Basrur, a historical town in Kundapura taluka of Karnataka’s coastal Udupi district, on the banks of Varahi river, was the vibrant harbour and centre of trade. Though, the town lost significance as a trade centre now, it is the home to over 40 spiritual sites of all religions.
Like others, the town is spiritual centre for the GSB community. Shri Mahalasa Narayani temple, a holy destination for the GSB community, is situated in this historical town. Being a centuries-old temple, it was visited by the Swamijis (pontiffs) of all Maths, including Kashi Samsthana and Gokarna Parthagali Matt.
The history says that the spirit for the Mahalasa temple was derived from its Moolasthana, i.e. Shri Mahalasa at Mardol in Goa.
Popular legend says that in the historic past, Vasuchakravarti, the ruler of this area, had his HQ at Basrur. It is a common belief that Vasupura became known as Basrur. There still exists the remains of an old fort with a moat all around and a mud wall surrounding it.
The river port at Basrur used to attract the Dutch, Portuguese and British initially for promoting their business, but later they continued their stay for political occupation. In the 16th century AD, Basrur was within the sovereignty of Vijayanagara Kingdom and after its fall under Keladi (Nagar) Nayaks.
In 1665, the noble Maratha warrior-king and Hindu Hriday Samrat, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, raided Basrur port at Mandikeri. The temple is located at the entrance to the port. Shivaji attacked the Dutch naval and merchant boats and ransacked them.
Being a devout Hindu, some say it is quite possible that Chhatrapati Shivaji paid his obeisances to Mother Mahalasa either before or soon after the raid on the Dutch ships. However, presently there are no records available to confirm the same.
Available records about Shivaji’s Basrur raid as a whole are also very sketchy.
The temple was renovated a few years back. The temple now adorns a new look with its magnificent 49-feet structure with a 3000 sq. ft main tower. The temple architecture attracts the devotees as various puranas and stories have been carved in the tower. The craft work on the windows, doors of the temples are worth seeing.