History of Dakshin Kannada District
A harsh dearth once hit Kateel or Kateelu and it did not rain for years. Even Brahmins were forced to eat meat and people were on the verge of giving up their principles. The great Sage Jabali was disturbed by this situation. Jabali wanted to put an end to human sufferings and decided to perform a "yajna" to please the devas.
Jabali requested Devendra to permit him to take Kamadhenu, the holy cow, for the yajna. Devendra asked Jabali to take Kamadhenu's daughter Nandini, instead. Nandini refused to accompany Jabali to Earth, since evil was predominant there. After many arguments, Jabali, in his anger, cursed that she be born as a river on earth. Realizing her mistake, Nandini prayed for mercy.
One day, Goddess Durga appeared in Arunasura's garden as a beautiful woman. Seeing the woman, Arunasura approached her. The beautiful woman reminded him that she had killed Shumbhasura, and from whom, Arunasura had escaped death. Arunasura became angry and tried to kill the woman with a sword.
The Goddess suddenly turned into a stone. Arunasura slashed the stone with the sword, and then a vast swarm of bees emerged from the stone and stung him. The bees (dhumbi) stung him repeatedly till his last breath. Devas led by Jabali performed coronation with tender coconut water and requested the Bhramarambika (Queen of the bees) to bless the world. Goddess Durga then appeared in her 'Soumya Roopa' (calm form) in the middle of the river, where the present structure of the temple imparts its glory to the world.
Meaning of Kateel
In Samskrutam language, 'Kati' means 'centre' midway between the 'Kanakagiri' the place where the river was born, and the end, Pavanje, where the river joins the sea and 'Ila' means area (land). Thus, the place is called Kateel.