Ancient Temples Bangalore, Karnataka
Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, is one of the major pilgrimage destinations of the country. The temples in Bangalore are symbols of the India's rich culture, heritage and history. These religious structures with their stone pillars, ornately carved walls, beautiful statues and magnificent gateways have emerged as popular tourist attractions of the city.
Bull Temple, Basavanagudi
A temple built in the Dravidian style by Kempe Gowda, founder of Bangalore, it has a monolithic bull, made of gray granite which is 4.5 mts high and 6.5 mts long. The Nandi bull is revered as the 'vahana' (vehicle) of Lord Shiva. The temple was supposedly built to appease a bull that devoured all the groundnuts/peanuts grown in the area. The bull stopped inflicting damage and the thankful farmers held a Groundnut Fair (Kadalekai Parase) near the temple premises which continues even to this day! The monolithic Nandi bull is . One can also visit one of Kempe Gowda's four towers situated near the temple.
Banashankari Temple, Kanakapura Road
The uniqueness of Sri Banashankari Amma Temple is that the deity, Banashankari Amma is worshipped in Rahukala, an inauspicious time according to Hindu belief. The area, Banashankari is named after the goddess. Situated on the busy Kanakapura Road, it is one of the most popular temples of Bangalore. Devotees believe that by worshipping the goddess Banashankari Amma in Rahukala one's hardships and poverty will be removed.
Considering the large number of devotees who come to the temple, the Government of Karnataka has taken it into the purview of the Endowment Department. Though the temple is opened to devotees everyday, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays are special days when thousands of devotees throng to the temple from dawn to dusk to offer special Pujas. The goddess is worshipped with deeparaadhane by lighting multiple oil lamps in half cut lemon peels with the pulp removed.
The temple was built in 1915 by a devotee, Somanna Shetty who installed a deity of Banashankari Amma brought all the way from Badami in Bijapur district.
There are three big cultural ceremonies that are held annually at the temple. The first one on September 13 every year celebrates the birthday of Banashankari Amma. The temple also conducts the Dasara Festival in October and the temple anniversary in Pushya Maasa, which falls either in the end of December or in the first week of January.
Kadu Mallikarjunaswamy Temple, Malleshwaram
Built in one of the oldest areas in Bangalore - Malleswaram, the temple is on a hillock. As the legend goes, the temple belonged to Chatrapati Shivaji's stepbrother Venkoji, who came upon a 'shivalingam' in 1669 and consecrated the temple around it.
Dodda Ganesha Temple, Basavanagudi
The monolithic Ganesha is about 18 ft in height and 16 ft in width. The God is also known as Shakthi Ganapathi or Satya Ganapathi. People from all walks of life come here to seek blessings. What makes this idol more attractive to the devotees is, the different types of decorations that are done during the week. The most famous is the butter coating of the idol. More than 100 kgs of butter is used for this purpose.
Shiva Statue, Airport Road
The Shiva Temple, located on Airport Road, is seated Shiva in the Himalayas, built in the year 1995. Shiva's idol is a great crowd puller due to its grandeur, aesthetic values, scenic beauty and majestic look. During festivals it draws nearly four to five lakhs of devotees in a day. Puja seva (service) is free of cost for everyoneIt boasts of Awesome 65 feet high depiction of Lord Shiva seated in Lotus position. It has the backdrop of Mount Kailash the Lord's heavenly abode and the river Ganga flowing from his matted locks as depicted in the mytholog.
Gavi Gangadareshwara Temple
This temple, also located near Basavanagudi, is well known for its remarkable architecture. The Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple is one of the oldest temples in Bangalore. Legend has it that the cave temple dates back to the Tretha Yuga. Kempegowda built two of the oldest temples in Bangalore: the Bull temple and the Gavi Gangadareshwara Temple. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi is inside a natural cave in Gavipuram. Legend has it that Kempegowda built this temple in gratitude after being released from his five-year imprisonment by Rama Raya. Devotees gather here on Makara Sankaranti day when it is believed that at a particular moment in the evening the sun's rays fall directly on the linga inside the cave, passing between Nandi's horns.
The temple, which roughly covers an area of 300 ft by 200 ft, was renovated during the period of the local chieftain Kempegowda, who is also known as the founder of Bangalore. This dates the temple back to nearly 500 years. The 14-pillared Mantap of the temple has elements of the Vijayanagar style of architecture.
The trishula dhamaruga (a drum attached to a trident), two monolithic pillars called Suryapana and Chandrapana, the towers on the rock outside the temple and a stone wall on the adjoining Harihararaya Gudda were all said to be installed during the Kempegowda period. The most interesting feature of this temple is said to be the two paths inside the cave. It is believed that while one path leads to temple town Shivaganga in Tumkur district, another path leads to Kashi. Apart from the idol of Eshwara with the river Ganga springing from his head, there are also Durga and Parvathi temples inside the cave. If one circumvents these, one can see Sapthamathruke, Sridevi and Bhoodevi idols.
Apart from these idols, there is also the idol of Agnimurthi, which comprises two heads, seven hands and three legs. It is believed that worshipping this deity will cure one of all eye defects. The priest points out that hundreds visit the temple to find an answer to their problems. Mondays see a huge turnout of devotees, he adds. Apart from that, the Shudda Pournami day in February is also a special day at the temple. A car festival is also held during that time.
The temple blends in beautifully with the entire area, which also has a feel of old-world simplicity to it - a little Bangalore away from the fancy and footloose City that we all know of. The well-lit park that adjoins the temple, with fountains et al, is probably the only 'modern' element in the vicinity.
The temple is open from 7.30 am to 12.00 pm and again from 5 pm to 8.30 pm.
Located in Nagarathpet, this temple has two exceptionally fine images of Lord Krishna and Dharmaraja - hero of the epic 'Mahabharata'. The temple is also well known for the annual Karaga festival.
The Karaga festival - a form of Shakti worship, is celebrated during March/April of every year. The Karaga procession starts from the Dharmaraya temple at Nagarthpet at about 2 am.
Iskcon Temple, West of Chord Road
Sri Radha Krishna temple and cultural complex, which is an architectural masterpiece is set on a seven-acre hillock called the 'Hare Krishna Hill'. This is ISKCON's global project to commemorate the birth centennial of its founder Sri Prabhupada. Built in the Neo-Classical style, it combines traditional elements of temple architecture with high-tech utilities. Ornamental arches and illuminated water cascades lead to an elaborately decorated Rajagopuram. There is a unique open air amphitheatre for concerts and festivals.The four temple 'gopurams' are connected by a stunning glazed glass canopy which forms the main 'Hari Naam Kirtan' - a hall of 10,000 square feet. The hall has wonderful ceiling paintings. There are also Vedic museums and exhibit areas, a lecture hall with multiple language translation system and landscaped gardens. The main attraction is ISKCON Vedic Theatre, where a multimedia Vedic film is shown.
Prasanna Veeranjaneya Temple, Mahalaxmi Layout
The uniqueness of the Prasanna Veeranjaneya temple, apart from the 22-foot-high deity of Veeranjaneya, is its peaceful atmosphere. The cool breeze and surrounding greenery, coupled with an aura of mysticism, bring solace to devotees visiting the temple.
Sugreeva Venkateshwara Temple
Located in Balepet area, this temple houses idols of Sugreeva and Venkateshwara. The inner shrine of the temple has an idol of Lord Venkateshwara placed on a pedestal. The Sugreeva idol, which is about six feet in height and appears like Hanuman. The long teeth on either side of the mouth are the only thing which differentiates it from Hanuman.
Kanyakaparameshwari Temple, Kumarapark
Apart from the Goddess which is a popular among the devotees in and around Malleshwaram, the Temple has a fascinating feature - Marble Mandira, murals of holy places and Darpana Mandira (Mirror Mandir) depicting Rishis, Bhagawada Gita and Vasavi history.
Is a small temple with some interesting carvings, built by Chikkadevaraj Wodeyar. There are figures of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva on the walls and an idol of Venkatarama in the sanctorum. After Lord Cornwall's assault, in 1791, the original pillar had to be replaced as it was hit by a cannon ball. Built in typical Dravidian style, this temple has survived through the reign of Chikkadevaraj Wodeyar, Sultan Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan.