History Bhagandeshwara Temple
Sri Cauvery is the foster daughter of Sri Kavera Maharshi who had his ashrama in the enchanting valley of ‘Brahma Giri’ hill. Sri Kaveri Maharshi had no children. Therefore he did severe penance to get a child through the blessings of Lord Brahma the God of the Universe.
Lord Brahma who was pleased with the Tapasya of Maharshi Kavera gave his ‘Manasaputri’- foster daughter Lopamudra to him as a mark of special blessing. Lopamudra who was an incarnation of ‘Aadi Parashakti’, was given as a foster daughter to Lord Brahma by Lord Mahavishnu. Lopamudra had prayed to Lord Brahma and got his blessings for her to incarnate as a river and serve for the welfare of humanity.
Lopamudra was brought up by Maharshi Kavera with all affection, care, and devotion. Accordingly, she was named Cauvery. She was deeply devoted to her father and the ashram duties. As she grew up she earned the high esteem of all in and outside the ashram.
One day, sage Agastya Maharshi who was considered as an incarnation of Lord Shiva came from his abode in the Himalayas to Kavera Ashram in Brahmagiri hills. He was very much impressed by the beauty and chastity of Sri Cauvery. He thought of marrying Sri Cauvery and formally saught her hand in marriage. Sri Cauvery agreed to the marriage on one condition that Sri Agastya Maharshi will never leave her alone and be away from her at any time.
Sage Agastya who was an incarnation of Lord Shiva saw through his yogic eye the Divine Mission and greatness of Sri Cauvery. The marriage of Sri Cauvery and Maharshi Agastya was performed at Kavera Ashrama with all joy and the prevalent religious rites of the rishi ashrama.
One day Sri Agastya Maharshi went for a bath at the source of Kanika river, a place close to Talacauvery located on the other side of Brahmagiri hills. Before he went there, by his yogic powers Sage Agastya converted Sri Cauvery as water and filling her in his ‘Kamandalu'(Yogi’s handy water pot) kept it near the Brahmakundige at Kavera ashrama. He instructed his disciples to guard the Kamandalu wherein Sri Cauvery was in water form. The sage failed to turn up early to the ashrama.
Sri Cauvery waited for long and at the prolonged absence of Sri, Agastya Maharshi got herself greatly annoyed. She decided to go in for her divine mission of life of incarnating as a river. Accordingly, Sri Cauvery by her divine power jumped from the Kamandalu into the nearby Brahmakundige- a sacred pond- and emerged as a river.
the inmates of the ashrama begged her not to go away but to wait until Sri Agastya Maharshi return to the ashrama. She did not listen to them and took an underground secret path stretching some meters and flowed away.
On her way, she was prevented by the ‘Nagas'(inhabitants of Nagaloka) at a place called ‘Nagathirta’ and they prayed to Sri Cauvery not to proceed as a river. Blessing them Sri Cauvery finally came to Bhagamandala where she was met and joined by the other two rivers called Kanika and Sujyothi. Thus ‘Triveni Sangama’ was formed and Bhagamandala became a ‘Sangama Kshetra’.
At Bhagamandala Sri Bhaganda Maharshi, Triguni a pious Brahmin prayed for the grace of Lord Shiva and tried to prevent the further march of Sri Cauvery. But Sri Cauvery was determined to move on her chosen path. Sri Cauvery blessed Bhagamandala to be a ‘Punya Kshetra’- a meritorious holy place, particularly to people to offer oblations to their departed ancestors and continued her river course towards the eastern direction.
Maharshi Agastya who came to know about the episode from his disciples hurriedly came to meet Sri Cauvery and prevent her from moving further as a river. He met Sri Cauvery at a place called Balamuri which is located at a distance of 37 K.M. away from Talacauvery. Sage Agastya expressed his feelings and desire to Sri Cauvery and asked her not to continue her river course. At Balamuri, the King of Kodagu, Sri Devakanta, and his retinue, Kodava people in great number assembled to meet Sri Cauvery. Sri Cauvery was conscious of the feelings of her husband sage Agastya as well as King Devakanta and other people of Kodagu. She told sage Agastya that she would divide herself into two bodies and in one part she would return to sage Agastya and live with him as his legitimate wife and in her other body, she would live as river Cauvery and serve the cause of the welfare of humanity. Sri Cauvery then promised that she would accompany Mother Ganga and other holy river deities and give special Darshan-divine manifestation to the devotees in the form of ‘Theerthodbhava’-emerging of holy water-at Talacauvery Brahmakundika every year on the Tulasankramana muhurta in October. She then blessed the land and people of Kodagu and assured them that they would be rich with peace and prosperity provided they followed the path of truth and righteousness and have devotion to her. That was a great promise and rare blessing from divine Mother Sri Cauvery particularly to the people of Kodagu and to all the devotees in general. Therefore Kodavas accepted Sri Cauvery as their Kula Devata- family deity.
Sri Agastya Maharshi followed Sri Cauvery in her course of flowing like a river till she joined the sea. He blessed her divine mission and as a mark of it founded several Shiva and Vishnu temples in different places throughout the banks of the Sri Cauvery river. He also proclaimed to the world the divine greatness of Sri Cauvery and the sacredness of her river water. Sage Agastya was not only a great yogi with divine powers but a deep scholar with practical knowledge of ancient Indian medicine, chemistry, etc. He therefore easily found out the spiritual power, purity as well as the medicinal potentiality of Sri Cauvery water and proclaimed it as a “Theerta”- that which frees one from the bonds of life.
Sri Cauvery continued her journey from Balamuri and flowed in the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu and at last on completion of her river course joined the eastern sea-Bay of Bengal.
In Skanda Purana, Bhagamandala was known in ancient times as Bhaganda Kshetra. Long ago one great sage namely Sri Bhaganda Maharshi was living here in his ashrama with his disciples. Therefore, the place was named after the great rishi Sri Bhaganda as Bhagamandala.
Sri Bhaganda Maharshi did severe penance to invoke the special blessings of Lord Subramanya and Lord Shiva. Lord Subramanya blessed the Maharshi and the place. Lord Subramanya named the place Skanda Kshetra and manifested it in the form of a stone image. Lord Shiva blessed Sri Bhaganda Maharshi and assured him of his divine presence in the place. Sri Bhaganda Maharshi installed a Shiva Linga and invoked in it the divine presence of Lord Shiva and worshipped it. Since the holy Shiva Linga was installed by Sri Bhaganda Maharshi it became popular and known as Sri Bhagandeshwara. It is traditionally believed that a very special manifestation of divinity is present in Sri Bhagandeshwara Linga at Bhagamandala.
A holy bath in Triveni Sangama in Bhagamandala is not only enchanting but spiritually uplifting. The Triveni Sangama is formed out of the confluence of three rivers namely Sri Cauvery, Sri Kanika, and Sri Sujyothi. Sujyothi of course, like the river Saraswati at Ganga Triveni Sangama at Allahabad, is ‘Antarvahini’-subterranean-not visible to our physical eyes.
The exact date of the construction and dedication of Sri Bhagandeshwara and other temples in Bhagamandala is not known, because no historical records are available in that regard. But it is believed that the origin of the temples belongs to the puranic age. According to the available historical records, it is known that Maharaja Veera Rajendra Wadeyar, the King of Kodagu, renovated the temple in 1790 AD.
Seva Details of Bhagandeshwara Temple – Coorg