Padi Igguthappa Temple – Presiding Deity Of Coorg


Padi Igguthappa Temple, dedicated to Igguthappa is the most important deity of Kodavas and Kul Devta of the Kodagu or Coorg. In ancient times, he was probably the God of rain and crop. The crop being the basis of the survival of humans and rain being the survival of crops makes sense. The first crop of Paddy is still offered to the Lord every year at this temple by the local farmers. After this, the harvest festival called Puttari officially begins in the Coorg region.

Igguthappa Temple Woodwork
The woodwork of the temple

Igguthappa Temple, Madikeri

Old photo of the temple
Old photo of the temple


The story goes that he is the 4th sibling of the 7 celestial siblings who landed on the Malabar coast in a conch shell. They were 6 brothers and one sister. The three elder brothers chose a village for each one in Kerala and settled there. The 4 younger siblings crossed the western ghats to reach the region of Coorg.

The siblings lived on this land like all siblings do – fighting and living together. The eldest brother of these – Igguthappa decided to stay here and provide the people of Kodagu with rain and rice. Others moved on to other regions.

You can read the full story here.


Igguthappa Temple complex
View of the complex

The main deity at Padi Iguthappa temple is Subramanya or Karthik, a son of Shiva and Kaveri Amman, considered an avatar of Gauri. Temple houses the Murtis of both Shiva and Igguthappa. In this region, the river Kaveri is Kaveri Amma, the omnipresent deity of Coorg and its people.

Photo of Igguthappa Temple Deity
Photo of the deity

The priest of the temple spoke to me as he cooked lunch for the devotees. He said this is a hundred years old temple and was built by King Veer Rajaraja. Recently, it has been renovated by the people of Coorg who pooled in crores of rupees for the renovation.

According to him, Igguthappa is the local name of Kartikeya, the son of Shiva. It literally means the God who gives food. People here believe that once upon a time he lived in Coorg in human form. He directed them to offer him rice. Since then Puttari harvest festival is celebrated in Coorg.

Harvest Festival of Puttari

Puttari typically falls in mid-December when the Sun is in Rohini Nakshatra. Igguthappa Bhagwan is taken out in a procession – he is bathed and adorned with Shringar, and entertained with music and dance before being brought back home to the temple. It looks like an annual outing of the lord. Once the deity is back in the temple, 9 types of Shiv Tandav Nritya or 9 forms of Shiva’s celestial dance are performed. After that, an elaborate Pooja is offered to the deity. And then Anna-Daan is done or the food is donated.

This is also the Tulabhar that is donating grains worth your weight. Remember I spoke about it in my post on Dwarka.

Pujari Ji said he himself or his family members perform the Tandav Nritya. They have taken elaborate training for the same.

A Tulabhar is done every Wednesday and Saturday in the temple.

He also told us that people come here to pray for rain, in case the rains do not come as expected. He, in fact, quoted an example of an official of Tata Coffee who also came here to pray the year rains were not good. It seems within hours of performing the puja the rain gods obliged.

Childless couples also come here and Pujari Ji said he has seen as many as 600 couples blessed with a child after offering Puja at Padi Igguthappa Temple.

As he spoke to us, he kept cooking the meals for the devotees. We got to taste the snacks and pineapple halwa along with a hot cup of Chai.

Visiting Igguthappa Temple

Located just about 10 Km from Madikeri city in the town of Kakkabe, it is easily reachable by road. You take a ramp-up to the temple where you can sit and look around for the lovely views of the lush green valleys of Coorg.

Naga Idol at the entrance of Temple
Naga Idol at the entrance of Temple

It is a small temple but a very well-maintained one on a hillock. As we walked up to the temple I could see a lot of Naga Sculptures under the trees. They all had signs of being worshipped. Most of them wore fresh flowers. A group of larger Naga stones had a lamp burning in front of them. Naga is a very prominent sign in all of this region. It reminded me of the Tharu tribals of Nepal, who also have a coiled Naga figure outside all their homes.

Bangles on display at Temple entrance
Bangles on display at the temple entrance

A bangle seller was selling glass bangles. I could not gather if it was for the devotees or was meant to be offered to the deity.

The architecture of the Igguthappa Temple

The current structure is less than 10-year-old and it shows. It is a stone temple with a slating wooden roof like the one we associate with Kerala Temples. The ceiling on the side of the entrance is beautifully carved with metal adornments. I could see the elephant motifs on either side.

A Kodava scene depicted
A Kodava scene depicted

As a visitor, you are not allowed to enter the temple, so you have to see the deity decked with flowers only from a distance. The main door is covered in silver with many legends and symbols of Kodagu engraved in it.

Worshipping Tree
Worshipping Tree

The outer walls of the temple are adorned with stone slabs telling the tales of Kodavas. There are scenes of worship, Tulabhar, martial arts, festivals, music, and dances.

Traditional Kodava Men scene
Traditional Kodava Men scene

Witness the Living Kodagu Culture

The best part of visiting the temple was witnessing the living culture of Kodavas. I saw women in their Coorgi Saris that is like wearing the normal Sari’s front side on the back. I saw rows of women sitting on the temple parapet wearing colorful Saris in their own special way. It was interesting to see the Saris worn the other way around.

Kodava Ladies traditional scene
Kodava Ladies’ traditional scene

I was the only one not wearing a Sari and that attracted a lot of unapproving eyes. The food cooked by the Pujari family was being served. We did not stay for lunch as we had a long day planned but we saw many families lining up to eat there.

Artwork on the walls of Igguthappa Temple depicting Kodava culture
The artwork on the walls depicts the Kodava culture

Travel Tips

  • Temple is open from morning until about noon and then in the evening for a few hours. You would need to check the exact time locally.
  • No Photography is allowed inside the temple.
  • Anyone visiting the temple can have food there.
  • You are not allowed to enter the temple. In general, dress appropriately for the temple.


  1. Excellent article as always. I visited Kakkabe many times and I consider it my second home. I visited the Iguthappa Temple as well, since the Homestay owner insisted and said “The Kodavas worship Nature”. This was truly intriguing for me. However one small change I would request you to make in your article. The distance between Madikeri and the Temple is not 10 kms. It is about 30-32 kms.

    • Thanks, Arvind for pointing out the typo error, correcting it. Igguthappa is representative of Indian Culture that is very unique to a place and yet woven in the grander fabric of Indic thought.

  2. Hey, Thanks for sharing your knowledge regarding temples in Coorg. The history that you’ve stated is quite accurate and detailed. Appreciate that for sure.

    I also want to share my experience regarding traveling to Coorg. Recently I visited there. It is indeed a beautiful place. There are many homestays there for the perfect vacation.

  3. Lot of improvements seen in the te
    mple premises.
    All the surrounding areas are kept clean and also well maintained .
    I want to donate some amount to
    The baktha jana sangha of the temple
    by online or bank transfer. May I know
    how can I do it.


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