Bangalore’s Hidden Treasures: The Gavi Gangadhareshwara Cave Temple

(* Note: I have seen this temple referred to as Gavipuram temple also. And therefore my earlier reference. However, I think the right name is Gavi Gangadhareshwara. Thanks to a reader for pointing it out. I’ve made the changes!)

Deep within the labyrinths of Basavangudi is the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Cave Temple that is worth a visit. If you’ve been in Bangalore for a few years and haven’t heard of it, then don’t worry. Many others haven’t either. It’s a well buried secret!

The entrance inviting you to climb up the hill

The temple is cut out into the rock on a hill. The arch at the main entrance of the hill welcomes you to climb up to the temple top, while the gulmohars in full bloom (when I had visited a few months ago) present a pretty and inviting picture.

This structure apparently (I read somewhere) is one of Bangalore’s oldest temples, built by Kempe Gowda and dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a natural monolith carved cave temple and is known for its four pillars and rare idols of Agni, the God of fire. You can walk around and explore the area above the temple, a short walk away, where there is a rather well-maintained park and another temple at the top.

The temple top juts out of the rock

I roamed around outside the temple with a couple of friends and then ventured inside. The main chamber is quite small and you have to bend over once you’re deeper inside the temple as the ceiling is quite low. A few devotees were inside offering prayers.

Outside, an old gentleman with a walking stick and a red striped bag walks slowly towards the entrance, his white attire melding with the white and red striped wall in the background.

A devotee making his way to the temple

Around the temple area are a few really old houses and we spotted a family indulging in some family activities in the front of their house. The mother seems to be getting her son ready for some kind of a dance performance! Here’s one of my photographer friends trying to capture the scene!

Family activities outside the temple area

On Makar Sankranthi day in the month of January, it is said that a ray of sunlight penetrates through an arch between the horns of the bull and strikes Shiva Linga in the inner sanctum, which goes a lot to say about the architectural expertise that went into building it.

A huge bell in front of the temple

One of those hidden treasures of Bangalore that I really enjoyed! Do try and visit it if you get a chance…

8 Comments so far

  1. kariya (unregistered) on March 12th, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

    Hello there,
    It should be GAVIPURA not Gavipuram.

  2. Ravi (unregistered) on March 12th, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

    So many places to go…so little time. This is my litany! :(

  3. Arnab (unregistered) on March 12th, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    Is another of Bangalore’s hiddent treasures – Bangalore Palace – now open to the public for viewing?

  4. rubic_cube (unregistered) on March 13th, 2007 @ 11:32 am

    @kariya: does it make a difference? please!

    @anita: for a very very long time, i have been meaning to write about this beautiful cave temple. you may also include that there is a small prakaram around the sanctum sanctorum in which people have to bend over their hips and walk. a lot of devi deities have been installed here. there is also a spring that originates in that cave. even now, water trickles from that spring. and… very nice pics!

  5. rubic_cube (unregistered) on March 13th, 2007 @ 11:34 am

    forgot to include, the temple’s name is Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple. Gavi means a cave in Kannada.

  6. psj (unregistered) on March 13th, 2007 @ 11:47 am

    Could somebody give directions plz

  7. kariya (unregistered) on March 13th, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

    @rubic_cube. Does rubic_cube & rubic_cubeum make diffrence ?

  8. Chitra (unregistered) on March 13th, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

    Anita, very nice! Lovely pics! I have never been here. Thanks! :)

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