kukke1Kukke Subramanya is a Hindu temple located in the village of Subramanya in the Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada District near Mangalore, Karnataka, India. The temple is one of the pristine pilgrimage locations in India. Here Lord Subrahmanya is worshipped as the lord of all serpents. The epics relate that the divine serpent Vasuki and other serpents found refuge under Lord Subrahmanya when threatened by Garuda.

Kukke subramanya can be reached by road from Mangalore and Bangalore.KSRTC operates buses on a daily basis from these two places. The nearest airport is the the Bajpe Airport, the Mangalore International Airport, at a distance of 115 kms. The nearest railway station is Subramanya Road railway station on Mangalore-Bangalore railway route, which is 7 km from Kukke Subramanya. There is a daily passenger train service from Mangalore. One can catch a local transport from the station for a journey of 15 minutes to the temple.

Lapped in the luxurious abundance of the beauty of the nature the village of Subramanya lies in the Sullia Taluk in south Kanara which very few places can boast of. The temple is situated in the heart of the village. Nature reveals herself in all her unhidden beauty in the rivers, forests and mountains which the temples is surrounded by. It is about a 100 KM from Mangalore and can be easily reached by buses or taxis.


Kukke Subrahmanya is on the bank of river Dhara. According to Hindu Mythology Lord Kumaraswamy came to this place after killing the demon rulers Taraka, Shoorapadmasura and others in a war; and the Lord washed his Shakthi Ayudha (a battle-ax of the type of a bayonet) in this river. From this onwards the river is famous as Kumaradhara.


After battle with the demon, Lord Kumaraswamy came to the top of Kumaraparvatha along with his brothers Lord Ganesha, Veerabahu and other aids. He was received by Lord Indra along with other Gods; pleased by the success of the war Indra prayed the Lord to be Kind enough to marry his daughter Devasena. This was agreed upon courteously and the marriage took place on the banks of Kumaradhara on ‘Margashira Shuddha Shashti’ (The shashti is on the first half of Margashira Masa.) Lord kumaraswamy also gave a darshan to Vasuki, the head of the Nagas, who was making a penance here. Vasuki prayed the Lord to stay along with him permanently in the place and the Lord blessed Vasuki with the boon.

From that time it a believed that the Lord has made his spiritual presence in this shrine along with his wife Devasena and Vasuki. Every year a famous car festival (Champa Shashti) is being held here on ‘Margashira Shuddha Shashti’ with special poojas to the Lord.

According to one more Mythology, after killing the demon rulers, Tharaka, Shurapadmasura and their followers in a war, Lord Shanmuka reached Kumara parvatha with his brother Ganesh and others. He was received by Indra and his followers. Indra being very happy prayed Lord Kumara swamy to accept and marry his daughter Devasena for which the Lord readily agreed. The divine marriage took place on Margashira shudha shashti at Kumara parvatha. Gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and many other deities assembled for the marriage and coronation ceremony of Shanmukha for which waters of several holy rivers were brought. With these waters of Mahabhisheka fell down to form a river which was later known by the popular name Kumaradhara.

The great Shiva Bhakta and Serpent king Vasuki was performing tapas for years in the Biladwara caves of Kukke Subrahmanya to avoid the attack of Garuda. Following Lord Shiva’s assurance Shanmuka gave darshan to Vasuki and blessed him that he would stay with his parama bhakta in this place forever.

Hence the poojas offered to Vasuki or Nagaraja are nothing but the poojas to Lord Subrahmanya.

Puja Activities

Ashlesha Bali Pooja & Sarpa Samskara are two important Sarpa Dosha Poojas are done at Kukke Subramanya Temple.

Ashlesha Bali
Ashlesha Bali Puja or Aslesha Bali pooja is one of the important Kaalasarpa dosha pujas performed at Kukke Subramanya temple near Mangalore in Karnataka. Lord Subramanya is known as the protector from Kaalasarpa dosha and Kuja dosha. Kukke Sri Kshetra temple is the most popular for Sarpadosha puja. Aslesha Bali puja is performed on Aslesha nakshatra in each month. It is believed that if this puja is performed on other days it has no power.

Aslesha Bali puja in Kukke Subramaya temple will be performed in two shifts – 7:00 am and 9.15 am. Those who want to perform this puja need to report for sankalpa with Purohita inside the temple either at 7:00 am or 9.15 am. After the completion of Homa Poornahuthi Puja, devotees will get prasadam. Devotees believe Shravana masa, Karthika masa, and Margashira masa are the most auspicious months to perform Aslesha bali puja at Kukke temple.

Sarpa Samskara / Sarpa Dosha
Sarpa Samskara / Sarpa Dosha is one of the poojas performed by devotees at this temple to get rid of the sarpa dosha (according to belief, a person, either in this birth or in any of his previous births, could be afflicted by the sarpa (serpent) dosha (curse) either knowingly or unknowingly, through many ways). Persons who are afflicted with this dosha are advised by astrologers / horoscope writers to perform this pooja for their own wellbeing. Pooja can be done either by the afflicted person himself if he is male and married, or through a priest. This is because the pooja involves rituals similar to those done while performing shrartham (funeral rites). Sarpa Samskara seva devotees are required to be present for two days. The seva is performed during the daytime, with no particular poojas in the evening. Food arrangements will be made for these devotees by the temple devasthanam, for up to four persons per seva.

Due to the widespread belief in the snake god in Tulunad region of Karnataka and Kerala, this pooja is performed by people of all faiths.

Sacred spots to visit

Sri Subrahmanya Swamy : The main entrance to the temple lies to the east. The devotees will have to enter courtyard from behind and go before the idol. The sanctuary of Sri Subrahmanya Swamy lies opposite to the main entrance. A Garuda pillar with silver covering towers high between the sanctuary and the newly contructed portico. It is said that the pillar was charmed and errected in order to shield the people from the flames of poisson emanating from the breath of Vasuki residing inside. Devotees have to encircle round including this pillar too. Beyond this pillar the outer Mantapa and then the inner Mantapa and later the sanctuary of Sri Subrahmanya meet our eyes. There is a pedesal in the center of sanctuary. On the upper dais stands the idol of !Sri Shanmukha and then the idol of Vasuki and little lower the idol of Maha Shesha. Panchamrith Mahapooja and ‘Utsava’ of these deities take place daily.

Kukkelinga : To the north of the sanctuary there is a cluster of lingas known as ‘Kukkelingas’. Some believe that the lingas got that name simply because people uset to worship them together kept in a basket. Now of course they have been installed in the back portion of the sanctuary and are being worshipped there. Some argue that the place owes it’s name “Kukke Pattana” to the Kukke linga and they proceed a step further and say that the epithet “Kukke” in ‘Kukke Subrahmanya Devaru’ owes its origin to the curious custom of worshipping images kept in the basket. Also there is a fanciful contention that Kukke must be the Halegannada form of the Sanskrit word “Kukshi” meaning “cave”. As the image was installed by Vasukin in the cave it came to be called as Kukkelinga. Moreover as already been referred we come across the phrase ‘Subramanya Ahipeshwara’ in the Lalithagama. The car festival of Kukkelinga takes place every uear on Makara Sankramana. At present many families, worship Kukkelinga as thte titular deity of their families. According to the legendary history, Sri Shanmugaswamy installed Shiva Lingas in three places in order to get rid of the sin resulting from killing Tharakasura. Afterwards many Gods and sages installed many more Lingas and images. In course of time when the place was subjected to the vicissitudes of the ebb and flow of its forutne, people collected these images and Lingas and placed them in the temple.

Bhairava Devaru : Now on the south of this sanctuary is the shrine of Lord Bhairava. According to the legend of the place this is Kapaleshwara installed by no less a God than Sri Shanmugha Swamy. This must have been installed in the present place later on, and the origin of the place seems to be uncertain.

Umamaheshwara Devaru : These images can be found in the north-eastern sanctuary on the innere side of the temple wall. Besides these the images of Soorya, Ambika, Vishnu and Ganapathi are also found here. Among them the images of the Sunand Ambika date back of very ancient days. Again according to the legend these were installed here by the great Narada. The devotees of the Bhagavatha tradition must have collected those images in one place. These images are as ancient as they are powerful. Special worships are offered to Ambika during Navarathry. Festivals are conducted on Shivarathry on behalf of Umamaheshwara and on Rathasapthami for the deity of the Sun.

Vedavyasa Samputa Narasimha Devaru : We find this deity in the south-eastern sactuary. It is said that the Vedavyasa Samputa and the image of Lakshmi Narasimha handed over to Sri Madhvacharya by Sri Vedavyasa are of paramount importance. (It is said that Ganapathy had been installed and worshipped in this shrine in olden days. But now the idol of Ganapathy is in the inner Mantapam of the shrine of Sri Subrahmanya. Moreover to the south and the north are situated the temples of Bhairava and Umamaheshwara). Festivals are celebrated here on three days on the occasion of Narasimha Jayanthi in ‘Vaishaka Masa’. The deity belongs to the Swamiars of local Mutt and is worshipped by them.

Ballalaraya Vigraha (The statue of Ballala King) : History tells us that the rule of the Hoysala Ballala King began in our district in the eleventh century. But after a period therir rule in the District came to an end and was replaced by the rule of the Ikkeri dynasty. But in some places the kings of Ballala dynasty continued to rule groups of villages. They were called Ballala’s or Ballala Kings. Subrahmanya was once the capital of one such Ballala Chieftain. On the basis of the study of the ramnants it has been gathered that the place of the king was situated to the south-west of Kulkunda near the place where the cattle fair is conducted now. The statue of the king must have been installed at the entrance in front of the temple during the regime of the Ballala Chieftains. A story has been woven round this installation. It is believed that the Vedavyasa Samputa in possession of the Subrahmanya Mutt is unbreakable. Driven to curiosity a Ballala Chieftain tried to break the Vedavyasa Samputa which was supposed to be unbreakable by making the elephant trample upon it. As a result a burning sensation spread throughout his body and the horrified king prayed to Sri Subrahmanya. Sri Subrahmanya ordered that the statue of the king should be installed at the entracnce and that cotton, butter, mustard and pumpkin should be offered to it. The incident is described in the short history of Subrahmanya Samsthana published by Sri Subrahmaya Mutt in 1927. But no other sources can be tapped to substantiate this legend. One can find the statues of the Maharaja of Mysore installed in the temples of Nanjanagudu and Chamundibetta. So it can also be inferred that the Ballala Chieftain must have followed this custom and have installed the statuein order toenlist the loyalty of his subjects. Custom requires now that every day when the Mangalarathi is over, it should be placed hre. On the Champashasti when the idol of Sri Subrahmanya is takend out for the festival the god proceeds only after acception the offerings of this Ballala King.

Subrahmanya Mutt : A Subrahmanya Mutt belonging to Dwaitha tradition of Madhwa religion is situated to the south-east of the outer quadrangle of the temple. It is said Sri Madhwacharya made his brother Vishnu Thirthacharya his disciple and gave this Mutt to him. This is therefore, sometimes called as Vishnuthirthacharya’s Samshtana.

Sringeri Mutt : This is situated to the north-east of the temple compund. The deity there is Chandramauleshwara. He is regularly worshipped with Panchaparva Nandadeepa. This Mutt is under the management of the temple and the rituals are conducted on its behalf.

Hosaligamma : The mother Goddess Hosaligamma’s temple lies to the south of the Subrahmanya temple. Hosaligamma and Purusharaya are the two most important deities here. Different forms of worship are daily conducted. On two occasions during the festival the deity possess the man appointed for the purpose (on Karhika 30 and Margasira 6). This possession takes place on other auspicious days also. (Margashira 15 and on Jyeshta Shasti). Bhoga (Nadavali) is offered to the deity twice a year. It is supposed that this deity is the bodyguard of Sri Subrahmanya. Devotees make various kinds of offerings here (Kunkumarchana, Mangalarathi, Hannukai). Hosaligamma and Purusharaya are very ancient deities and their names appear in the Kaumarika Khada of the ‘Skandapurana’. It is said that Hosaligamma and Purusharaya are none other that Vatayakshini and Chandila respectively referred to in that book. More details have been given in the book ‘Stala Mhathmya’ published by the temple management.

Darpana Thirtha : A streamlet called Darpana Thirtha flows from north to south in front

See Also:
Kukke, Website    OR
Kukke temple, Website


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