Sunday 28 October 2012

The ancient temples of bangalore

Bangalore perhaps is the most cosmopolitan city in India and it has people from almost all the states in the country, so much so that Kannadigaes are in a minority.
The secular character of Bangalore can be gauged from the fact that Bangalore has more than a thousand temples, 100 churches, 40 Jain temples and religious institutions, three Gurudwaras, two Buddhists Viharas or monasteries and two Parsi temples.
The population of the city has touched 85 lakhs and people keep on pouring into the City. The number of religious institutions also seems to be increasing every day and new places of worship are being built in almost all the localities. The members of the Jewish   community are planning to set up their place of worship.
The 2001 census report says almost 74 per cent of Bangalore’s population are Hindus,13 per cent Muslims, 5.7 per cent are Christians and 1 per cent Jains.
In this article, I will try to trace some of the temples of Bangalore.
The oldest temple in Bangalore is believed to be the Chokanatha Temple dedicated to Vishnu. It is in Domlur and was built by Raja Raja Chola. So that makes this structure more than a thousand year old.
The temple was renovated 25 years ago. Raja Raja constructed the temple after he conquered Yelahanka.  The ten avatars of Vishnu, called the Dashavatara, are sculpted on the temple pillars. There are inscriptions in the temple going back to the Cholas. Domlur is  referred to as Tombaluru.
The smaller idols of  Sridevi and Bhoodevi are placed alongside the main idol of Vishnu.
There is an Anjaneya Temple nearby which is worth a visit.
Another old temple is the Someshwara Temple at Ulsoor.  The temple is near the MEG Centre and in recent years has become very famous.
It was built around the 12th century and it was renovated by the Yelahanka Nada Prabhus.  Legend says that Kempe Gowda found treasure on the spot and built this temple after the deity of Someshwara came in his dream.
The Gavi Gangadheshwara Temple is a marvel in temple architecture built by Kempe Gowda. Located in Gavipuram Guttahalli, behind Ramakrishna Ashrama  (off Bull Temple road), it houses a beautiful linga carved of granite.
There is an idol dedicated to Agni, the god of fire. This is one of the oldest cave temples in Bangalore and it houses several other idols. The cave, according to Hindu mythology, dates back to the Trehta Yuga.
There are two tunnels  in the cave, both of which are blocked. One of them is supposed to lead to Shivagange , which is 60 kms from Bangalore and another to Kashi, which is more than a 1,000 kms away.
The Bull Temple is supposed to have been built by Kempe Gowda in 1537. The Bull or the Nandi is one of the biggest of its kind in India. The Dodda Ganesha and Shiva Temples are situated nearby.
The Kadu Malleswarama temple in Malleswara has a link with the Maratha Emperor Shivaji.  The temple originally belonged to Shivaji’s step brother Venkoji.
Venkoji came across a Shivalinga buried in mud and he constructed this temple in 1669.
The temple of Shiva at Begur, just a few minutes from the Central Silk Board on the Bangalore-Hosur Road, dates back to 1000 AD. This temple is very important as the first mention of Bangalore is found in an inscription here
The Kote Venkataramanaswamy Temple was built more than 300 years ago by Chikkadevaraya Wdoeyar. It is adjoining the summer palace of Tipu.  The Garuda Sthamba has a small  depression. This happened during the fourth Mysore War between Tipu Sultan and the British, A cannon fired by the British hot the Garuda Sthamba.
The Gali Anjaneya Temple on Mysore Road is believed to have been consecrated by Vyasa Theertha. It is at the confluence of two rivers but today the rivers are full of sewage. The oldest Hanuman temple is in Yelahanka.Other temples dedicated to Hanuman are near the Bangalore Fort, in front of Minto Eye Hospital and  JP Nagar 3rd Phase.
A beautiful temple to Ranganathaswamy is located off Avenue Road. It was built during the 16th century and is in the Vijayanagar style. The temple is adorned with carved granite pillars. It is on Ranganathaswamy Street.
There is a temple dedicated to Kashi Vishveshvaraiah in Balepet.It was built in 1840. There is also a temple to Dharmaraya on OTC Road where the Karaga procession commences.   The temple has deities of the five Pandavas and Draupadi. It was built more than 800 years ago by the Thigala community. Immamadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar visited the temple in 1811 and presented two swords for performing Aluguseve.
The temple at Ramanjenaya Gudda near Hanumanthanagar is set in a park. It is worth a visit. The Vasantha Vallabha temple in Vasanthapura off  Kanakapura road is more than 1,000 years old. It is dedicated to Vallabha, a form of Vishnu. It is in a locality called Vasanthapura. It was built by the Cholas.
The Banashankari temple in Banashankari is famous though it is not as old as the temples listed here. The temple is always crowded and it is built on the lines of the Banashankari temple at Banashankari near Pattadakal in Bagalkot district.
The Mookambika Temple in Mahalakshmi layout is visted by devotes for its oracular powers. If you have time visit the Narasimha Temple at Roppena Agrahara. It is more than 400 years old and is very unique. It is called Hari Vaikunta Temple and it is off  Hosur Road.
The TTD office at Vyalikaval behind Choiwdaiah memorial Hall has installed a statue of Srinivasa on the lines of the Srinivasa statue at Tirupathi. You get Tirupathi laddus on specified dates and you cam get information about sevas on Tirupathi from the info counter here.   
There are temples dedicated to Raghavendra in many localities and Jayanagar has two of them. The oldest Raghavendra temple is Sitapathi Agrahara near Central police station. There is the brindavana of Sripadaraja at Narasimha Gudda in B S Krishnappa Layout off Hoskerehalli.
The Vyasa Raya Matha in Basavanagudi has idols of Srinivasa and a brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy. The matha is now under the control of  the Muzrai department.
The Govardhanagiri hill opposite BMS College on Bull Temple Road has a small and beautiful shrine of  Krishna, It was commissioned by the Puttige Matha.
The Devagiri Temple behind Suchitra film academy in Banashankari 2ns stage is famous for the Srinivasa temple.     
Newer temples in Bangalore are ISCKON in Rajajinagar, the Anjenaya temple in Mahalakshmi Layout, Meenakshi temple in Hulimavu and the Nimishamba temple in BEML Layout and Raja Rajeshwaru Temple in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar, the Ragigudda temples and the temples in Hanumathnagar and Basavanagudi.
The Ayappa temple at Jalahalli very famous. There are many other Ayappa temples all over the city. The Sringeri Sharada temple in Shankarapuram and the recently constructed Narasimha Temple in Uttaradhi Temple in Uttraradhi Matha premises on Uttaradhi Matha road (behind National College) in Basavanagudi is a new attraction.  

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