Bull temple is one of the oldest temples in Bangalore situated in Basavanagudi and is dedicated to Nandi, the mount of Lord Shiva. This temple was built by Kempe Gowda, who also founded the city of Bangalore. In Kannada, Basava means bull, which gives the name Basavanagudi to the locality.
The temple was built in 1537 A.D by a local ruler under the Vijayanagara empire. The temple is a typical example of Dravidian architecture. The temple is named after the the Nandi made of granite placed in this temple which has blackened over the years due to the charcoal and oil being rubbed on it by the devotees. Non Hindus are not allowed in the temple. Large number of devotees visit this temple everyday.
Nandi – the Bull
The 4.5 meter tall and 6 meter long bull is supposed to be older that the temple housing it. It is believed that the source of the river Vishva Bharti originates at the feet of the statue. The Nandi has been carved out of a single granite stone.
It is believed that a bull started grazing in the well-grown groundnut crop, at this, a farmer got furious and hit the bull with a club. Immediately the bull sat down becoming motionless and was transformed into a stone. Poor farmers were left stun and felt guilty. For their repentance they decided to build a temple in order to pacify a bull. People also say that the statue keeps growing with years. One can see a trident on the forehead of Nandi. It is said that the trident was placed here as per the advise of Lord Shiva, to prevent the bull from growing further.
Every year around the months of November/December the groundnut fair also known as Kadalekaye Parishe takes place. In the ceremony, the farmers offer their first harvest of groundnut to Nandi. This offering shows the gratitude of the people towards Nandi.
In the vicinity of this temple, there is a shrine of Lord Ganesha by the name of Dodda Ganesha Temple.The unique feature of this Ganesha is that it is made of 110 kilograms of butter. It is amazing to know that the butter never melts. Every four years, the butter deity is broken and distributed amongst the devotees.