Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 11/1/20 6:51 AM

Travel: Bhoganandeeshwara Temple, Bangalore

A treasure trapped in time

The entrance gate is old, time-worn and not the most impressive. You step in and green lawns bask lazily in the early morning sun. There are dogs playing about, a magnificent chameleon perched on a chariot wheel,  and a couple of women sweeping the perimeter of the complex. The laburnum trees in the compound, their branches lavishly studded with golden blossom, are shedding gloriously today.

Back in the day,  and we are harking back to a few decades ago, a trip up to Nandi Hills invariably included a stop at the beautiful Bhoganandeeshwara Temple in Nandi village. Then, as the years went by and new attractions cropped up, few people felt motivated enough to travel some 60 kms out of the city,  to visit this stunning temple sitting literally at the foot of Nandi Hills, to study the ornate carvings on every wall, to sit awhile at the pond, taking in the peace and tranquillity of the place.

Pic courtesy Wikipedia.


Well, it has been their loss. Nowadays, however, the temple is seeing a steady trickle of visitors.

The large compound houses three temples, all built in the Dravidian style, all dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Arunachaleshwara shrine represents Shiva`s childhood. Built by the Ganga rulers, it holds an unique Ganesha idol, the Simha Ganapathi or Ugra Ganapathi. The Nandi idol here is made of gleaming granite.

The Bhoga Nandeeshwara  temple,  believed  to have been built by the Cholas,   depicts Lord Shiva in his youth; it contains a majestic linga in the sanctum, the figure of a king believed to be that of Rajendra Chola,   and pillars covered with  the most beautiful carvings. The Nandi who sits here is a striking piece of sculpture, with the most benign expression on his bovine face.

The Uma Maheswara temple details the married life of Shiva and Parvati, and is a place where newly-weds come to pay obeisance to this divine couple. There is a kalyana mantapa here, the pavilion supported by ornate pillars in black stone with gorgeous reliefs carved on them.

The construction of the temple was started in the 9th century under the keen eye of Bana queen Ratnavali, consort of the Bana king Vidyadhara. Later, the Gangas, the Cholas,  the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara rulers  all did their bit, and additions as well as modifications went on right up to the 16th century.

The kalyani (pond) locally called `Sringeri teertha`   is quite the piece de resistance of the place. Believed to be the mythical source of the Pinakini river, there is a charming legend that the pond came into being when Nandi dug one of his horns into the ground to get water from the Ganga.

This 1, 200 year old temple is an ASI-protected site; while not showing signs of actual negligence, it does not rate as one of the ASI`s showpieces.

However, that doesn’t matter. Because the Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple complex is an absolutely divine way to refresh your 2020-battered self before you head back to face whatever the pandemic may next bring.

All photos,  bar one, by Sheila Kumar.

This ran in the SUNDAY HERALD supplement of DECCAN HERALD on 01/Nov 2020.

Arunachaleshwara shrineBengaluruBhoganandeeshwara templekalyaniNandi villageSringeri teerthaUma Maheswara temple

Sheila Kumar • November 1, 2020

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