This question is specific to kukke Subramanya temple present in Dakshina Kannada District of Karnataka (refer : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kukke_Subramanya_Temple).

The main presiding deity is Subramanya i,e, a Shaiva deity. But the governing mutt belongs to Madhwa sampradaya i.e. Vaishnava sampradaya. Does anyone know the reason for this? Just curious to know the real history.

Also, as per temple history, Adi Shankaracharya stayed here during his digvijaya yatra and composed strotra praising the deity. So why not a Shankara mutt in this place? Just curious to know the real history. No question of hurting any faith here.

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    Just for information Adi shankaracharya's aradhya devta was Shriman Narayana and Advita is a Vaishnava philosophy, which is extended to shaivism by later acharyas by using/exploiting the Panchayatan system which includes, Sauras, Ganpatas, Shaivas, Shaktas, and Vaishnavas.So if adi Shankaracharya would have established mutt there they might be vaishnava's as well, and would be later converted to Shaivas.
    – Yogi
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 20:58
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    @Yogi Can you provide me proper references proving that AdiShankaracharya's Aaradhya Devata was Lord Vishnu?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 4:21
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    @TheDestroyer you can read the Bramha Sutra bhasya by adi shankaracharya sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe34/index.htm there are many proofs there itself. To be specific you can read bhaja govindam as it was a spontaneous creation on the banks of Ganges at Kashi, While he saw an old Bramhin teaching Grammer to kids for making his living. The lyrics speak about his devotion towards shriman narayana.
    – Yogi
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 18:36
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    I think its improper to label Adi Shankara as Vaishnava or Shaiva. He proposed advaita which is oneness or beyond all dualities
    – abhishek
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 8:51
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    Hi if u know kannada then there is a book "kukke shri subrahmanya mattu mareyada siddhivinaya devaru" in a fight of sthanika(shaiva)brahmins and madhwas stahanikas lost kukke temple nothing else upto 1845 it was with shaivates then only they took over
    – user6841
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 13:18

3 Answers 3


Kukke subrahmanya temple was older than Adi shankara.. And composed him a hym bhaje kukke lingam.. But after going on madhwacharya converted this shivalli Brahmins in to his dwaitha tradition..and constructed a mutt near temple..


An empty branch of Sringeri Mutt is still there besides samputa Narasimha mutt in kukke subramanya. ( Reference )

Due to Regulating act from East India Company temple administration was transferred from Shiva Brahmins to Madhwa brahmins [Reference (This book written by Madhwa Brahmin)]

For more detail about fate of Shiva Brahmins can refer this Book Tulunadina Itihasadalli

EndNote: From past history we can see that for every 300 to 400 year Temple administration is changed in south canara region from Aboriginals to Jains and different sects of brahmins and now everyone peacefully coexist.


In the book Sri Krishna Temple At Udupi by B.N. Hebbar available for free download here: https://archive.org/details/SriKrsnaTempleAtUdupi/page/n55/mode/2up?q=kukke

the author says, I quote:

// Page n55

During the course of Madhva’s tours within Tujunad in these two decades, he once journeyed to the Kukke-Subrahmanya-ksetra, the second holiest spot in the ParaSurama-ksetra, located on the banks of the Kumaradhara river in the Sulya taluk of Tujuva. Here, he is said to have encountered one Narasimha Tlrtha, the abbot of a Smarta-Bhagavata sampradaya institution, who challenged the acarya to a verbal duel. Madhva is said to have worsted this Bhagavata sampradaya abbot and won the latter’s institution as a booty for emerging victorious in the dialectical encounter. Madhva is then said to have converted that institution into an apostolic center of his own sect which goes by the name Kukke-Subrahmanya Matha today.71 The background and details of this episode (i.e., Madhva’s visit to Kukke-Subrahmanya) are given in Appendix I of this thesis, while narrating the foundation of the Kukke Subrahmanya Matha.// Unquote.

From this one can see that the original character of that Temple was converted by Madhva upon the above episode. Madhva is said to have installed a Saligrama there, thereby making the conversion of the Shaiva/Smarta temple to a Vaishnava sectarian one.

This Saligrama installing there is stated by Wilson too in his 'A sketch of Religious Sects of the Hindus' p. 93:

Quote //It seems not improbable, that the founder of the Mddhwa sect was,originally, a Saiva priest, and, although he became a convert to the Vaishnava faith, he encouraged an attempt to form a kind of compromise or alliance between the Saivas and Vaishnavas. Ma'dhwa was first initiated into the faith of Siva, at Ananteswar, the shrine of a Linga, and one of his names, Ananda Tirt'ha, indicates his belonging to the class of Dasnami Gosains, who were instituted by Sankara'cha'rya ; one of his first acts was to establish a Sdldgram, a type of Vishnu, at the shrine of Subrahmanya, the warrior son of Siva,// unquote.

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