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| Last Updated:: 14/09/2023

Somanatheshwara Cave temple






The Somanatheshwara Cave temple at Nellitheertha is one of the sacred places in Dakshina Kannada district. The main attraction of the temple is the cave. Situated right at the entrance of the temple towards the left of the main door, this huge cave is one of nature’s wonders. The cave is about 300 to 400 meters long and one needs to move slowly on ones knees to reach the inside of the cave. Inside the cave, one can find a beautiful lake and a Shiva Linga. Right behind the Shiva Lingam, a second cave starts off. Not many people have ventured into this second cave till date. The history of the temple dates back to 1487.













Inside the cave, water drops keep dripping down in the shape of gooseberries (amla) to form the lake and hence the name Nelli (Amla) Theertha (holy water). It is believed that Jabali Maharshi (Sage) use to perform penance in the cave to appease Goddess Durga Parameshwari. Goddess Durga Parameshwari appeared before Jabali Maharshi and assured that Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Durga herself would grace the region and that there would be temples to worship all three of them in the locality.



Another unique feature of this cave is that it is closed for nearly 6 months a year. The cave is open only between October and April. There are plenty of animals inside the cave. The cave houses snakes of all varieties, scorpions, porcupines and huge number of bats. Troubling or hurting the animals inside the cave is strictly prohibited.