The Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple is located in Nandi Hills Area, in Bangalore Rural district. It is a perfect weekend getaway for the city-weary people of Bangalore. The hills offer many places of interest amidst pristine forests, including the Nandi fort built by Tipu Sultan.
Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple – Overview
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple is situated in the village at the foothills of Nandi Hills. Nandi Hills is a popular temple site and picnic spot. The simple Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple on top of the hill is famous for the huge statue of the bull in front of the temple.
Not many people know of the other Nandeeshwara temple, a magnificent, large complex housing not one, but three temples in all.
The original Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple was built in the 9th century. The first phase is believed to have been built by the Bana Queen Ratnavali. The temple then underwent many additions and modifications, spread over the rule of around five dynasties.
The hills are actually five hills which are the sources of five different rivers, namely Palar, Pinakini, Akravathy, Papagni and Swarnamukhi.
Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple, Nandi Hills. Thrice a year 100,000 lamps are lit here on main festival days. Image source
Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple – History
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple is a magnificent example of Dravidian Architecture. It is a 1000 year old temple that bears the architectural stamps of around five different dynasties that ruled here.
Believed to have been originally constructed by the Bana Queen Ratnavali, this temple was added to and extended by the Ganga dynasty, Cholas, Hoysalas, Pallavas and finally the Vijayanagara kings. This temple even has a statue of the Chola King Rajendra.
Though the original Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati was built in the 9th century by the Banas, the Chola kings in the 11th century added the roof; the Hoysala dynasty added the marriage hall to the temple structure and the outer wall and buildings were added by the Vijayanagar kings in the 13th century.
For centuries it was impregnable until the British stormed it in the October of 1791, and defeated Tipu Sultan.
Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple – Architecture
The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is the oldest in the state of Karnataka. The Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple houses three temples, the Arunachaleshwara, the Uma Maheshwara and the Bhoga Nandeeshwara.
Traditionally Arunachaleshwara is said to represent the childhood of Shiva, Bhoga Nandeeshwara the Youth, and Yoga Nandeeshwara on the Hill top, the final renunciation stage.
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple depicts the youthful phase of Lord Shiva, and as youth is the time to rejoice and enjoy life, there are many festivals held in this temple throughout the year.
The Uma Maheswara temple depicts the wedding scenes between Shiva and Parvati, and newly married couples often visit this temple to take the blessings of Shiva and Parvati.
The Yoga Narasimha temple located on the top of Nandi hills by contrast, has no festivals at all as it signifies Shiva in his renunciation stage. There are significant carvings in and around these temples.
This temple is a combination of the architectural styles mainly of the Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara rulers.
The Arunachaleshwara Temple
The Arunachaleshwara temple, built by the Gangas, has a unique form of Lord Ganesha called Simha Ganapathi or Ugra Ganapathi. In front of this temple is a Nandi idol made of granite.
Uma Maheshwara Temple
Built by the Hoysalas, this temple has the presiding deities of Uma and Maheshwara in the Sanctum. The Kalyana Mandapa is surrounded by four pillars each of which have a divine couple depicted on them – Shiva and Parvati, Brahma and Saraswathi, Vishnu and Lakshmi and Agni Deva and Swaha Devi.
The pillars and walls are covered with intricate carvings typical of the Hoysalas. The structures are covered in figures of parrots, animals, creepers and divine figures.
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara
The main temple, the Bhoga Nandeeshwara has a majestic Shiva Linga in the Sanctum. This temple is said to have been built by the Cholas. There is a figure of a Chola King in this temple, believed to be of Rajendra Chola.
The pillars are covered in beautiful carvings. The Nandi Idol in front of the Sanctum in this temple is even more attractive than the one in front of the Arunachaleshwara Temple
There are two additions to this temple built by the Vijayanagara rulers – the Kalyana Mandapa and the Tulabhara Mandapa.
Shringi Theertha is the temple pond. It is surrounded on all four sides by a walkway and a running mandapa. This pond has steps leading down to it on all four sides.
Legend has it that this pond was created by the divine Bull Nandi plunging his horn into the ground to draw out water from the divine Ganga. This pond is held to be the source of the South Pinakini (South Pennar) River.
How to Reach Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple
Nandi Hills is a very famous tourist spot. Frequent bus services will be available from the city of Bangalore, 60 km away. Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple is located in the village at the foothills of Nandi Hills. You can reach here from Nandi Hills by auto rickshaw. The best time to visit the Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple is during Shivaratri.