Once again, the three day Raghavendra Aradhane is on us and it commences tommorow and Rayara Mathas all over the world are geared up to celebrate the joyous occasion with all pomp and gaiety.
Bangalore has perhaps the largest concentration of temples dedicated to Raghavendra Swamy and one of the earliest temple was at the Agrahara just off Mysore Road. It is better known as Seethapathi Agrahara and it is in Chamarajpet. Take the road diagonally opposite Prakash Cafe and you will come to an arch. Enter it and go around the winding road and it will take you straight to the temple.
The temple is old but it is a beehive of activity. Another Rayaru temple is just down the road and this is in Raghavendra Colony, which is part of Chamarajpet. Like Chamarajpet, the locality of Jayanagar too is fortunate in having two temples dedicated to Raghavendra Swamy.
One Raghavendra Swamy temple is in Jayanagar 4th T Block and it is located next to the Sri Rama Temple. The other is more recognisable as it is situated on the main road in Jayanagar 5th Block. The road is called Aurobindo Marg or 11th Main Road and this Matha is owned by the Manrtralaya Matha.
Apart from these two temples in jayanagar, JP Nagar has its Rayaru temple at Srinidhi Layout just opposite Brigade apartments. Hulimavu too has a Raghavendra swamy matha and it is just across the bus stand. Akshaya Nagar in Begur too has a Raghavendra Swamy Matha, Vijayanagar has a Raghavedra Swamy Temple on 6th Cross, Amarajyothi Nagar as does Vidyaranyapura.
One of the little known mathas is at Aknoor in 3rd Cross Road, Basavanagudi.
Girinagar has a Raghavendra Swamy Matha as does Hoskerehalli and several other localities of Bangalore. Gandhi Bazar has the Vyasaraja Matha where you can see the Vyasaraja and Raghavendra avatars at one place. There is also the Raghavendra Swamy matha at NR Colony and on Bull Temple Road just near BMS College.
The matha at Swimming Pool Extension at Malleswaram and at Rajajinagar are also well known. One of the newer mathas to come up is at Papareddy Palya just off the Ring Road connectong Kengeri to Nagharbhavi.
The Indiranagar, Dooravaninagar, RT Nagar and Yelahanka mathas are also well-known. Thus we see that almost all localities have at least or two mathas and a majority of them are privately run. Only a handful belong to the Mantralaya or Nanjangud Matha.
Mysore has the second kargest number of Raghavendra Swamy Mathas after Bangalore. Incidentally, there are mathas in all the districts of Karnataka and some like the one in Nanjangud is very well known as the Dweethiya Mantralaya at Honnali.
One of the earliest Brindavanas to come up outside Mantralaya is at Budhikote in Kolar district. The temple was constructed just ten years after our beloved Rayaru entered Brindavana in Mantralaya in 1671. However, the first Ekashila Brindavana came up at Bichale in Raichur district near Mantralaya.
Bichale was the home of Appannacharya,, the beloved disciple of Raghavendra and it was Appanacharya who first saw Rayaru sitting in meditation in the Brindavana at Mantralaya.
The only underground Brindavana of Raghavendra is in Bijapur, north Karnataka. The Moola Brinavana of Raghavendra is in Mantralaya but the greatness of this sage is so well-known that you only have to recite his name with devotion for hm to bless you.
Raghavendra Swami, one of the leading lights of the Madhwa parampare, quikcly went on to become the beacon of hope for millions of people, transcending all barriers of caste, class, religion and even country. He also helped in the revival of the Bhakti movement whch had suffered a setback when the Muslim confederation of Nizam Shai, Adil Shah destroyed the Vijayanagar Empire in 1565.
It was Raghavendra who spared the second revival of the Haridasa Bhakti movement and inspired poets and composers like Jagannatha Dasa, Vijaya Dasa, Mahipathi Dasa and many others to once again teach people about the glory of Hari.