Third Party Video
Third Party Video
Over 3000 years ago the people of the Indus Valley left behind evidence that show us the popular belief in snake worship. In the Hindu religion and mythology, the snake is one of the most significant and frequently recurring symbols. Snakes ranks sacred second only to the cow in sacredness.
Snakes are a symbol of life and death. Snake worship precedes idol worship. Snake worship forms an important part of mythology and the Atharva Veda speaks of this practice.
At Vidurashwatha the sight of hundreds of snake idols reaffirm the strong belief in snake worship....... even today.
The Mahabharata speaks of a great warrior Vidura. He was the brother of Dhirtharashtra and Pandu. Vidura was famous for righteousness and moral judgment. The ancient text "Vidura Needi" is the guide for Dharma, Righteousness.
After the great Kurukshetra war Vidura who witnessed the great bloodshed was disturbed. He asked Lord Krishna a means by which he could get salvation. Lord Krishna asked him to undertake a theerthayatra or a pilgrimage to the major holy rivers. Vidura completed the pilgrimage and finally reached the hermitage of Maithreya Maharishi.
Here he continued the penance on the river bank. One day during his morning prayers in the river he found a small sapling. He decided to offer the sapling to to Surya the Sun God. Maharishi Maithreya stopped him and asked him to plant the sapling and worship it. He told him that this would give him the salvation he has been seeking.
Vidura followed the Maharishi's words. The sapling grew into a great tree. This was a Ashwatha or the sacred fig tree. Among trees, the Aswatha is the most important. This is the same Bodhi tree under which The Buddha attained enlightenment. It is said that those who worship the tree will be blessed with all they desire. Vidura soon achieved salvation.
Thus the tree and the village were later named as Vidurashwatha or the tree of Vidura.
Soon it became a custom to consecrate idols of Ganesha and Nagas or serpents under the tree. Most of the serpent Temples in Kerala and Ganesa temples in Tamil Nadu are constructed below a Aswatha tree. Snake worship is closely related to child birth. Those who suffer from any form of snake dosha or curse will install a snake idol under the tree. They will then pray to the Nagas for forgiveness and to bless them with a child.
The power of the snake shrine at Vidurashwatha became famous and hundreds of devotees have installed idols. They visit the temple regularly and perform pujas. Many visit to thank the Nagas and the tree of the gift of a child.
Vidurashwatha has also earned a place in the history of the Indian Freedom struggle. The shrine was a prominent center in the freedom movement. This resulted in the British opening indiscriminate firing on unarmed protesters. Vidurashwatha is sometimes refereed to as the Jalianwalla Bagh of South India. Behind the temple is a memorial erected to remember the people who lost their lives and to honor their memory.
Driving from Bangalore the village is 86 km from Bangalore. You will need to drive past Chikkaballapur and Gauribidanur to reach the shrine.