|“Shankaranarayana” is considered as one of the seven holy places created by Maharshi Parashurama. This is one of the rare temples where we can see the sangam (confluence) of Shankara (Lord Shiva) and Narayana (Lord Vishnu).
Shankaranarayana village, named after the temple, is located in the valley of mountain ranges close to the Sahyadris. It is located in Udupi District, Karnataka, 25KM from the Arabian Sea.
The 7 holy places namely Subrahmanya, Udupi, Kumbhakaashi, Koteshwara, Shankaranarayana, Kolluru and Gokarna together constitute Parashurama Kshetra. These holy places are compared with seven holy places in Rama Kshetra, namely, Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kashi, Kanchi, Avanthika and Puri.
The main deity of Shankaranarayana Temple is in the form of Udbhava Linga. The naturally formed lingam of Lord Shankara and Lord Narayana is one feet below the ground, inside the Garbhagudi. The devotees can only see the mirror image of the lingam. The Shankara Linga is on the right (left as seen by the devotees) and Narayana Linga on the left. While Shankara Lingam is in round shape, where as Narayana Linga is a flat one with foot prints of holy cow in it. Devotees believe that these were foot prints of Kamadhenu (holy cow) which had stood here for dripping milk on the Shankara Linga. There is water around Udbhava Linga at any time of the year. This holy water is called Suddhamrita Theertha.
Shankaranarayana is also known as Kroda after Kroda Maharshi. In the 24th Chapter of Pushkara Kaanda in Padma Purana, one can find a beautiful description of Krodha Shankaranarayana. According to this, the demons Kharasura and Rattasura were ill-treating common people. Kroda Maharshi meditated Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu together and prayed them come in the form of Lord Shankaranarayana. Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, pleased with the meditation of Krodha Maharshi, came to this place as Shankaranarayana and killed Kharasura and Rattasura. The hill beside the Shankaranarayana Temple, atop which Krodha Maharshi meditated Lord Shankaranarayana, is named as Kroda Giri. The idol of Lord Shankaranarayana along with Godess Gowri and Godess Lakshmi are at the top of Kroda Giri.
Koti theertha is located in front of the temple. Devotees coming to this temple first make prokshana of this theertha and then make darshan of Lord Shankaranarayana. The stone enclosure and the surrounding coconut and arecanut groves enhance the beauty of the pond. The pond has rich spiritual bearing. Rituals such as Pitratarpana and Theerthasnana are held at this pond. Koti theertha stands out as most beautifyl and vast of all the twenty one ponds found around this place.