to Rs.500/- depending on which floor you want to stay and whether you want hotbath and a cot. I paid Rs.250/- for a 1st floor room , which had just pair of Chape's and cold bath only. Toilet is Indian type offcourse. Also because of rains you will not be able to visit the Tapovana.

One small advice because of my personal experience; Pl chant guru's name with Bhakthi while doing pradakshina namaskaras and rest a few minutes if tired. Though you may take more time as compared to some who rush through the process mechanically. And kindly meditate on Guru Vadirajaru and Bhutharajaru, by chanting their names atleast 108 times in the room or at the temple. The Trivikrama temple is ancient and just powerful. Pl meditate in the temple premises there also. You will have wonderful experience. May God bless you and fulfill your sankalpa.

rkrish said...

It is possible to book a room in advance. But I have misplaced the no..sorry. I went without booking, because of working days and after Dasara festivals. Not much crowd.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much rkrish for your guidance and best wishes. My husband and me will follow it surely.Gurugalle dekku :).

We plan to go in december - dhanurmasa, so i am expecting little rush . Will keep you informed. For now I checked there are hotels in Sirsi.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful information and description about the shrines of sri vaadiraja and sri bhootraja.many thanks and gratitude.
Please do also post the mantras associated with the saide deities.the one about vaadiraja I think someone has mentioned in the discussion that has followed .would be highly beneficial if someone could post both mantras with few more accompanying details like the expected time of recitation ,the number of times to recite etc .once again thank you all for the I formation and discussion .

rkrish said...

Popular mantras here are :

- SRI HAYAGREEVA HAYAGREEVA HAYAGREEVAYA NAMAHA - Sri Vishnu appears to Sri Vadirajaru in the form of Horse. I believe even Sri Raghavendra gurugalu saw Sri Hari in the form of Horse. There is a beautiful White Horse at the Vadiraja mutt.


- OM BHUTHARAJAYA NAMAHA ( Bhutharaja is expected to take place of Shiva in the next millenium, even as Vadirajaru to become Mahapranana and Hanumantha to become Bramha)


haran said...

I wold like to visit and have a darshan if Lird Hayagriva.

ashwini madhusudhan said...

Hello to every one above for such beautiful comments. Have been to Sonda just 2 times. I had a beautiful experience and there are lack of words in English nor Kannada to describe it. It is a place must to be visited for people who want peace and who want to wash away their sins. Sri VADIRAJA GURUGALU and BHUTHARAJARU will always be around protectng us. Keep reciting their names and you will find miracles happening in a short span of time.