The Bull Temple in Bangalore, also known as Nandi Temple, is famous for its large statue of the sacred bull, Nandi. In fact, with a height of around 4.6 metres and a length of about 6.1 metres, the idol of Nandi in this temple is said to be one of the biggest in the world. This unique feature attracts many devotees and tourists to the place.
Quick Facts about Bull Temple, Bangalore
- Opening Time: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
- Best Time to Visit: June to February
- Address: Bull Temple Rd, NR Colony, Basavanagudi, Bengaluru – 560004 (MAP)
- Phone: +91 80 2667 8777
History of the Bull Temple
Nandi, meaning ‘joy’ in Sanskrit, is the sacred bull according to Hindu beliefs. Though the Nandi statue appears to be black in color, it was not really the case when it was built. The idol was originally grey in color. But as devotees continuously applied charcoal and oil to the statue, it blackened over the years.
According to a myth, the iron plate on the bull’s head has been placed there by Lord Shiva to stop the idol from growing. An inscription at the temple states that the Vrishabhavathi River flowing through Western part of Bengaluru has its origins from a spring located beneath the Nandi statue.
Architecture of Bull Temple Bangalore
The temple is estimated to have been built in the year 1537 by a ruler named Kempe Gowda, who is famous as the founder of Karnataka’s capital city, Bengaluru. Though much of the temple has been unchanged throughout the centuries, the present ‘Vimana’ that towers over the shrine was built during the early 20th century. The architecture of the temple is heavily influenced by the Vijayanagara style, prevalent during the 1500’s. The idol of Nandi is carved from a single stone of granite, and features a Shivalingam behind it. Meanwhile, the Vimana is adorned by Shaiva motifs.
The Legend of the Bull Temple
There is an interesting legend involved in the construction of the bull temple. According to native myths, the area was well-known for its rich cultivation of groundnuts and peanuts. But there was a bull in the region which used to damage the crops. As the damages grew bigger and bigger, the farmers became worried and eventually decided to build a temple for the bull in hopes of appeasing it.
Miraculously, the bull stopped rampaging the crops after the construction of the temple. The farmers, overjoyed that the bull has been pacified, began conducting a groundnut fair beside the temple. The festival, known as ‘Kadalekai Parase’ in the native language, still continues in the region and is very popular with locals. It is traditionally held in the months of November or December, wherein the first harvest of the crops are offered to the Nandi Temple by the farmers.
There are many temples nearby that are worth a visit:
Dodda Ganesha Temple
This temple has a unique idol of Lord Ganesha which is made from butter. Approximately 110 kilograms of butter is used to create the statue once every four years. And at the end of the four-year cycle, the statue is broken and the butter is distributed among the devotees. The most amazing feature of the idol is that during the four years of its existence, the butter never melts even once. This temple is constructed in the Dravidian style, similar to the Nandi Temple, and attracts numerous visitors who visit it primarily to take a peek of the huge Ganesha statue.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is also known by the name Gavipuram Cave Temple. And as the name suggests, the main inner sanctum is located inside a cave. The entire temple is carved out from a monolithic rock. Believed to have been built during the 9th century CE, it was the 16th century ruler Kempe Gowda who revamped it. A unique aspect of the temple is that its stone discs are placed in such a way that they illuminate the Shivalinga inside the temple for about an hour once a year. Many consider this as an architectural wonder.
Sri Govardhana Temple
Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this is a relatively new temple and is designed as a cave. It is supposed to resemble Mount Govardhana which Lord Krishna is believed to have lifted in his younger days.
Sightseeing in and Around the Bull Temple, Bangalore
In addition to temples, some of the places nearby that you can visit include:
Bugle Rock Garden
The Park has numerous trees and makes for a perfect stroll. In fact, the state government dubbed it as a “walker’s paradise.” Statues of famous people from Karnataka including Kempe Gowda, D V Gundappa, Mokshagundam and Visvesvarayya are also displayed in the garden. The place is also famous for the many types of bats that live there. An estimated 750 to 1,000 people visit the Bugle Rock Garden every day.
Just a few kilometers away from the Nandi Temple is the famous Lalbagh Gardens. The place houses the largest variety of tropical plants in India and was built during the time of Hyder Ali, and his son Tipu Sultan. Spread over 240 acres, the place is said to have more than 1,000 species of flora, with trees which are more than a 100 years old. Another huge attraction of the place is the Lalbagh Rock, which is estimated to be at least 3,000 million years old, making it one of the oldest rock structures in the world.
How to Reach Bull Temple, Bangalore
You can reach the Bull Temple through the following ways:
The Bengaluru International Airport is the nearest airport to the Nandi Temple, and is located approximately 38 kilometres away.
Nearest railway stations include the Bengaluru City Junction Railway Station, Krishnadevaraya Halt Station, Nayandahalli Station and Jnana Bharati Halt Station.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) runs buses regularly through the Basavanagudi route. As such, getting to the Nandi Temple by bus is recommended if you are not too familiar with the region.
If you are traveling by car, then you can take the Corporation-Lalbagh-Basavanagudi route. Make sure to have a GPS device or an app installed on your smartphone. This will make traveling easier.