Kukke Subrahmanya is a Hindu temple located amidst hills of western ghats , small, rural village of Subramanya in the Sullia taluk of Karnataka, and is about 100 km. far from the Mangalore city. In the past the Subramanya used to be recognized as Kukke Pattana. This temple is one of the pristine pilgrimage locations in India. Here the God - Lord Subrahmanya is worshipped for his divine power as a divine serpent. The epics relate that the divine serpent Vasuki and other serpents found safety under Lord Subrahmanya when aprehended by Garuda.
Kukke Subrahmanya is situated on the banks of river Dhara, which originates in the Kumara Parvatha (mountain) and proceeds towards western sea. It is also called as 'Kumaradhara River'.The Subrahmanya temple is situated in the heart of this village.
According to Hindu Mythology :
Lord Kumaraswamy came to this place after killing the demon rulers Taraka, Shoorapadmasura and others in a war; and Lord washed his Shakti Ayudha (a battle-axe in the shape of a bayonet) in this river. From this onwards the river is famous as Kumaradhara. After his battle with the demons Lord Kumaraswamy came to the top of Kumara Parvatha along with his brothers Lord Ganesha, Veerabahu and other aides. He was received by Lord Indra along with other Gods; pleased by the success of the war Indra prayed the Lord to be kind enough to marry his daughter Devasena. This was agreed upon courteously and the marriage took place on the banks of Kumaradhara on 'Margashira Shudda Shashti'. Lord Kumaraswamy also gave darshan to Vasuki the head of nagas, who was making a penance here.Vasuki prayed to the Lord to stay along with him permanently at this place and the Lord granted him this boon. From that time it is believed that the Lord has made his spiritual presence in this shrine along with his wife Devasena and Vasuki.
Pilgrims going to the Temple have to cross the Kumaradhara River, taking a holy bath in it before they go on to the temple to have darshan. The devotees enter the courtyard from behind and walk around to go before the idol. There is Garuda pillar covered with silver between the sanctuary and the portico entrance. It is believed that the pillar was charmed and planted there to shield the devotees from the poison flames streaming from the breath of Vasuki who resides inside. Devotees circle the pillar. Beyond the pillar is the outer hall and then the inner hall and after that the sanctuary of Sri Subrahmanya. In the center of sanctuary is a pedestal. On the upper dais stands the idol of Sri Subrahmanya and then the idol of Vasuki and somewhat lower the idol of Shesha. Devotions to these deities take place daily.
Legend of Subrahmanya swamy:
The Skanda purana narrates that Lord shiva was married to Dakshayini (also known as Sati), the daughter of Daksha. Daksha never liked Shiva and insults Shiva in front of Dakshayini in a Yagna. Unable to bear this insult, Sati immolated herself. Shiva unleashed his fury at the death of his wife by performing the Taandav Nrithya (a violent dance). He wiped out Daksha's kingdom, undertook penance and retired to the Himalayas.Tarakasura, the demon king believes that, since Shiva was an ascetic and his earlier marriage was itself conducted with great difficulty, his remarriage was out of the question, hence his boon of being killed by Shiva's son alone would give him invincibility.The same Sati was reborn in the house of Himalaya as Parvathi (daughter of parvatha) and performed a great penance to propitiate Shiva. But lord Shiva was in a rigorous penance and even the immaculate beauty of Parvathi cannot wake up Shiva from his penance. Devas devised a plan to wake up Shiva and approached Manmatha, the god of love to execute their plan. All gods arrived to the place where Shiva is performing penance, Parvathi too arrived.Manmatha awakened Shiva from his penance, incurring his wrath by opening his third eye of destruction, and being destroyed & resurrected. Lord Shiva married Parvathi, after Parvathi pleased Shiva by performing severe penance.Though divine being free from the cycle of birth, the newly wedded couple spent a thousand divine years in marital bliss, unaware of the desire of the gods. Then all gods sent the Agni (fire god) who appeared as a dove in the bed chamber of Lord Shiva. Realizing his reason Lord Shiva gave him a part of his energy. Finding the charge intolerable, Agni deva gave it in turn to Ganga who too felt its burning effects soon and she places it on a bamboo shrub. The nucleus thus placed, took a form of male baby (Gangeya) with six faces, thus the baby is called 'Shanmukha'. Shanmukha was first spotted and cared (by feeding him) by six women (Kruthikeyaru), thus Shamukha is called as Karthikeya. As he was born in forest (vana) on reeds (Shara), so he is also called as 'Sharavanabhava'. Lord Shiva and Parvathi takes Karthikeya to devaloka called him by the following names according to the incidents of his baby hood: Shanmuka, Agneya, Gangasuta (son of Ganga), Sharavanabhava, Karthikeya and Parvathinandana (son of Parvathi).Karthikeya was taught archery and Goddess Parvathi presented him with a weapon, thus Karthikeya also called as Velayudha. He was made as Devasenapati (lord of army of devas). Karthikeya destroys Tarakasura. As this youthful saviour he is called Kumara swamy.
Sarpa Samskara / Sarpa Dosha :
Sarpa Samskara/Sarpa Dosha is one of the poojas performed at this temple by devotees to get rid of the sarpa dosha (according to belief, a person either in this birth or any of his previous births can be afflicted by the sarpa (serpent) dosha (curse) either knowingly or un-knowingly through many ways). Persons who are afflicted with this dosha are advised by the astrologers /horoscope writers to perform this pooja for their well being. Pooja can be done either by the person afflicted if he is a male and married, or through a priest. This is because the pooja involves rituals similar to the ones done in performing shrartham (death rites). Sarpa Samskara seva devotees are required to stay for two days. The seva occurs in the day time with no particular poojas in the evening. Food arrangements will be provided to the said devotees by the temple devastanam, for four persons only per seva . Due to the wide belief in the snake god in the coastal regions of Karnataka and Kerala, this pooja is performed by people from all faiths.
Source : wikipedia & http://www.karnatakavision.com/kukke-subrahmanya-temple.php
(Thanks Padma for collecting points to this topic)