An earlier post had information about the holiness of Bichale or Bhikshalaya near Mantralaya and the many saints and Haridasa who visited the village.
Bichale is in Raichur taluk of KarnatakaState, while Mantralaya is in Andhra Pradesh.
When Bichale was a thriving town in the 16th, 17th century and 18th century. Manchale-now Mantralaya-was a small and peaceful village. Incidentally, both Mantralaya and Bichale are located on the banks of the Tungabhadra.
Many Madhwa saints had come to Bichale and spent time there. One of those saints who spent a lot of time in Raichur district was Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha (1460-1539), the previous avatar of Raghavendra Swamy.
Bichale is important Madhwa centre as it has many idols consecrated by several Madhwa saints. This is also one of the few pilgrim places where both Vyasa Raja and Raghavendra Swamy consecrated idols of Hamuman or Mukhya Prana Devaru.
Moreover, Vyasa Raja has installed more than half of the 732 Mukhya Prana idols in Penugonda which is 221 kilometres from Mantralaya. Besides, there are scores of Mukhya Prana idols in Adoni or Adwani (This city is about 30 kms from Mantralaya and it is in Andhra Pradesh) which Vyasa Raja installed apart from those at Kasapura (15 kms from Chippargi). All these places are near Mantralaya and they can be seen even today.
Another important Mukhya Prana idol is in Budamala Doddi, while Basalodi has another Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman.
Vyasaraja also installed at least ten Mukhya Prana idols in Raichur district and one of them is in Bichale.
Some other famous Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman temples in Raichur district are at Gajagarapet in Raichur, Gabbur in Devadurga taluk, Sindhnur near Raichur, Hirekottekal in Manvi taluk, Kadlur in Raichur taluk, Lingasugur and Mudgal.
On one of his visits to Bichale, Vyasa Raja not only consecrated the Mukhya Prana idol at the Japadakatte in Bichale, but he also handed over a bronze statue of Anjaneya to the ancestors of Appanacharya.
The ancestors of Appanacharya were zamindars of Bichale and they had contributed significantly to the development of Bichale as a Madhwa centre of learning. Vyasa Raja had come here and he stayed at Bichale and Japadakatte for some time.
It was after he consecrated the Mukya Prana idol at Japadakatte that he gave the small idol to Appanacharya’s ancestors and asked them to safeguard it.
The idol came to Appanacharya and he carried it on his person whenever he went out of Bichale. He had it on him when Raghavendra Swamy came to Bichale sometime in 1658.
Raghavendra Swamy was delighted with the surroundings of the Japadakatte. He was enchanted by the free flowing Tungabhadra and he made the Japadakatte the home of his scholastic discussion with Appanacharya.
Raghavendra Swamy worshipped the idol of Mukhya Prana Devaru installed by Vyasa Raja at the Japada Katte. He also worshipped the deities consecrated by Sripadaraja, Vibhudeendra Theertha, Jitamirta Theertha and others at the Japadakatte.
Raghavendra Swamy himself installed a Prana Devaru idol at Japadakatte. Not many know that the sacred stone used to make the Prana Devaru idol is the same stone that was used to build the Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy.
The sacred stone came from Madhawaram, near Mantralaya, and Raghavendra Swamy set great store by it as Rama and his brother Lakshmana had sat on the stone taking rest and mediating for two hours and twenty minutes during their Yagnatavasa from Ayodhya.
When Raghavendra Swamy came in the dream of Appanacharya, he asked him to construct a Brindavana at the Japadakatte and place the idol of Prana Devaru he had consecrated at the place on top of the structure. Even to this day, we can see the Prana Devaru idol atop the Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy at the Japadakatte.
We can also see the small but beautifully carved idol of Anjaneya
With the descendents of Appanacharya who still show us the holy places and guise us around the Japadakatte and the ruined house of Appanacharya.
Thus, Bichale is one place where we can see the idols consecrated by both Vyasaraja and his next avatara, Raghavendra Swamy. Spend some time in Mantralaya and you can see more than two hundred idols of Hanuman consecrated by Vyasaraja in the districts of Kurnool (where Mantralaya is situated. There are 16 idols of Hanuman), Adoni (55 idols), Penugonda and Anantapur (53 idols), Raichur, Bellary (55), Haveri (10) and Koppal districts.