Kateel also known as Kateelu is a temple town located at a distance of 29 km from Mangalore city and 45 km from Udupi town in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. The main temple at Kateel is dedicated to Goddess Durgaparameshwari, also known as Bhramari. This holy temple is situated in the middle of the river Nandini, surrounded by greenery and panoramic scenes. It is a very important place of pilgrimage in Karnataka.
We happened to visit this holy place by chance on 6th April 2018. Our neighbor at Secunderabad, on seeing a facebook post of my wife was surprised to know that we are at Malpe near Udupi and advised us to visit the close by Shri Durgaparameshwari temple at Kateel and Lord Shiva temple at Murudeshwar. As we had only few hours left for our return journey to Hyderabad; we could visit only Kateel Shree Durgaparameshwari temple on our way to Mangalore airport. And we are glad to have visited this ancient temple.
In Tulu, 'Kati' means 'center'. Kateel is midway between Kanakagiri, the source of the river Nandi, and Pavanje, where the river joins the sea. 'Ila' means area (land), thus the place is called 'Kati + lla', Kateel.
The history of the temple is as follows: When Goddess Durga killed Shumbha and Nishumbha, Arunasura, one of the ministers, had fled from the battlefield and survived. Later he became the leader of the Rakshasas (demons). He began to disturb the sages and destroy their Yajnahs. As a result, the Devas stopped rains, which resulted in total draught and scarcity of water and food grains on the earth. Moved by the pathetic conditions of the people Maharshi Jabali, the great sage decided to perform a Yajnah to appease the Devas.
He approached Devendra and requested him to send Kamadhenu (the sacred cow) with him for the ritual. Since Kamadhenu had been to Varuna Loka, Devendra permitted the sage to take Nandini, the daughter of Kamadhenu in order to assist him as Homadhenu (symbolic cow for ritual) in his proposed Yajna. Jabali went to Nandini and put forth his request. In reply Nandini abused the earth and the people there and refused to accompany him. When the sage found that Nandini was firm in her refusal, he cursed her to flow as a river on earth. As Nandini prayed Jabali for mercy, kindhearted sage advised her to pray Adhishakti to get freed from the curse. Accordingly Nandini prayed Adhishakti. Pleased by her deep meditation Goddess appeared before Nandini and told her that she has to flow as a river as a result of the curse, because nobody can trespass the curse (Rishi Vakya) of a holy sage. And she added “I shall take birth as your daughter in due course and purify you from this curse”. Satisfied by this assurance Nandini emerged as a river from Kanakagiri on the day of Magha Shuddha Poornima and made the earth green once again.
Meanwhile Arunasura acquired a boon from Brahma, which made him free from fear of death by Trinity, Devas, men or women or by any two legged or four legged animals and creatures. Goddess Saraswathi also blessed him with Gayathri Mantra. All these boons made him the most powerful. He defeated the Devatas and conquered Heaven. Disheartened by the disastrous defeat, the Devatas, along with Trinity pleaded Adhishakti for rescue.
Goddess said that unless and until Arunasura is prevented from reciting Gayathri Mantra she too would not be able to destroy him. She suggested them to send Brihaspathi (Guru of Devatas) to distract Arunasura from his meditation of Gayathri, and make him get rid of Gayathri recitation so that she would be able to kill him.
Brihaspathi approached Arunasura, flattered him, poisoned his ears and succeeded in diverting him from his meditation. Now Arunasura vainly felt that he was more than God himself. He not only ordered his subjects to worship him but also troubled the sages and spoiled their Yajnas. As promised to the Devas, Goddess took the shape of Mohini, a charming woman and began to wander in the garden of Arunasura. Chanda and Prachanda, ministers of Arunasura saw her and informed the master about her beauty. Arunasura decided to marry her and approached her. When she turned deaf ears to his request and teased him for fleeing from the war field, afraid of the lady who killed his masters Shumbha & Nishumbha, he became furious. When he tried to take her by force, she disappeared inside rock. Arunasura broke the rock with his sword. Suddenly, a vast swarm of bees emerged from the rock and stung him. Devi had taken the form of a big, furious bee that is ‘Bhramara’ and stung him repeatedly till his last breath. Now the Devas and the sages led by Jabali performed “Abhishekham” to Devi with tender coconut brought from the Kalpavriksha of Devaloka, and prayed her to bless the world with ‘Soumya Roopa’ (Gentle form/posture). According to this request Devi emerged in the form of an Idol in the middle of the river Nandini (as assured to Nandini; to be born as her daughter) and is known here as Shree Durgaparameshwari.