THE COASTAL TOWN of Barkur I was a flourishing port in the 15th and 16th centuries until its river silted up. Today, the town’s main attractions are its many temples with their typical sloping terracotta-tiled roofs, The largest is the Panchalingeshvara Temple. situated at the southern end of the town. Devotees gather at the stepped tank near the temple for a ritual bath before worshipping at the two east-facing linga shrines. The other temples include one dedicated to both Shiva and Ganesha, and the smaller Someshvara and Somanatheshvara temples.

ENVIRONS: The little hamlet of Mekkekattu, 8 km (5 miles) north of Barkur, is remarkable for its shrine of painted bbuta figures (local spirits). These are copies of the originals, which were removed to New Delhi’s Crafts Museum  and the Folklore Museum in Mysore  after the shrine’s renovation in the 1960s. The vividly painted deity Nandikeshvara, (the winged bull) stands in the lower shrine while his consort, who is flanked by attendants, occupies the upper one. Fierce guardian deities crowd a side chamber.

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