Photo Walk to Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple
Another breezy Friday morning and today I head out to a 1200 year old temple.
Bhoga Nandishwara Temple
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple was built in the 9th century and is a classical example of Dravidian Architecture. It is located in a small village called Nandigram, some 30 km from Bangalore. This village is surrounded by five hills – Nandi Hills, Brahma Giri, Vishnu Giri, Divya Giri and Skanda Giri. The temple foundation was laid by one Queen Ratnavali of the Banas in around 810 A.D. Thereafter the temple underwent many additions and modifications specially during the reign of the Vijayanagara kings.
How to reach Bhoga Nandeeshwara by bus
As always I took a bus ride from home to Majestic Bus Stand. Thereafter I took a bus for Devanahalli. At Devanahalli bus stand, I had to wait for some time looking for a bus to Nandi Cross. At Nandi Cross there is an auto stand. They charge around Rs. 60 for a ride to the temple. It takes about 30 mins to reach the temple along the Nandi Hills Road. On the way I passed some lovely boulders and grape orchards.
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple is unlike any other temple I have seen. It is built like a fort with an outer wall enclosing a huge courtyard, the size of a football field. Vehicles are not allowed inside the courtyard. A gravel path leads up to main entrance gate. Here, one has to leave their shoes behind at a makeshift shoe rack. Opposite to the shoe racks one can find a number of water taps to wash off. As I entered the temple I found a big crowd was gathered for a marriage ceremony in the “Kalyana Mantapa.” The temple was originally dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. Later in the thirteenth century, during the Hoysala dynasty, this marriage hall was added to the temple structure.
The temple grounds actually houses three temples, Arunachaleshwara, Bhoga Nandeeshwara and in between of these is a smaller temple of Uma-Maheshwara. Even though each of the temples were built in different periods, it is impossible to make out any difference in the way there were constructed.
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple has some beautiful carvings all over the campus. The columns holding the roof are made of a single stone with exquisite and intricate carvings of Narasimha and other deities. The main temple, the Bhoga Nandeeshwara has a majestic Shiva Linga, the sacred symbol of Lord Shiva. There is also a Nandi idol made in black stone on the right side in this temple. Few Kannada inscriptions dating back centuries can also be seen on its walls.
On the extreme right the temple houses a large indoor water pond, called Sringeri Teertha. This pond is believed to be a source of the Uttara Pinakini river. Such a historical place cannot be without its mystical stories. One of them goes like this…
It is said that Nandi, the bull plunged his horns (shringa) in to the ground for water. And the water of Ganga gushed from it. Hence the name Shringa Teertha. More on the lines of logic a renowned sage named Shringi used to meditate here and the name stuck.
Some more photos of the many sculptures on the temple grounds
- The best time to visit the Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple is during Shivaratri and Deepawali.
- If you are visiting Nandi Hills, take out a couple of hours to visit this place in the local village at the foothills.