Located just under 60 km from Bangalore, is the remarkable Bhoga Nandeshwara temple in the quaint village of Nandi. One of the oldest temples in Karnataka, the place is located at the foot hills of the popular Nandi hills and is a great idea for a day trip from Bangalore.
What struck me was not only the beauty of the place but the phenomenal size of the temple complex. The courtyard is massive with pillars that are as exquisite. While history has it that the original temple dates back to the 9th century, the temple was later under the patronage of South Indian dynasties like the Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara Empire. Hence the pillars, carvings and sculptures depict a remarkable mix of architectural styles pertaining to the respective eras.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple has three main shrines “Arunachaleswara” shrine built by the Gangas of Talakad, and the “Bhoga Nandeeshwara” built by the Cholas. In between there is the “Uma-Maheshwara” shrine with a kalyana mantapa (“marriage altar”) supported by intricate pillars in black stone. The carvings of a multitude of parrots on these pillars is a unique feature that is quite outstanding.
There is a Nandi mantapa with a massive sculptured bull or Nandi in front of each shrine. The “Ugra Ganapati” shrine in the “Arunachaleswara” temple complex is another rare yet marvelous structure.
According to Hindu mythology, he “Arunachaleswara” and the “Bhoga Nandeeshwara” forms of Shiva represent the childhood and youth of Lord Shiva. The “Uma-Maheshwara” depicts the third stage, Shiva’s marriage to the goddess Parvati. (Hence this shrine is popular with newly weds who come to seek the blessings of the Lord). The Yoga Nandeeshwara temple is on top of Nandi hills and represents the last “renunciation” stage in the life of Lord Shiva.
As you move around the complex, you can see the smaller temples of Kamateshwara, Apita Kuchamba temple and Girijamba temple. The Vasanta Mantapa, a wonderful enclosure with well crafted pillars as well as the “shringi Thirtha” or holy tank are equally beautiful.
No adjectives can really describe the fabulous workmanship of the structures, carvings and sculptures of the temple. They are varied, phenomenal and simply stunning.
Just about 4 km from the temple, is the village of Muddehalli which is the birth place of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, an eminent engineer and statesman who played a key role in building of modern India.
A part of the house where he spent his childhood has been converted into a museum. The exhibits depicting the life and times of Karnataka’s most famous son are noteworthy and insightful.
We made it in the nick of time and took a quick look before the place closed for the day at 5 pm.
This article was also published in Tripto. You can access the same by clicking here.