Almost half-way between Talakad and Somanathapur is the small rustic village of Tirumakudalu Narasipur, which draws on its legendary associations with the main religious centers of northern India to make some rather grandiose claims to being “Dakshina Kashi” or the Varanasi of the South. (Nanjangud, another town featured in my eBook, is also a contender for this title.)
Indeed, every three years the village even holds its own version of the most important Hindu festival, the Kumbh Mela, though I would suspect that it’s a mere shadow of its counterparts in the north, which attract tens of millions of pilgrims to sacred spots on the River Ganga.
At first the reason for this may seem a little confusing, for if you look at a map you will see that only the Cauvery and Kabini rivers pass through the village. But according to the local legend there is third undercurrent or perhaps underwater spring called the Gupthagamini Spatika Sarovara at the place where the other two rivers meet.
This was discovered when Agastiya, one of the seven great sages (Saptarishi) of the Vedic era, visited T Narasipur during his epic trek to the then uncharted wilds of southern India and was so enamored by its secluded location that he decided to install a Shiva linga there and asked the monkey god Hanuman to go and get him one from Kashi (modern-day Varanasi).
Impatient at Hanuman’s failure to return on time, the great sage made a Shiva linga himself out of sand and worshipped it. Naturally, Hanuman was not too happy to learn of this when he arrived back from his arduous journey with his own Shiva linga and hit the one that Agastiya had built with his fist. Holy water immediately gushed out of the broken linga from the mythical Gupthagamini Spatika Sarovara River and swiftly became renowned for its healing qualities.
The Shiva linga is known as the Agasthyeshwara Linga and apparently still bears the imprint of Hanuman’s hand to this very day. It stands on the river bed where the Cauvery and Kabini Rivers meet, and can be reached by a short boat road.
The Shiva linga that the monkey god brought was consecrated a short distance away from the Agasthyeshwara Linga and is called the Hanuman Linga. Along with the Someshwara and Markandeshwara Lingams in the village and the Gargeshwara Lingam at the nearby hamlet of Gargeshwari, these are said to form the T Narasipur equivalent of the Talakad Panchalinga – though they are nothing like as famous.