Over the years, Bangalore has earned many titles — from being crowned the IT capital of the country to being called Pub City. But rarely has it been recognised as a historical centre. Many {Bangaloreans included} believe that the city is devoid of history and breathtaking architecture. Well, one look at the city’s many temples and we assure you, you’ll be eating humble pie. Decked up with inscriptions and sculptures {from even as early as the 10th century}, the temples tell the story of successive kingdoms. There are also modern contributions that are reflective of the modern city we have become. LBB takes you on a temple run around the city!

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Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple

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Bull Temple

Bull Temple

Photo: Visdaviva

Photo: Visdaviva

A regular feature on travel brochures, Dodda Basavana Gudi is part of Basavanagudi’s Bugle Rock Park. It was Built in 1573 by the city’s founder — Kempegowda. The star attraction here is the large monolith carving of Nandi, the bull demi-god. Equally visited is the Dodda Ganeshana Gudi, that’s a short walk away. Here devotees flock to seek the blessings of a monolith Ganesha. The famous Kadalekai Parishe {groundnut mela} that happens at the end of the year is held here. After your drop by the temple, don’t forget to tour Bugle Park itself. The rock formations here are believed to more than 3 millions years old!

Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple

A 16th-century structure, the famed Gavi Gangadhareshwara is a favourite with architecture lovers. Housed in a natural cave, Lord Shiva reigns here. The courtyard of the age-old temple is dotted with monolithic sculptures. You can gape at tall pillars that are topped by renditions of the sun and the moon. The temple has been built in a way that ensures the rays of the sun pass through the horns of the Nandi and fall on the lingam on Makara Sankranthi.

ISKCON

Photo: Svpdasa

Photo: Svpdasa

One of the more modern religious structures, ISKCON’s gopuram features blue glass and intricate, traditional carvings. Dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha, this is one of the largest ISKCON temple complexes in the world. Inside, you can walk by a lake and marvel at a gold-plated flag post. By the way, their prasadam {sacred offerings} is said to be one of the yummiest in the city. #justsaying

Shiva Temple

Photo: Andrew Plumb

Photo: Andrew Plumb

This one is impossible to miss! Located on Old Airport Road, you’ll be welcomed into the temple by a 65-foot statue of Lord Shiva. He sits in lotus position on a tiger skin and serenely gazes at you. Around him, the icy {recreated} mountains of Kailash stand. And, in front, devotees walk by in reverence. The best time to visit is during the festival of Mahashivaratri.

Chokkanathaswamy Temple

Travel back in time to the 10th century, as you step into the Chokkanathaswamy Temple in Domlur. While it has been renovated through the centuries, the inner sanctum and a couple of ardhamantapas {hall ways} stand intact. You can spend time gazing at the walls that have been inscribed in Tamil and also the sculptures.

Halasuru Someshwara Temple

Photo: Dineshkannambadi

Photo: Dineshkannambadi

Another oldie, the Halasuru Someshwara Temple too dates back to the Chola period. It was however extensively renovated during the days of the Vijayanagar Empire. A colourful gopuram greets you at the entrance. And, inside, you’ll encounter intricately done pillars. There are also sculptures that you should watch out for; like the one that depicts Lord Shiva’s and Parvati’s wedding. And the one where Goddess Durga conquers Mahishasura.

Shrungagiri Shanmukha

Sitting atop a hillock, this temple makes for an impressive sight thanks to its unique gopuram. Dedicated to Lord Shanmukh {meaning, six faces}, the massive gopuram features the six faces of the Lord on each side. The Temple Tower too dazzles with thousands of LED and laser lights. The temple is also fitted with a Sun Tracking System that ensures the deity is bathed in sunlight through the day.

Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple

Photo: Dineshkannambadi

Photo: Dineshkannambadi

Hop over to Nandi Hills to be floored by the architectural splendour of this temple that was first built in the 9th century. Said to be one of the oldest in Karnataka, the temple was modified over time by the Ganga dynasty, Cholas, Hoysalas, and the Vijayanagar Empire. So, you can observe different architectural influences that these empires brought to the temple. In the South, there is the Arunachaleswara shrine that was erected by the Ganga dynasty. On the other end, is the Bhoga Nandeeshwara shrine that includes a king’s sculpture. It is believed to be of Rajendra Chola. The Uma Maheshwara Shrine, that sits in the middle, is built entirely of black stone and showcases the intricate stone work of the Hoysalas. The Yali {a mythical creature} pillars that can be found around the temple complex haven been contributed by the Vijayanagar Empire.

Venugopalaswamy Temple

An exploration of the Devanahalli Fort, on the outskirts of the city, will bring you face to face with Venugopalaswamy Temple. Though on a smaller scale, the architecture and the frescoes of the temple reflect the aesthetic of Belur and Halebid. Pay close attention to the walls of the temple that depict scenes from the Ramayana and also Lord Krishna’s infancy. The Dravidian style vimana {that’s right above the  sanctum sanctorum} is also another highlight.

Sugreeva Venkateshwara Temple

Tucked into the busy streets of Balepet, this little-known temple honours Sugreeva. The king of the monkeys is represented by a daunting, six foot statue at the temple. On the opposite side, there is another temple that is dedicated to the Lord Venkateshwara. While not overtly ornate, the temple’s fading carvings and sculptures will surely impress you.

Dharmaraya Swamy Temple

Photo source: Wikipedia

Photo source: Wikipedia

One of the rare temples to be dedicated to the Pandavas, the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple is known as to be around 800 years old. A colourful gopuram invites you in. And inside, you can discover the architectural touches left by the Gangas and Pallava dynasties along with the Vijaynagar kingdom. The temple, that stands in the pete area, is said to have been a favourite with Kempe Gowda. These days, the temple is famous for its annual karaga festival that honours Draupadi. Spread across eleven days, the highlight of the festival is the colourful procession {karaga} that happens on the the ninth day.  

Kadu Malleshwara Temple

Kadu Malleshwara is believed to have been built by Venkoji, the brother of Shivaji. At the time, it was said to be built in the midst of a thick forest and hence the name kadu {which means forest} malleshwara. Today, the temple is known as Kadu Mallikarjunaswamy and stands amidst the bustling streets of Malleswaram. It showcases the Dravidian style of architecture and is popular among Shiva devotees. Once you are done here, walk over to the Dakshinamukha Nandi Teertha Kalyani Kshetra. Dedicated to Nandi, it said to be over 400 years old.

Feature Photo: Bikashrd {Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple}