The Vanishing Sandals of Chenna Kesava Temple

The curious case of missing footwear in a revered temple in Karnataka
The Vanishing Sandals of Chenna Kesava Temple
The Vanishing Sandals of Chenna Kesava Temple

One of the legends associated with the Chenna Kesava Temple asserts that it was built by King Vishnuvardhana, after he spent a night at the Baba Budan forest. Here, the lord appeared in his dream. This temple, duly dedicated to Chenna Kesava, was built at Belur. What the king did not know was that he had unwittingly separated the lord from his consort living on the Baba Budan Giri. So, every time the lord wishes to see her he has to make along trip to the hills.

The root of this myth lies in the local belief of vanishing sandals. Apparently, every pair of sandals ever presented to the lord at the altar has disappeared Therefore, everyday, the local cobbler community donates a fresh pair of sandals to the lord. Be that as it may, the temple of Chenna Kesava holds the distinction of having its doors open to the so-called lower castes since the 12th century, when the temple was built.

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