About 72 kms. from Udupi, formerly known as ‘Pulingapura’, is a hamlet of Kariangala village. Polali is situated at the distance of about 200 yards from the Gurpur River. It has an important temple dedicated to Rajarajeshwari. From a short inscription discovered here recently, it appears that the temple was established in the 8th century A D. Near this place, there are also other epigraphs of about the same century. It has been a well-known centre of Shakti worship. It is believed that it was about this temple that Abdul Razzak wrote in 1448. These shows that the temple was made of molten brass, with four platforms or ascents and on the highest of them was an image of the size of a man made of gold with eyes composed of two red rubies. The idol of Rajarajeshwari is a huge stucco image of a height of about ten feet. There are several other smaller stucco-images of Bhadrakali, Subramanya, etc. The ceiling in the Mukhamantapa, which is of wood, is covered with excellent carvings of gods and goddesses. The roofs of the mukhamantapa and the garbhagriha as also the dhwajastambha and the pillar of lights are covered with copper plates. The annual car festive, which lasts for a month, attracts a large number of people.
Six days before the close of the festival, commences a football tournament called ‘Polali Chanabeor ‘Polali Chendu’ which lasts for four days. The tournament is highly popular and attracts large crowds of spectators. The football is made of straw and leather. About 500 persons take part in it. Any number of persons can compete on either side and the only rule is that whichever side succeeds in sending the ball to the other end is the winner. The play is said to represent the mythological fight between gods and demons and the car festival which follows is said to indicate the victory of the former over the latter.
Sri Rajarajeshwari Temple, Polali
Tel: 91 824 2766241