Tuesday, April 13, 2021


Padubidiri Brahmastana – a rare place of Shakti worship is located in the west coast of southern part of India in the state of Karnataka.

Human beings have had a philosophical and religious bent of mind from the beginning of the civilization. It has given

rise to a quest of the mystery of creation. The studies on Sindhu River civilization support this statement. The Vedic Age was the Golden era of belief in God and the mystery of creation. With the advent of Aryan and Dravidian culture human beings gradually developed four Vedas, Kula gotra, worship of Nature and Naaga Chaitanya. Custom and practice -sampradaya has become a part of community life which is unique in our land.

Human beings besides creating progeny started worshipping nature borne things like water, fire, trees, stones, animals and naaga, studied the Vedas and began to worship God. It is said that instruments like bells, Vaadya, Nagari, Didumbu, Dakke etc were made for these worships.

Dakke bali is the synthesis of man, history and nature taking place from times immemorial in this land, known as Parashurama Kshetra. Naagabanas can be seen abundantly in this region. Naagaaradhana, brahmaradhana are conducted with a lot of bhakti (devotion) and dedication. These worships have been taking place irrespective of caste, class or creed all over Tulunadu.

Khadgeshwari Brahmasthana
It is a place of worship where these chaitanyaas (Shaktis) are said to be presided over by the Deity Khadgeshwari viz., Brahma, Naaga, Rakteswari, Nandigona, Kshetrapala known as Panchadaivikas. The place, where the Deity known as Khadgeshwari / Vanadurga presides over in the midst of the dense forest, is called the Udbhava sthala where the Deity appears swayambhu (Aadi Shakti with all pervasive powers). The place has lot of sanctity. The main devotional prayer of the place is recited as under;

Vande karaala karavaala kapaalahastam I
Shardoola charma vasanaam vadanattahaasam ll
Ratnollasat kanaka kundala paarihaaryam l
Khadgeshwareem makara gargara naadabhimaam ll

This shloka (prayer) describes about the various weapons (Aayudhaas) of the presiding Deity and the ornaments adorned by Her and the gravity of the expression on Her face. This Deity has innumerable devotees.

A distinctive feature
The pathris who by custom belong to the Shivalli Brahmins of the place which is called Bengre in Padubidri. These pathris are not selected by the people nor compelled to play that role. They are in a way accepted as pathris by the presiding Deity of the place Khadgeshwari. When the Shivalli Brahmins of the place feel that they must have a pathri according to the custom, they assemble together in the local Mahalingeswara and Maha Ganapathi Temple, pray and proceed to Khadgeshwari Brahmasthana in a Bhajana (devotional songs) procession and arrive at the Brahmasthana. They continue to chant the sacred name of the Lord loudly by saying Govinda!, Govinda!, until they get a person of their community possessed by the Holy Chaitanya. There is a customary procedure in accepting the pathri of the place. The Shivalli Brahmins of the place who have assembled there will have to extend their formal opinion before accepting a new pathri by the Deity of the place. This opinion is called upon by a verdict given through existing pathri. When the Shivalli Brahmins of the place extend their consent. The family of the pathri is summoned to the holy place and was called upon to give their whole hearted consent. Thereupon, the pathri who is also called as koradu is accepted by the Deity of the place blessed with ‘Abhaya’ (assurance of protection of the Deity). The pathris of the place cannot perform as such in any other place without the consent of the Deity and the Shivalli Brahmins of the place. There used to be nine pathris once upon a time but now, only three.

Centralization System
The viniyogas (work connected with worship) of this place are supervised by three persons of different family called Gurikaras who represent the Shivalli Brahmin community of Padubidri from each of the three families viz., Kornaya, Balappa and Murudi. For performing the pujas the priests belonging to Rajapurohit Class was chosen. The administrative work relating to the worship of this place is carried out by a trust called Sri Vanadurga Trust which has a centralized administrative system covering all seva activities. The Shivalli Brahmins of this place elect the members of Vanadurga Trust once in three years.

How is this Worship conducted?
A family by name Vaidya, of Udupi District are mainly involved in the performance of Dakke Bali. Dakke is an instrument, which is played by vaidyaas as a hereditary art. They reside in Nalkoor of Udupi District. Men dress up in a manner to symbolize Ardhanaari (half man & half woman). It is also said that they perform as Naaga Kannike. The role of Ardhanaari / naaga kannike is usually played by senior vaidyaas with the dakke instrument made of leather and bronze metal. This is played by the Vaidyaas in their hands, to invoke the spirits. They initially place the dakke in the Holy Place, pray and then play upon until the pathirs of the place get possessed. With this possession they move around spherically during the worship. This is known as Dakke Bali.

The Dakke Bali Seva is conducted during night on specific days.

When does the Festival of Dakke Bali take place?
The Festival of Dakke Bali takes place once in two years. The festival starts from the Makara maasa (normally 14th January) and continues till the end of Meena maasa i.e., 2nd week of March, on certain days. All the devotees who hail from different places in India visit the sacred place with devotion. 
It is a rare place of Shakti worship, which has retained the age-old custom and practices, which trace their origin back to the Vedic Ages.

Shri Vanadurga Trust (R)
Padubidri – 574 111, Karnataka, India

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