– By Dr. A Pranesh
Ambalapadi Mahakali temple is 3 kms from Udupi and 65 kms from Mangalore, Karnataka. There is a Janardhana (Krishna) temple in the same complex. It is an ancient temple dating back to 16th century AD.
The temple complex has two sections. One is dedicated to Janardhana built in old Kerala style of temple architecture. Whereas the section dedicated to Mahakali is based on modern temple architecture. Idol of Janardhana is small but very beautiful
Kali idol is fierce and has a protruding tongue. The devotees are advised to view the image of deity in the mirror first and then see the original Maa kali. As per the legend Mahakali came to this place to protect land and the people there, hence the name Ambalapadi, which was originally called Ammana padi meaning woods of mother. Initially Mother goddess was worshipped in the form of a stone, but later a wooden idol was made and even now both stone and the wooden idols are worshipped.
The passage of circling has small idols of Saraswati Durga, Kumari Durga etc.
The pillars also have idols of various goddesses.
The presiding deity Janardhana is believed to have come in search of Maa Kali and decided to stay here along with Kali. Both kali and Krishna presiding in a same temple is rare and probably found only here.