Nellitheertha Cave Temple in Nellitheertha, Karnataka, India is dedicated to the Indian deity Sri Somanatheshwara, or Shiva. The temple dates back to at least 1487 CE. To the right of the temple is a natural cave, about 200 metres (660 ft) long. Access is restricted, forcing visitors to crawl in on their knees. Inside, there is a lake and a Shiva Lingam.
It is believed that the cave in Nellitheertha was used by Sage Jabali to perform a penance to appease Lord Durga Parameshwari. Lord Durga appeared in front of Sage Jabali and assured him that she would kill the demon Arunasura. She later took the shape of a wasp and killed Arunasura on the banks of the river Nandini. At that place today is a beautiful temple of Lord Durgaparameshwari and the place is very well known as Kateel.
Lord Durga also assured Sage Jabali that Shiva, Vishnu and Durga herself would grace that region and that there would be temples to worship all three of them in the vicinity. One can find a Vishnu temple near Nellitheertha at a place called Kompadavu. Lord Durga is worshipped in a place called Muchur, again near Nellitheertha. And Lord Shiva made Nellitheertha his abode.
There are several routes to reach Nellitheertha.
From Mangalore, take the route towards Moodabidri. Travel beyond Gurupura, Kaikamba and reach Yedapadavu. Here, take a deviation towards Muchur. Nellitheertha is 8 km away from Yedapadavu.
Reach Bajpe from Mangalore and take the route to Kathelsaar. Continue on the same road to reach Nellitheertha.
Reach Kateel from Mangalore. Nellitheertha is about 5 km away from Kateel.
While driving from Bangalore, one can take a deviation at B C Road and go through Polali and Kaikamba and reach Nellitheertha. This avoids having to travel through Mangalore.
While driving from Bangalore, one can take a deviation at B C Road and go through Kuppepadavu, Yedapadavu and reach Nellitheertha. This also avoids having to travel through Mangalore.