The Basava Temple, Basavanagudi

One of the temples that Bengaluru is famous for is the Bull Temple (Basava) at the eponymous area of Bengaluru, Basavanagudi. Basava stands for the bull, Nandi, who is the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The shrine contains a monolithic granite figure of the mighty Nandi, set atop a hillock, surrounded by beautiful, majestic trees, on a base of rock which is amongst the oldest formation of rock visible on the earth’s surface:

Here is the view from the front of the temple into the sanctum (all pictures taken with permission):

front view of Nandi

Here’s another view of the beautiful statue. There is a “trishul” (trident) set into the head of the figure. Legend had it that the statue just kept on growing, and the trishul was set in to make Nandi subservient to it and prevent him from growth further….

Nandi, Basavanagudi Temple 100108

One of the strange features of the temple is this “half-staircase” in the air….

staircase in gopuram, basavanagudi temple

The striking thing about this staircase, that leads into the Gopura, is that it does not start from ground level, and does not go up continuously, either. The user must utilize a ladder to get up to the first step of this staircase, and wiggle into the opening at the top of the staircase… quite a risky proceeding. Nowhere else have I seen such an intriguing staircase inside a gopura!

The priests of the temple officiate in various prayers, and one of the most interesting is the prayer that people undertake after buying a new vehicle. The car is brought to the temple, garlanded, and worshipped like a god,by the temple priest. Lemons are then put under the wheels in a symbol of sacrifice, and the car is then ceremoniously driven off, hopefully, to plenty and prosperity for the owner.

new car pooja, basavanagudi temple 100108

A few unusual vignettes from one of the oldest temples of Bengaluru….a temple that exudes graciousness, divinity and serenity.

5 Comments so far

  1. Ulhas P A (unregistered) on January 11th, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

    Just to point out, there’s an inscription at the base of the bull in old Kannada script that says “The river vrishabhavathi (vrishabha is the bull) takes birth here”. As we all know vrishabhavathi is the river that flowed through Bangalore and has now been walled into a storm water drain. This drain now carries the sewage of Bangalore, very well seen at Kengeri on Mysore road. It is now more popular as the sewage falls! It used to take birth at the feet of the bull and then go underground and emerge again near the Shankarapuram telephone exchange on bull temple road. It continues on the Mysore road before joining Arkavathy and empties into the Cauvery.

    One more interesting fact is that the “Kadlekai Parshe” (Peanut Fair) that happens here every year, in November-December, is held in the honour of the Bull. Legend has it that the bull would wake-up in the night and graze all the peanut farms around the temple. The farmers prayed to the bull and agreed to offer it a share of their first crop every year and so started the peanut fair. Not too sure if it was covered in any of the earlier posts, if so sorry for duplication.

  2. Libran Lover (unregistered) on January 12th, 2008 @ 12:56 am

    Deepa – Thanks for the pictures. This is great. Although born and brought up in Bangalore, I don’t think I ever visited this temple. Glad to finally see the picture of the sanctum.

    Ulhas – Thanks for the interesting comment about Vrshabhavati river.

  3. Nithya (unregistered) on January 12th, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

    Nice pictures.. its is facinating .. somehow the series of pictures to posted in sort of an order.. first the acutal nandhi.. then the human intervention in making the stairs.. and then gosh.. people start honoring the modern car !

  4. randramble (unregistered) on January 13th, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

    The “car ceremony” happens in almost all temples these days, isn’t it? The speciality temple is the Vahana Ganesha temple (on Kasturba Road?), if I’m right.

  5. Prasad (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

    The car-blessing ceremony happens at the base of the hillock, where there is a Dodda Ganapathi Temple, not related to the Bull Temple. In general, Ganesha is seen as a remover of obstacles, and most Ganesha temples serve as car-blessing temples (there is one in Sadashivanagar that is also very popular).

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