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Syed Abubaker Maliki

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THE NAVAYATHS OF BHATKAL

The mention of the name Bhatkal will invariably conjure before anyone the image of Navayaths. Yes, Navayaths are a decisive force in Bhatkal. As is natural in the case of all human beings, the Navayaths also have made a relentless search for their roots and have come up with a plausible answer They are a small yet significant sect among the Muslims and are living mainly in and around Bhatkal in Karnataka India. They have traced ancestry to the Arabs,the traders of the medieval.


Settlements of Navayathis

Their old settlements comprise clusters of old structures in compact areas and are called Saiys. Houses are seen constructed wall to wall on either side of the street. In every street. there is a mosque catering to the spiritual needs of the devout inhabitants. The new settlement consist of beautifully designed sprawling mansions with all amenities usually available in megacities.


Mode of Life

  The traditional code of dress of Navayath men consists of kurta, lungi and topi. Their ladies have opted for the local Indian way of dressing. Not withstanding this, full purdah is a must for women. The Navayaths are generally light skinned and good looking. They are very religious-minded. The 50 mosques of Bhatkal bear eloquent testimony to their piety and so do the numerous religious schools established in this town. This is further  substantiated by the fact that there is quite a large number of young Hafiz who have committed the entire Holy Quran to memory. Quite many of them belong to the age group 12-15. Jamia Islamia, the premier and prestigious college for Islamic learning for boys attracts students from far and wide. Similarly Jamiatus-Salihat is an institution meant for girls.    


Social Customs

Navayaths of Bhatkal do not go in for intercaste marriages. There may be exceptions, but exceptions, it is said, only prove the rule. Marriages are conducted as laid down in the laws of Islam. It is gratifying to note that the obnoxious and much-hated dowry system has not raised its dirty head in the Navayath community and has been strictly prohibited. Wherever the Navayaths go, they settle in groups and make it point to live in close contacts with the other religious life. An intense fraternal feeling prevails amidst all Navayaths. They belong to the Shafi school of thought. Paradoxical though it may seem, the affluent Navayaths remained educationally backward for a deplorably long spell. The Anjuman-Hami -e- Muslimeen spear-headed the long drawn battle against illiteracy. A wide range of educational institutions ranging from the kindergarten schools to the professional college have come into being. At last these efforts have begun to pay dividends. Scores of Navayaths have emerged as engineers and doctors. Three periodicals are brought out by the Navayaths. One in English-"The Bhatkal Times' which began its innings from August 1990. This fortnightly news magazine is edited by Aftab Hussein Kola.  Another two periodicals called the 'Naksh-e-Navayath  and  Al Ittihad’ (forthnightlies) as been in this field .The Navayath community can pride over the fact that it has produced quite a good number of distinguished sons of India who by their magnanimity and service-mindedness, raised the image of India notch by notch. While late I.H. Siddique was a top-ranking freedom fighter and a legislature of Bombay Assembly, M.M. Siddique was a social worker  and front-line crusade  who waged a relentless war against the many ills plaguing the society at large. A.K. Hafizka served India as her ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1977. As the member of the Legislative Assembly of Bombay and BPCC (I) president he served the state to such an extent that he became the pride and envy of his counterparts. J.H.Shamsuddin rose to the position of a deputy minister for electricity and finance in the early sixties. The contemporary Navayath community too has not lagged behind in this respect. It has many outstanding personalities on various fronts. Thus, S.M. Yahya who has served the Govt. of Karnataka in various capacities as the Finance Minister, Minister of Industries and the Education Minister and is presently an M.L.A. and the senior vice president of KPCC(I) is a Navayth. Navayths show great affinity towards Urdu poetry and the community has produced eminent poets like Dr.Muhammad Husain Fitrath , Mr. Payam Sayeedi, Mr. Hasrat Bhatkali, Syed Abubaker Maliki, Mohd Hasan Muallim, Mohd Ali Qamar,Kauser Jaferi, Haneef Shabab and Abdul Rahim Irshad who have acquired national fame. Majlis-e-Islah-o-Tanzeem, the official organ of the Navayaths, is making strides in the social and political fields. It is regarded as the most powerful Muslim organization in the entire Uttara Kannada district.  If any single community can claim the credit for projecting Bhatkal on the map of India, it is the Navayaths. They have toiled untiringly to make Bhatkal a healthy and happy place to live in and have accelerated the developmental process of this palm tree-studded silvery shore. To put it in a nut-shell, it would suffice to say that they can look back to an excellent  track record and look forward to a still more promising future. 


   H I S T O R Y

At a time when the whole community was writhing in the grip of ignorance, a few thinkers decided to awake the literally sleeping community by opening a maktab (elementary school) by the name "Islah-O-Tanzeem" in 1912. But the need to form a bigger institution cropped up and as a result the " Anjuman Hami-e-Muslimeen" was founded on 2nd Aug, 1919 to intiate the process of bringing education to the door-steps of the common man. Almost all had favoured the idea. It  was initiated as a result of the painstaking efforts of illustrious men like F.A. Hasan, I.H.Siddique, M.M.Siddique , Haji Hasan, S.M. Syed Muhammed , Syed Abubaker Moulana, Abu Abdurrahman among others. F.A. Muhammed Hasan became its first president while M.M. Siddique its first school on Sept. 1, 1919, with only 11 students on its roll. Primary section was added in 1929, and the same year also saw the recognition of the school by the Government. Moving steadily and with the support from the community's elite, the school was upgraded into a high school in June 1939. Thus was born the Islamia Anglo Urdu High school at Bhatkal The very first batch of this high school comprised of 8 students only. And from here onwards Anjuman never looked back, but progressed with all its might. At present, 740 students are on the rolls with 41 staff in this Islamia Anglo Urdu High School. Mr. Usman Hasan Jubapu's tenure as the headmaster for 27 years is worth recalling. It was he who played a vital role in bringing quality to teaching. Mr. V.V. Nainan was the school's first head master. The school administration under Mr. U.H.L. Bhat is also worth recalling.  


Educational Institutions

Anjuman Arts, Science & Commerce College Established in 1968 and conceived by S.M. Haji Syed Mohiddin, this college initially started with only the arts faculty. Science course was introduced in 1969 & commerce in 1975. Prof. S. Nazeer Ahmed was its principal. In the first instance the college was accommodated in the high school building and was later shifted to the new location atop the hillock. The college with 1029 students including 294 girls and 60 staff is just one aspect of the Anjuman. This institution is affiliated to the Karnataka University, Dharwad. The college library has a good collection of books numbering 14,875 and it subscribes to over 50 periodicals. The college has a separate well-equipped laboratory block. Prof.Abdul Rahman is the present principal of this college. 


Anjuman Girls' High School Started in June 1971 in `Farhat Manzil' at Sultan Street with Mrs.Rasheeda Basha as the Head Mistress (she still holds the post) this Anjuman girls' high school was conceived by Messrs. Usman Hasan and S.M. Yahya, then Anjuman's general secretary & now its president. English medium section was introduced in June 1979 and the school now located in the Basti Road has 527 students on its roll and 26 staff.  


Anjuman Nursery and Primary School Attach to the Islamia Anglo High School Anjuman Primary and Nursery school was opened was in August 1973. It was only a primary school then and the nursery section was introduced in June 1981. The Nursery school has 190 students and 677 students are enrolled in the primary section with a total of 25 staff Anjuman Pre-University College For Women Accommodated in the girls high school, the Anjuman Pre-university college for women was started in July 1980. This college has only an arts faculty. The present strength is 86. The staff includes 3 full-timers and 4 part-timers.


Anjuman Engineering College Striving to reach greater height, this professional private un-aided engineering college was established inspite of stiff resistance from a number of people. This is located atop the same hillock where the Anjuman arts, science and commerce college is situated. This college started its innings in Aug 1980. Great efforts were put into the establishment of this professional college, which is the only one of its kind in the entire North Kanara District. Now, the college has five branches, viz., Civil, Mechanical, Electrical & Electronics, Electronics & Communication and Computer Science and Engineering. The college's present intake is 250. The college has gained wide recognition for quality engineering education attracting students from all over the country.   


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JAMIA ISLAMIA

Jamia Islamia, a citadel of Islamic learning is located in Tengingundi, 5 Kms from Bhatkal and the place is called 'Jamiabad'. It is no exaggeration to observe that the Jamia is deeply indebted to Moulana Abdul Hamid Nadvi whose relentless presence paved the way for the birth of this seat of Islamic learning. Embracing about 20 acres, Jamia Islamia now enjoys the pride of place in the map of Karnataka. Out of the 20 acres, 101/2 acres of land were gifted to the Jamia by the legal heirs of Mr. S.M. Syed Meera in 1967, 6 acres of land were taken on lease from the State Govt. and the rest of the land was purchased.   The system of education is traditional and the emphasis is more on imparting religious knowledge. The Jamia Islamia offers a course in Islamic studies in Arabic medium leading to the `Alim' (graduate) degree. The course begins with primary education in a Maktab (elementary school) four years. The Maktabs are located at two places, one at Chowk Bazaar and the other in Navayath Colony. After completion of years, one joins the Jamia Islamia in Jamiabad and after 9 years of successful completion one writes for the final exam to become an `Alim' (religious scholar). This examination is conducted by the Nadwa-tul-ulema, Lucknow to which this institution is affiliated. An S.S.L.C. completed student can join the course at the 7th year of the 9-years course. Apart from religious learning, English, Kannada, Science, etc., are also taught. The Jamia also has made arrangements to produce `huffaz' (plural of hafiz), persons who memories the full text of the Holy Quran.  Jamia has, at present, 367 students on its rolls. It is basically a residential school. Students come here from far-off places like Bihar, Bombay, Kerala & other parts of Karnataka. However, locals constitute about 80% of the strength.  The present campus in Jamia Islamia symbolises love and unity. The sprawling campus has a number of buildings. The main building which is on the eastern side and where classrooms are accommodated has 21 rooms on its ground floor including the office, principal's room and the administrator's room. Construction of the first floor is at present in full swing and is likely to be completed by the end of this year.     The elegant Darut-tahfiz block where the students memorize the holy Qur'an is on the right side after the entrance. About 90 students are presently engaged in memorizing the Qur'an under five instructors. Flower beds adorn the front space of the rectangular-shaped building. The small children wearing caps and reciting Qur'an present a marvelous sight. The most beautiful building, however, is the library block situated on the mid-western part of the campus. The library houses about 7,000 books and it subscribes to 15 periodicals, mostly Arabic. There is also an audio cassette hiring facility. The old hostel, which is on the left side after the entrance has four lengthy halls, two on either side separated by a passage. These halls are used as dormitories. Two halls have cot facility. The long dining hall (mess) which is internally connected to this has a kitchen. There are also four big hostel rooms. There is an arrangement for about 200-250 student's accommodation in the Jamia. The staff quarter are on the western side. A guest house made of bricks was recently constructed and is fully furnished.

   BHATKAL EDUCATION TRUST

History
When the Anjuman-Hami-e-Muslimeen, the pioneering education trust at Bhatkal was twenty years old, Bhatkal saw the birth of yet another trust which embarked upon its soil to fulfill the needs of the Kannada speaking people.
The trust which came to known as the `Bhatkal Education Trust' was founded in 1939. The fruitful efforts of Messrs.. Vaman Nayak and Vaman Shanbagh yielded results. And persons like the late Nagappa Naik, Hanumanth, V. Shanbagh and Pandurang Nayak later helped it to blaze a new trail. Mr. R.G. Kole, an industrialist asserts that the Bhatkal Education Trust was formerly a public trust. Only one institute - the
New English High School, at Bunder Road is being managed by this Trust. The first S.S.L.C. batch came out in 1954. The New English High School is one of the well-maintained high schools of the district. The school has around 700 students on its rolls. The ground floor building has a decent appearance with a spacious and well-laid front garden. English medium section was introduced from the year 1987-88. The school's excellent academic performance over the years has brought fame to this high school. 23 full-time staff and 11 part- timers constitute the teaching faculty with Mr. L.K. Moger as the headmaster.  

A PEEP INTO THE CHEQUERED HISTORY OF BHATKAL

There is every reason to believe that by virtue of its strategic location Bhatkal has for centuries been an apple of discord. It seems as though many rulers-foreigners not barring-vied with one another to gain control over this town by hook or crook. Paradoxical thought it may seem, very little is known about the history of this place prior to the 12th century A.D. except a few stray references here and there. This being so, reconstructing the history of this glorious town is stupendous task by any counts. Not withstanding these facts there is conclusive evidence which goes to prove that Bhatkal was a part and parcel of the Hoysala empire for more than 50 years during the rule of Ballal III from 1291 to 1343. Although the Alupas were the nominal rulers of Bhatkal taluk during the early decades of the 14th century, they in turn owed allegiance to the Vijayanagar emperors. The rulers of Vijayanagar administered Bhatkal with Honnavar as the headquarters. This rule lasted throughout the reign of Harihara II, Devaraya I and Devaraya II. However, in the early days, the rulers of Haduvalli did defy the supremacy of Vijayanagar and did not hesitate to give tough resistance. Varthema (1503), the Italian traveler speaks very highly of Bhatkal. In his words Bhatkal was noble city, very beautiful, Bhatkal was among the top-ranking centres of trade and commerce in the Vijayanagar empire. That was the reason why the Portuguese appealed to Krishnadevarya time and again to permit them to open a factory there. The fact that Krishnadevarya who maintained amicable relationship with the Portuguese refused their request underscores the importance of Bhatkal.  After the disintegration of Vijayanagar empire the Saluva rulers of Haduvalli brought this coveted town under their rule. Thus the dawn of the 15th century marked the beginning of a new chapter in the chequered history of Bhatkal. Many temples and bastis came to be constructed here during Chennabhaira Devi's rule. It is said that one of her commanders, Narayana Nayaka (1556) built the Vardhamana Basti. It is a matter of great pride to us to recall that the eminent scholar like Akalanka II who was the mentor of the renowned Kannada grammarian Bhattakalanka (1598) was a great son of this locality.   This region passed on to the Nayakas of Keladi from Chennabhaira Devi. Meanwhile sweeping changes were taking place in the political scenario of the country. the Portuguese had secured a strong foot-hold in Goa. their meteric rise was upsetting all political equation. In the alter part of the 17th century they had entered into an agreement with Chennammaji (1678) and succeeded in obtaining her permission to build churches at Bhatkal and elsewhere. The Maratha King Shivaji came by the sea route and tried to plunder Bhatkal in 1664.  The Dutch maintained cordial relationship with the rulers of Bhatkal. No wonder their policy paid rich dividends. Trade between the two countries prospered as never before. When Bhatkal came under Tippu's rule its overseas trade received a further boost. He opened many state-owned depots at Bhatkal. Bhatkal proved to be invaluable and indispensable for the prosperity of the economy of any kingdom. Thus it changed hands quite frequently. In 1606 it came under the Keladi Navayakas and continued to rise notch by notch. The Portuguese succeeded in opening a factory of their own at Bhatkal in 1678. From the Keladi rulers, Bhatkal passed on to Hyder Ali and Tippu from whom it came under the British in 1799. Antequetil dy parron who visited this place in 1758 speaks of a fort built on a rock. Buchanon who came here in 1801 says that there were 50 houses in Bhatkal . Bhatkal did not lag behind its counterparts in other parts of the country in our struggle for freedom. The historic Quit India procession was taken here during the second week of 1942. Thus even a sketch history that can be reconstructed in the light of available evidence speaks volumes of the greatness of Bhatkal and of its vital role in our country's economy.  FACTS : There were two division of Canara in Nov. 1800-Northern & Southern; Bhatkal was in the northern division.  In 1871, both the division merged to emerge as a single division. In 1862, the single division was again divided into two districts-Uttara Kannada with Bhatkal Petha was transferred to the Bombay Presidency. In 1960 - Bhatkal was elevated as a taluk.


TEMPLES IN BHATKAL

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 The Hindu philosophy accommodates diverse interpretations of its  ancient scriptures. It stands for a process of evolution extending from the  worship of arthromorphic God, to the realisation of self as God. A Hindu  temple symbolises this process. The styles of temple have reflected their  basic purpose and the different views of the civilisation in which they  occur. Bhatkal town is not only famous for elegant mosques, but also for the  temples that dot the town. The old structures have withstood the ravages  of time to tell the tales of the past splendour. And there are new ones  built by the new generation people. While the majority of the ancient  temples are situated in Mudbhatkal, lying to the east of the town, the new  ones and a few older structures are in the town. The temples dotting  Mudbhatkal include Khetapayya Narayana, Joshi Shankarnarayana and  Choleshwara. Other temples in the area are as follows: Santappa Nayaka Tirumala temple was constructed by Santappa  Nayaka, who is believed to have been the brother-in-law of Khet Pai. In  this temple, God Venkataramana is worshipped. Built in 1555, profusely  sculptured motifs adorn the walls. The Virupaksha Narayan temple is a small structure built in 1565 by  Jeevana Nayaka. The Narasimha temple is another fine structure in  Mudbhatkal. A hero stone is found on its left corner.  Nothing is visible on it. A merchant by name Narasa Kini built the temple  in 1538. The ceiling is adorned with fine images of Brahma and its  Navaranga has pillars with lathe-turned top.  Lakkarasa Kamthi Lakshmi Narayana is a small monument in the green  field. The temple is assigned to 1550 AD.  The Raghunath temple in the area is assigned to 1590 AD and was built  by Bala Kini  Bhatkal town proper, too, has a score of temples including a few older  ones. The cynosure of all is the Maruthi temple at car Street. During its  construction period, which we couldn't trace out, eight guardian angels  called `Astadik- palakaru' were installed in its eight directions with a belief  that these will guard the temple from unforeseen evils. The Maruthi is the  gramadevata of Bhatkal. During March-April, a car festival of this temple  is held.  The Shri Marikamba temple, renovated in 1980, situated on the busy  main road (Marikatta)  The Nichchalamakki Sri Venkatar -amana temple at Asarkeri is another  famous temple here which has about 200 years history. His Holiness Sri  Ramanujacharaya and Sri Madhavacharya installed Sri venkata- raman  idol, which was brought from Tirupathi. The Sunkadakatte Sri Ganapati  temple recently renovated has an interesting history.Sunkada Katte in  Kannada means check post (for collecting octroi). And it is believed that  its employees had installed Ganapati idol for their daily worship and  subsequently it became a temple. The Soddigadde Shri Mahasati temple  has disciples mostly from Moger and Namadhari communities. It is said  that previously there were five `peethas'. In the year 1973 the new idol of  Mahasatiwas installed. There is no permanent priest for the rituals. And  any man is free to enter and worship according to his own customs. The  car festival takes place in the month of January.  The Sri Siddhi Vinayaka temple at Ranginkatte is 70 years old. The main  speciality of this Ganapathi idol is that its trunk is turned right, and not left  as usually seen. In the year 1921 Ved Shri Kabre Timmanna Bhat of  Kabre village installed this idol made of white marble and build this  temple. This temple is managed by Havyaka Brahmins.  Other temples include the Shanteri Kamakshi, the Parashurama  Damodhara, the Gopalkrishna, Dattareya, the Vader math, Durgaparameshwari, Kashi math, Nadagara, Shri Ram, Padmavathi and  Shivalaya. The Amar Lingeshwar Temple at Bunder has a long history  but we will not go into it. The temple was renovated in 1987. His  Holiness Sri Vishweshwar Teertha Swamiji of Shringeri Math installed  the Ishwar Linga. The temple is at the bottom of the hillock near the sea.  Mr. Vasudev Bhat belonging to Havyaka Brahmin community is its  priest. Other temples at bunder are: Hanumanth, Mahalingeshwar, Durgaparameshwari and Kutshmeshwar.  Murdeshwar Additional places of interest  

REMINISCENCES OF A BYGONE SPLENDOUR

Jain  who ruled Bhatkal during the fourteenth century have left behind vestiges of their once famous bastion. 1336 A.D. marked the glorious beginning of the Vijayanagar empire and Bhatkal became its major centre in the southern taluks of Uttara Kannada district. Most of the bastis and temples at Bhatkal were built during the regions of Vijayanagar and Jain rulers. These imposing ancient monuments whisper gently the glories of town that had seen far better days and flourished in the distant past. The ancient monuments, magically revive past splendour and bring alive the ancient town before our mind's eyes. Given below are the pen-sketches of such beautiful ancient struc -tures which reminisce our rich and colourful heritage. There Are Four Beautiful Temples... Parshawantha Temple...Kethapayya Narayana Temple ... Joshi Shankar Narayana Temple... Choleshwara Temple Moni Basti  This is locally famous by the name `Moni Basti'.    The Parshwanatha basti ranks among the ancient structures built in 15 century in Bhatkal. Situated as it is on the Bazaar Main Road in the heart of the town, this place of worship has been a silent witness to the rise and fall of empires as also to the sweeping changes that This is locally famous by the name `Moni Basti'. The Parshwanatha basti ranks among the ancient structures built in 15 century in Bhatkal. Situated as it is on the Bazaar Main Road in the heart of the town, this place of worship has been a silent witness to the rise and fall of empires as also to the sweeping changes that have overwhelmed this region. The basti testifies to the artistic excellence of the architects and engineers of those far-off days.A tall monolithic Manasthamba greets the visitor from a distance. The small shrine atop this pillar contains fascinating images, carved in marble. The Navaranga is supported by the typical granite Vijayanagar pillars of square and octagonal shapes.   Yet another wide-spread belief is that it was a Jain Queen, Mohini who built this. But there is no conclusive evidence to substantiate this.

Kethapayya Narayan Temple

The Kethapayya Narayan temple is the most outstandingly beautiful architectural structure found in Bhatkal. Located at Mudbhatkal the beauty and sharpness of the art carved on the temple walls makes the pilgrims spellbound. The Navaranga supported by four pillars represents the Vijayanagara style of architecture. Idols of `Ashta Dikpalakas' guard the eight directions. At the door step of the temple pictures of episodes extracted from Ramayana, Putra Kamesti, Vanavas, Rama pattabhisheka, etc., make one dream of those ages.  There is a huge monolithic swajastambha (flag pillar) in front on which are engraved on one side facing the deity a rich couple, presumably of Kheta Pai and his wife. It is said that Khetha Pai, a noted jeweller who came from  Goa. There is a belief that Rani Chennadevi donated liberally for the construction of this temple.  Joshi Shankara Narayan Temple Located in the vicinity of the Kethapayya Narayan Temple, Joshi Shankarnarayana Temple is supposed to have been built around 1554 A.D. The very name of this temple indicates that there is no difference between Hari and Hara. This bears witness to the fact that devotees can worship their god at one place and offer salutation to one Idol, which resembles both Hari and Hara. And the prefix in its name indicate the name of the builder. In the temple only adyturn (garbhgudi) is there. It has a separate front structure of flat roof. The building which is small and square shaped is beautiful beyond belief. There is no Idol of Shankara Narayana. Only Kaivalya idol remains. This attractive idol is two and a half feet in height, with four hands on the left hand side. The face on this side is of Vishnu, the right hand side face is of Shanker and the two hands are holding Trishul and Japasara (garland of beeds). On either side of the seat Nandi and Garuda Lanchana can be seen .Choleshwar Temple   This temple is believed to be the oldest temple of Bhatkal. The Cholas invaded upto Bhatkal during 10th century. In memory of this conquest the Chola King built the Choleshwar temple. Originally built of laterite, and now renovated using granite, it looks like a metal boiler placed upside down. There is no separate sanctum sanctorum for the idol. It is completely dark inside. The temple has a beautiful balipitha and also a monolithic pillar with a small Nandimantapa atop. A curvilinear Shikhara has been added to the garbhagriha in the recent past, which houses a linga. The altar in the precincts is enchantingly beautiful. The scripts on the walls are in Tamil and speak of one Modaliyan, which is not of Chola times, Choleshwar temple remains intact proclaiming the greatness of India's history and culture.


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Murdeshwar Murdeshwar, 16 km from Bhatkal has recently shot into prominence as one of the loveliest spots in Karnataka. One can enter Murdeshwar from the Bhatkal-Honnavar National Highway through a specially erected big entrance decorated with intricate carvings. Murdeshwar symbolises the past glory of Hinduism. It is centered around the splendid Murdeshwar temple atop a hillock overlooking the Arabian Sea. Epic has it that this magnificent Murdeshwar linga emerged when Ravana threw the cloth covering the Atmalinga at Gokarn (another pilgrim centre in Uttara Kannada). And this cloth is presumed to have landed on this hillock called `Kanduka Parvata' and called Marideshwar'. The two inscriptions found in the older temple shed light on the construction of Nandi Mantapa in 1542 A.D. and the times of Devaraya II of Vijayanagar. There is however another version about the atmalinga being broken into four pieces & thrown by Ravana. The old temple has been recently renovated. Built in a Dravidian style, this temple excludes medieval grace and charm. The magnificent temple overlooks the Arabian sea. To the side of the compound wall is the Nataraja statue made of bell metal. A shrine of `Jattiga', the guarding deity, is seen installed outside the temple. One is greeted with the bewitching beauty of the surroundings as one reaches the top of the hillock. The vast stretches of silvery sands with the Sahyadri mountains framed into the background, the coconut trees dancing to the tunes of the billows, rose of boats dancing and drifting towards the shore, the sun looking like a ball of fire just before the sunset and then sinking into the sea - all weave a magic spell and make the viewers forget themselves.

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Netrani Island Locally known as Netragudo, the Netrani island is an excellent picnic spot off the Bhatkal coast. Also called as Pigeon island, this Netrani island which is about 25 km from the Bhatkal coast, is a hill in the Arabian Sea.The island is enveloped by wild growth of trees and climbing the step hill is not that easy. If we are able to reach the top of the hill braving all hazards involved which is a rewarding experience we can see the idol of Jattiga and sculptures of cocks and elephants on one side and grave of a Muslim on the other. It is believed that it was once common to take vows to offer worship here. The ruins of a temple, a Roman catholic church and a mosque can still be seen. The island has sheltered innumerable wild goats. 


Manki Located about 28 km from Bhatkal,Manki is a place of considerable antiquity and was a famous Jain centre during the 14th and 15th centuries. The place has temples dedicated to Ganapathi, Venkataramana, Durga etc. The place has 3 mosques. 


ADDITIONAL PLACES OF INTEREST

 Shirali , Hadwalli,  Kaikin ,  Marvanthe ,  Chitrapur ,  Shirali  4 km from Bhatkal on the National Highway is Shirali, a place of  considerable antiquity. Lying on the north of the Venktapura river,  Shirali has inscriptions of the Alupas, Hoysalas, Hadwalli rulers  and Vijayanagar. This place houses a centre which measures  rainfall. The Mahaganapathy temple is situated here. The idol of  Ganapati is carved out of stone whereas the icon of Mahamaya is  made of an alloy of five metals. 


 Hadwalli  Hadwalli which falls under Bhatkal taluk lies on the Sagar road  about 20 km from Bhatkal. It had been once the capital of the  Saluvas. Shorn of all its glory, it has since been reduced to an  anonymous hamlet. The village amidst lush foliage has interesting  Jain monuments. The Padmavati temple is one of its prized  possessions. In this temple one can see an array of statues of 24  Theerthankaras engraved in fine black polished stone, each over a  half meter tall. The beautiful bell metal statues of Yakshi,  Padmavathi, Jain, Saraswati and Brahma on horseback bear  testimony to the excellent of the artists of yore. Especially so the  bell metal icon of Ananthana Theerthankara encircled with a halo  on which are engraved the figures of 72 Threethankaras. Nearby  there are two hillocks called Chandragiri and Indragiri. Below  Chandragiri is the fine Chandranatha Basti of Vijayanagar times  with fine lathe-turned pillars. In the smaller Basadi located outside  this Basadi, we can see the transparent marble statue of  Chandranatha in standing posture. The outer column contains  engravings depicting pots, bracelets and anklets. The door with  intricate carvings depicting creepers reveal a high standard of  artistic excellence. 


 Kaikini  Prominent centre of ancient times, this village of about 6,000  people, is 13 km from Bhatkal and lies along the  Bhatkal-Honnavar Road. The only basadi, is the old  Parshwanatha Basadi, which houses 24 engravings. One of the  inscriptions found in the Basadi testifies to the facts that Kaikini  was a busy town in far-off days, that 24 `Jananis' look after the  town administration and that during Vijayanagar period, it was a  bee-hive of `Vaisya' (traders) activities.  


  Marvanthe  A fairyland of scenic beauty, about 45 Kms from Bhatkal is  Marvanthe, a scenic spot. The highway bordered on either side  by the Arabian Sea and the Sauparnika River, with the  Kutachadri Hills forming the background, makes the drive an  exciting experience. And at sunset a crimson sky and golden rays  reflected both in the sea and the river convert Marvanthe into a  fairy land of scenic beauty. 


Chitrapur  Shri Chitrapur Math, the renowned Parijnanashrama Swamiji's  monastery, is the abode of six samadhis at Chitrapur (Shirli). So  far a lineage of ten swamijis has been at the helm of affairs here  starting with Swami Parijnanashram ascending the Peetha in  1675. The tenth swamiji in the lineage known as Parijnanashrama  swamy the third who died recently was an acclaimed scientist.  Around this monastery are situated the temples of Gopalkrishna,  Dattatreya, Shantadurga and Keshvanarayana. A beautiful park  has been raised in the vicinity of the Math and animals like the  deer, hare, etc., have been reared. The Shri Chitrapur museum  set up in 1973 houses a mass of archival wealth and several types  of conches, halos made of bellmetals, plates, idols made up of  ivory & sandalwood, swords, shields, spears, copperplates and a  lamp dating back to the 13th century and many other artistic  articles                                             


Syed Abubaker Maliki Comments & Suggestions bhatkal@hotmail.com        

                                                            

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Our sincere thanks to Mr. Aftab Kola , Editor Bhatkal Times for the above article