There have been several articles on Bichale and its holiness and its close association with Rayaru or Raghavendra Swamy.
Raghavendra Swamy is believed to have stayed on in the house of Appanacharya in Bichale for no less than 13 years. Since Raghavendra Swamy entered Brindavana in Mantralaya on August 8, 1671, we could presume that Raghavendra Swamy came to Bichale sometime around 1657-58.
It was at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu that Rayaru decided to leave for Manchale, now in Andhra Pradesh, and when he makes this decision known to the people of Kumbokanam, Matha officials and devotees, there is an outpouring of grief and pain. The people cannot comprehend how they can continue with their lives without Rayaru in their midst.
When Rayaru comes to Bichale, he is immediately struck by the holiness of the area and the peace and tranquility that the place exudes. The Gurukula that Appanacharya ran so efficiently also draws Rayaru’s admiration.
Soon, Appanacharya and Rayaru become close friends and Rayaru stays on in Appanacharya’s house for 13 years. Both Rayaru and Appanacharya interact regularly and Appanacharya himself cooks food for Rayaru every day.
Even today, the grinding stone and pestle used by Appanacharya to cook food for Rayaru can be seen at Bichale. After Rayaru and Appanacharya had their noon meals, both of them walked across the Tungabhadra and sat on a rocky outcrop where they would discuss all matters-be it religion, philosophy, the glory and greatness of Hari and all other topics of interest.
Today, this outcrops is marked by a saffron flag and this flag is believed to be the precise place where Rayaru sat. This place is just across the Japada Katte in Bichale and it is in the midst of the Tungabhadra.
Getting to the place, that is the rocky outcrop, during rainy season and winter can be dangerous. The waters of the Tungabhadra here are rather more deep and forceful than at Mantralaya. So if you want to head to the outcrops, which is nothing but a small island of sand, rocks and boulders, consult the archakas at the Japadakatte and the descendents of Appanacharya who will guide you to the many holy spots in the Japada katte, including the Narasimha Devaru consecrated by Sripadaraja of Mulabagal, the Rudra Devaru consecrated by Jitamitra Theertha, the successor of Vibhudendre Theertha and a pioneer of Sri Matha, Hanuman installed by Vyasa Raja and also a Hanuman installed by Raghavendra Swamy.
The best time to visit Bichale is when the water level is low and this is invariably during summer. The rest of the time, the water of the Tungabhadra can be deep and there are many currents in Mantralaya and Bichale. So beware, if you want to wade across the Tungabhadra or swim. Exercise caution and keep away children and aged persons from deep waters.
Bichale is in Karnataka and it is just across Mantralaya. Today, the road to Bichale is being repaired and you have to take a deviation to reach the place. The roads are in pretty bad shape and, therefore, the best way to visit Bichale and Gandhal where the Panchamukhi Anjeneya temple is situated is by taking shared taxis or metador from Mantralaya or even Raichur.
Carry your own food and water to both Bichale and Gandhal. In case, you want to give for any seve or you expect Theertha Prasada at Bichale, please call the organisers so that they can have adequate time to prepare.