One can see a temple dedicated to Goddess Yellamma also known as Goddess Renuka here in Saundatti. This goddess is the consort of the mythical sage Sri Jamadagni and mother of Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This temple acts like the sacred crown of the beautiful hill. It is about 8 km from Saundatti.
As per the legends, it is said that a part of the corpse of Sati fell in Saundatti when Lord Vishnu severed it by his Chakra or the 'Holy Wheel'. All age group of devotees here follows a strange sacred ritual. They need to bathe naked in the holy waters of the Kunda or tank known as 'Yogarbavi Satyamma Kunda'. This tank is at the lower part of the hill. This bathe is taken as part of a sequence of rites during a festival, before wearing new clothes and going for worship.
There are various customs, which are followed in Saundatti. 'Nimmana' is the custom of performing clockwise respectful circumambulation in the 'Sathyamma' temple. This is done by carefully holding sacred neem leaves in their mouths. The other convention is known as the 'Devadasi Custom' and as per these girls is given in marriage to none other than the Almighty God. The term 'Deva' stands for God and 'Dasi' for 'Servant Maid' and thus 'Devadasis' means women who have dedicated themselves totally to the service of God. Earlier, there was a faith that the parents who give their daughters in marriage to God take another step towards the ultimate salvation.
There are three sacred tanks known as Kumkum Kundam, Yoni Kundam and Arishan Kundam behind the temple. Here, the devotees take holy dips and perform Puja. The holy water of Yoni Kundam is sold in sealed containers. 'Mogal Bhavi' is another sacred well in close proximity. The holy waters of it are believed to cure skin diseases. There is a sacred ground known as the 'Parasurama Kshetra' near the temple. It is believed that Lord Parasurama meditated here in this place at Saundatti. There is also an 18th century fort built by Sirasangi Desai.
Some other wonderful monuments in Saundatti include the beautifully sculptured, sacred reliefs of Lord Ankeswara, Lord Venkateswara, Lord Mallikarjuna, Lord Puradeswara and Lord Virabhadra. Two small Jain Bastis of the Ratta era can also be seen here. The river Malaprabha graces the outskirts of the city. A wonderful hill fort stands about 2 km from Saundatti, which was expanded by Chatrapathi Shivaji.
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