Just around the corner from the Soolai Bazaar we came to the Chakratirtha, which means in the local language “the sacred water body that swirls”. This is the most sacred bathing spot on the Tungabhadra River because it is believed that it is where Shiva gave Vishnu one of his most powerful weapons, the Chakra – a sharp spinning discus-like implement.
Pilgrims often bathe here before visiting the Kodandarama and Yantrodhara Anjaneya temples that overlook the spot from the hillside above, and there are some interesting carvings and Lingas embedded into the rock.
When we arrived there, a religious ceremony was taking place in the Kodandarama Temple, which was crowded with a group of worshippers making their devotions to the statues of Rama, Sita and Lakshamana that are enclosed in its sanctum. According to the local myth, the temple marks the place where Rama killed Vali and crowned his brother Sugriva as king in the Ramayana.
Other members of the group also gathered on the Chakratirtha before everyone set off in a long and loud procession in the direction of the Virupaksha Temple.
Just behind the Kodandarama Temple was the Yantrodhara Anjaneya Temple, which is dedicated to Hanuman and contains a unique image of the warrior monkey god in a prayer position encased inside an amulet.
As we were standing around the Chakratirtha we were asked if we wanted to take a coracle ride along a stretch of the river, and decided to give it a try even though the small reed boat didn’t look particularly sturdy or comfortable. Still, it wasn’t too bad once we had hunkered down inside and were skillfully guided along the relatively calm waters under the clear blue sky and bright sunshine.
The scenery along both the river’s banks was absolutely beautiful, with some delightful pavilions and even a small statue of Nandi interspersed between the rocks and boulders and green vegetation in the background.
No wonder the river holds such a powerful place in Indian mysticism and mythology – and what a marvelous way to finish off what had been a perfect morning.