According to legends, Lord Subramanya, son of Parvathi and Shiva, went to war with the demon tarakaasura. Before he left for the war, Lord Indra and other Gods did an abhisheka to Lord Subramanya on the mount 'Kumara' for his victory. They brought holy waters from the heaven for the abhisheka and this water flowed down the mountain and became the river 'Dhara'. The river is popularly known as 'Kumaradhara'. After killing tarakaasura, Lord Indra prayed to Lord Subrahmanya and offered his daughters hand in marriage to which the Lord agreed.
Another legend says that Vasuki, the king of serpents, did severe penance to please Lord Shiva to save himself from Garuda. Lord Shiva was pleased with Vasuki and promised him that his son Lord Subrahmanya will be with him forever. In this temple Lord Subramanya is worshipped as the Lord of all serpents.
People believe that a curse by a serpent (sarpa dosha) due to their karma in this birth or their previous births is solved by offering sarpa dosha mukti pooja at the Subrahmanya temple. Another popular belief is that incurable diseases like leprosy is cured if a person suffering from such disease rolls over the left-over food of the brahmanas (known as made-snana). People believe that bathing in the kumaradhara gives long life, good health and purifies a person of all his sins.
Ashlesha Bali Pooja & Sarpa Samskara are two important Sarpa Dosha Poojas are done at Kukke Subramanya Temple.
Ashlesha Bali Puja or Aslesha Bali pooja is one of the important Kaalasarpa dosha pujas performed at Kukke Subramanya temple. Lord Subramanya is known as the protector from Kaalasarpa dosha and Kuja dosha. Kukke Sri Kshetra temple is the most popular for Sarpadosha puja. Aslesha Bali puja is performed on Aslesha nakshatra in each month.
Aslesha Bali puja in Kukke Subramaya temple will be performed in two shifts – 7:00 am and 9.15 am. Those who want to perform this puja need to report for sankalpa with Purohita inside the temple either at 7:00 am or 9.15 am. After the completion of Homa Poornahuthi Puja, devotees will get prasadam. Devotees believe Shravana masa, Karthika masa, and Margashira masa are the most auspicious months to perform Aslesha bali puja at Kukke temple.
Sarpa Samskara / Sarpa Dosha
Sarpa Samskara / Sarpa Dosha is one of the poojas performed by devotees at this temple to get rid of the sarpa dosha (according to belief, a person, either in this birth or in any of his previous births, could be afflicted by the sarpa (serpent) dosha (curse) either knowingly or unknowingly, through many ways). Persons who are afflicted with this dosha are advised by astrologers / horoscope writers to perform this pooja for their own wellbeing. Pooja can be done either by the afflicted person himself if he is male and married, or through a priest. This is because the pooja involves rituals similar to those done while performing shrartham (funeral rites). Sarpa Samskara seva devotees are required to be present for two days. The seva is performed during the daytime, with no particular poojas in the evening. Food arrangements will be made for these devotees by the temple devasthanam, for up to four persons per seva.
Due to the widespread belief in the snake god in Tulunad region of Karnataka and Kerala, this pooja is performed by people of all faiths.
Kukke Subrahmanya can be reached by road from Mangalore and from Bangalore. KSRTC operates buses on a daily basis from these two places. The nearest airport is the Mangalore International Airport (Bajpe Airport), at a distance of 115 km. The nearest railway station is Subrahmanya Road (SBHR) Railway Station on Mangalore-Bangalore railway route, which is 7 km from Kukke Subrahmanya. The station is a 15-minute trip to the temple.