The Omkareshwara Temple is an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated in the town of Madikeri in Coorg, Karnataka. The speciality of the temple is that its construction reflects a mix of Gothic and Islamic styles. It is a popular religious destination of Coorg. The temple draws a large number of tourists and devotees regularly.
The Omkareshwara Temple was constructed by King Lingarajendra II in the 18th century. Legend has it that the temple was built by the king as a form of penance. The story goes around that the king had killed a Brahmin to fulfil his political ambitions. However, the king started to have nightmares for his cruel deed. In order to free himself from the nightmares, the King sought the advice of a few wise men. They asked the king to build a temple of Lord Shiva to regain his mental peace.
The king followed their advice and brought a Shivalingam from the holy town of Kashi and installed it at a newly constructed temple. It is said that the stopped having the nightmares king after the temple was built. This Shivalingam is worshipped as Omkareshwara.
The Omkareshwara Temple displays a unique style of architecture. The temple has a design that is quite similar to the ones seen in Muslim dargah. The structure of the temple comprises of a large central dome with four minarets standing at the four corners.
The interesting thing to note is that the temple lacks a pillared hall as is common in most temples of India. The Shivalingam is installed near the entrance door. The history of the temple has been inscribed on a copper plate and fixed on the entrance door frame.
The Omkareshwara Temple is a large and simple structure with a peaceful ambiance. A water tank exists inside the temple premises. The tank has a mantapa built in the centre. This mantapa is connected by a walkway. A large number of fishes can be seen playing in the water of the tank at any time. As such, the tank attracts the attention of the tourists and devotees who visit the temple.
Timings: 6:30 AM to 12:00 Noon; 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM Best time to visit: between the months of October to March Entry Fee: Free Duration of Visit: 1 hour