Mylara Lingeshwara Temple, Bellary - Karnataka
Mylara Lingeshwara Temple at Mylara is in the extreme south-western corner of Hadagali taluk, Bellary District, North Karnataka, India. It is 2 km from Tungabhadra river and 40 km from Hadagali and 34 km from Ranebennur. Mylara Lingeshwara is one of the forms of Shiva. The temple is dedicated to Shiva worshiped by Kuruba Gowdas in his form as Mailari.

Legend:

Mallasura (demon) and his brother performed a severe penance extracted from Brahma and, with a promise that they should never be harmed by any human being, began to harass the sages or rishis. The sages appealed Shiva to protect them; Shiva took on a new form and, taking with him his forces of seven crores goravas, warred with Mallasura and his brother Manikasura for 10 days. He then slew them both with his bow. During the battle, Mylara (Shiva) lost his powers and had to run from the battlefield. After a marathon run, Mailari hid himself in the Tungabhadra river. Then Lord Veerabhadra, Shiva's aide, struck the earth with his long hair and five brave warriors (Panchaveeras) (i.e., Kanchaveeras) emerged from the spot. The Kanchaveeras confronted Mallasura and Manikasura and handed them over to Mailara. After killing Mallasura and Manikasura, Mailara (Shiva) wore their intestines as his turban, their teeth as a cowrie necklace, their mouths as a damaruga (hand drum), skulls as a doni (meal bowl) and their skins as a long coat. The fat of the demons was used as oil and their nerves as lamp wick.

Mylara Lingeshwara Temple, Bellary - Karnataka

Karnika Utsava (prophecy):

Rituals during the Mailara Jatre (fair) include the Karanika Utsava (bow-climbing and prophecy-uttering ritual) and Pavada (body piercing ritual). Karanika Utsava is performed by the Karanika Gorava, who fasts for 12 days, after which he climbs a 12-meter bow and utters a euphoric prophecy regarding regional agriculture, animal husbandry, and politics.

Karnikotsava Gorava's utterance tumbida koda mooru bhaga aadeethale parakh! means "A full pot may get split into three parts". Karnikotsava means the prophecy; it is like a puzzle. Some guess it to be an indication of political situation in the state and some guess about rain and crop that means it is an indication of some threat to the agriculture so, the prophecy warns the farmers to be very careful. It is believed that the saying would indicate the future of the coming year.

Mylara Lingeshwara Temple, Bellary - Karnataka
On Karnikotsava day, the devotees converge to the temple chanting "elukoti elukoti elukotigo... changmalo changmalo". "Elukoti" means seven crores commemorating the seven crore Goravas who accompanied Mailari. By afternoon, a huge wooden bow, symbolic of that with which Shiva slew Mallasura, is brought and placed in the middle of a vast area called Denkana maradi. The gorava carries the bow from his tent and climbs up it, stares from the top in the four directions, and then begins trembling as a sign of divine inspiration, and the pilgrims wait for his prophecy. Gorava gazes skywards, before pronouncing the annual divination. Soon after this he drops down himself from the bow, and the devotees waiting around carefully catch him. The prophecy is believed to be divine truth by the devotees.

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