mountain range is in the South Kanara District
of the state of Karnataka
. It is about two hours' drive away from the city of Mangalore
, the South Kanara District Headquarters. It is also about 60mi from the pilgrimage
town of Udupi
. One of the mounatins in this range, Mount Karinja
, is the highest peak in South Kanara District, and situated on this mountain is Karinjeshwara Temple
The temple is split into two parts. Halfway up the mountain sits the temple of Parvathi. Also at this level is a temple of Ganapathi, the son of Shiva and Parvathi. At the top of the mountain is the temple of Shiva. For most of the year, daily rituals and religious festivities are held separately at each temple.
The biggest and most important event at this temple is Shivarathri, a four-day festival. On the first night of Shivarathri, there are elaborate poojas and homas (different types of worship rituals) at each temple into the early hours of the morning. The next night, the biggest of the nights, the idol of Shiva is carried down to the Parvathi temple and husband and wife are united for the night amid more worshipping and festivities.
The next day, the Rathotsava (Chariot Festival), the two idols are paraded around at the Parvathi temple and then at the ground level, where they are carried around in a chariot (a Ratha). Later that day, the two idols are carried back to the Parvathi temple, where Shiva bids goodbye to Parvathi and carries on alone to his temple. The following night, the last night of the festival, Shiva is once again taken to Parvathi; they are taken for a "stroll" at ground leve before they are once again returned to their respective places.
Most of the year, Karinjeshwara Temple is a nondescript Shiva-Parvathi temple, like many others. But on the four nights of Shivarathi, people come from all over Karnataka (and even further) to see the unique rituals held in this temple. It is the biggest festival of the temple and celebrated in an extremely grand way.