Distance: 290 km from Bangalore and 105 Km from Mangalore
Journey Time: By road 7 hours and by Train 9 hours
Route: NH 4 to Neelamangala, NH 48 to Sakleshpur via Kunigal and Hassan, then state road to Kukke Subrahmanya
How to Reach there: KSRTC runs regular buses from both Bangalore and Mangalore. Nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport (Bajpe Airport ) at distance of 115 km.The nearest railway station is Subramanya Road railway station on Mangaluru-Bangaluru railway route, which is at 7 km from Kukke Subramanya.
Where to Stay: Guest house or Lodges are easily available near the temple. If you are looking for little more comfort then you can stay at the Hotel Mayura Residency(08257 – 681336) which is very close to the temple or at Sheshnag Ashraya(08257 – 681215).
Where to eat: There are a few restaurants near the temple like New Mysore Cafe, Hotel Guru Krupa etc.
Kukke Subrahmanya Temple against the background of Kumara Parvatha
Kukke Subramanya is a Hindu temple located in the small, rural village of Subramanya at the foot hills of Kumara Parvatha in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India, about 105 km from Mangalore. This temple is one of the famous pilgrimage sites in India and is nestled in the middle of a forest range. Here the God Subrahmanya is worshipped for his divine power as a snake as the epics relate that the divine serpent Vasuki and other snakes found safety under God Subrahmanya. Lord Subrahmanya in North India is known as Karthik(son of Lord Shiva).
Kukke Subrahmanya is a religious place but even if you are not very religiously inclined, you will still enjoy nature’s beauty and the treks through lush green forests and hills. The wood-and-tile temple has a sloping roof topped by a brass kalasa. The worship of Subrahmanya at Kukke dates back to the 8th century CE. The earliest records of Kukke are found in a Bunt inscription of Puttur Taluk (8th-9th century CE), which refers to the deity of Kukke. An epigraph of 1388 and a copper plate of 1406 mention the grant of land for worship of the deity and free distribution of food. The Vijayanagara and Keladi rulers, and Rani Kittoor Chennamma, continued their patronage through gifts and donations. Hyder Ali annexed Kukke but the importance of this pilgrim centre did not diminish at all.
The temple complex has many other shrines inside like Hanuman, Ganapati, Vedavyasa Samputa Narasimha Temple, Shringeri andSubrahmanya mutts. Also, there is a shrine of Hosaligamma, bodyguard of Subramanya. A little away from the main temple is the temple of Adi Subrahmanya. Legend has it that the serpent king Vasuki had under taken a penance on the Kumara Parvatha nearby to seek divine intervention to save himself from Garuda. When lord Subrahmanya came here winning a battle against ademon Tarakasura, Vasuki prayed that If the Lord would stay with him here permanantly. His wish was granted and Vasuki enjoy all the pujas and reverences Lord Subrahmanya receives. Both the Serpent king and Lord Subrahmanya were brought down the hill in a basket(in Kannada Kukke), which is why the place is called Kukke Subrahmanya.
If you take your own vehicle then you can drive upto the baricades or you will have to walk little bit through Baazar from the KSRTC bus stand. Then crossing the baricades and little more walk amids choultries on one side and shops on the other leads you to the main temple. The mostly cloud drapped kumara Parvatha hill rises vertically behind the Subrahmanya temple. A small stream called the Darpana Tirtha flows behind the main Subrahmanya temple and in front of Adi Subrahmanya temple, later joins the Kumaradhara River. There is a nicely maintained park behind the Adi Subrahmanya temple, which can be very good for sitting and bird watching in the evening. About one and half kilometer from the main temple there are bathing ghats where pilgrims can take bath in the Kumaradhara river.
Note: All Male are supposed to take of their shirts and vest before entering the inner temple. Also, there are some special rules like children below 2 years, pregnant women and women undergoing period cannot enter the temple. Temple is open between 6.30 am to 6.30 pm. Abhisekh: 7 to 11.30 am
Trekking: The area around Subrahmanya are trekkers paradise. Kumara Parvatha is 5 km from the town and stand 4000 feet above sea level. It is believed to be the most difficult trek route in Karnataka. There is one Girigadhe Bhat who lives on Kumara Parvatha. One can let him know about their visit. Stay is free there about 200 ft above sea level. Food is offered at a nominial sum. Do not expect electricity as you will be on the lap of nature.
Drive through Bisle Ghat is a treat in itself. Here, nature brings in surprise at every turn of the road. Bisle ghat is not motorable between 5 pm and 8 am, due to wildlife activity during these times. Remember to carry water and eatables.
I visited there in the month of April and it was relatively very hot compared to Bangalore. Even the Sun was to scorching. Make sure you carry Sun Screen lotion and cover you body as much as possible during day time in summer. Btw, one can avail package tours from KSTDC. KSTDC offers a temple tour including Kukke Subrahmanya every thrusday night from Bangalore.