Idugunji is a small place in Honnavara of Uttar Kannada district which has the famous Vinayaka temple. Idugunji Kshetra is about 65 Km from the Mahabaleshwara temple in Gokarna. ‘Ida’ means elephant and ‘Kunja’ means forest. The name is believed to have been derived from this phrase.
Idugunji Kshetra is famous for the central icon, Lord Ganapati. The Ganapati temple at Idugunji dates to 4-5th century CE. The image of Ganesha in ‘Dvibhuja’ (two armed) style, similar to that of the Gokarna Ganesha temple, nearby Idugunji. He has two arms and is standing on a stone. He holds a lotus bud in right hand and he holds a modak sweet in the left hand. He wears a garland across the chest in the style of a ‘Yagnopavita’ (sacred thread). Ganesha is adorned with a necklace of small bells.
Legend of Idugunji:
Idugunji has been known as a Kshetra since Dwapara Yuga. Sages started performing austerities and prayers seeking Lord Krishna’s help to overcome all impediments of Kali Yuga. Every one feared the advent of Kali Yuga, as Lord Krishna was to leave for his divine abode at the end of Dwapara Yuga. Sages led by ‘Valakhilyas’ started rituals. During this period, they encountered many obstacles in performing the sacrifice. Therefore, sages sought the advice of the divine sage Narada.
He advised Valakhilyas to seek the blessings of Ganesha – the remover of obstacles – before restarting the sacrifice. Sage Narada selected a site on the banks of the River Sharavathi, at Kunjavana or Kunjaranya, seeking Lord Ganesha’s intervention.
The rites were performed and hymns recited extolling Ganesha. Pleased by their devotion, Ganesha consented to remain at the site of homa to help them conduct the rituals without any trouble.
A number of homas and Pujas take place every-day in Idugunji Kshetra. Devotees from far and wide visit here seeking solutions.