During the early part of Kaliyuga, the good earth was struck by famine and pestilence. It did not rain for years. Even Brahmins were constrained to eat meat and the people were on the verge of becoming cannibals. Jabali, the great sage was distrubed in his ‘tapas’ by these troubles. Through his ‘Jnana Drishti’ he realised the root cause of all this. He found that Arunasura, the ‘rakshasa’ who escaped from death and fled when Goddess Durga slew Shambasura had increased his life span by following the teachings of his Guru. He had made the people stop all the yagas and yajnas as a revenge against the ‘devas’, and this had resulted in drought and scarcity for years.
Moved by compassion, jabali desired to alleviate man’s sufferings and decided to perform a yajna to placate the devas. He approached Devendra in Heaven with a request to permit him to take Kamadhenu for the ritual. Devendra informed jabali that Kamadhenu was not available but he could take her daughter, Nandini in stead. Jabali then went to Nandini who, however refused to accompany him to the sinful earth which had nourished such evil beings as Ravana and Karthivirya. Jabali countered this by saying that the same earth had also produced such saintly beings as Ahalya.
Nandini, however, was firm in her refusal. Jabali, in his anger, cursed that she be born as a river on earth. Nandini prayed for mercy. Relenting, Jabali advised her to pray to Goddess Durga to redeem her from the curse, Nandini appealed to Goddess Durga who appeared to her and informed her that though Nandini would be bom as a river in fulfilment of the curse she, Durga, would be born as Nandini’s daughter at the centre of the river, and in the process, Nandini would attain purification. On Magha Shudda Poornima, Nandini emerged as a river from Kanakagiri. Jabali performed his yajna. The devas were pleased and the earth was once again green and smiling.
When Arunasura realised that the earth was flourishing once again, his anger knew no bounds. He sat in tapas and acquired a boon from Brahma that he would not suffer death from any two legged or fourlegged creature or any destructive weapon. Brahma also blessed him with the Gayatri Mantra, assuring him that as long as he recited the mantra he would be secured from death. Blessed with these powers, Arunasura defeated the devas and conquered Heaven. In their alarm, the devas implored Goddess Durga for help. Durga suggested that they should somehow prevent him from reciting the mantra and then she would find a way of destroying him. The devas sent Purohit Brahaspathi to Arunasura Brahaspathi praised Arunasura’s powers and questioned the necessity of his reciting a mantra to another god. When he himself had risen to the eninence of a god by his own exploits. Flattered by this praise. Arunasura gave up reciting the protective Mantra.
One day Goddess appeared in Arunasura’s garden as a beautiful woman. Seeing this charming apparition, Arunasura inflamed with desire, approached her. The charming beauty reminded him that she was the same woman who had killed Shambasura and from whom Arunasura had escaped death. Conscious of and confident in his newly acquired powers, he rushed forward, sword in hand, to slay her: She disappeared into a stone. Arunasura slashed the stone with a sword, when a vast swarm of bees emerged from the stone and stung him.
The Queen of bees “Ugra Bramari” stung him repeatedly till his last breath. Devas led by Jabali performed abhishekam with tender coconut water and requested the Ugra Bramari to bless the world with her “Soumya Roopa” Goddess Durgaparameshwari then appeared in her “Soumya Roopa” in the middle of the river, where present structure of the temple imparts its glory to the world. ‘Kati’ being the word which means “center” (midway between the “Kanakagiri” the place where the river was born, and the end, parvanje, where the river joins the sea) and “lla” means area. Thus place is called “Kati+ lla” Kateel.