Temples and spiritual centers have always been a part of every city in India blended and infused in its own rooted culture. In this land of Gods and Goddesses with stories from Puranas and Vedas attached to it, temples were built and it has continued from kingdom to kingdom. Bengaluru being a historic city built by Kempegowda has its own history and a lore to verbalize. The city is an abode for more than 1000 temples, 400 mosques, 100 churches coupled with Gurudwaras and Buddha Viharas is an archetype to its diversity and a mixed bag of traditions. In this context, let us look at some of the ancient temples in Bangalore which are known for their architecture, design, spiritual emphasis, and popularity.
Sugreeva Venkateshwara Temple
Located on the bustling street of Balepet road (Majestic), this space has two temples on the same premises. It one of the rarest abode of God where Sugreeva, an important character from Ramayana is idolized and worshiped. It is said that the temple was built by Kempegowda – 1 for the uppar community. The six feet tall Sugreeva idol in front of the Garuda pillar attracts you while Lord Venkateshwara and Padmavathi temples in the inner shine will never fall flat to mesmerize you with their divine grandeur.
Where: Balepet Road, Majestic, Bengaluru.
Kote Venkataramana Temple
This temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara dates back to the time of Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar. One of the ancient temples of Bangalore built in Dravidian and Vijayanagar style in 1689. It is a beautiful temple with a sanctum connecting to a central hall by a vestibule (lobby). The mesmerizing artwork on the walls of the temple, the spacious ambiance and the glorious idol of Lord Venkateshwara is indeed a divine experience.
Where: Krishna Rajendra Road, Bengaluru.
An area named after this temple is easily one of the most popular temples in the city where Goddess Banashankari is idolized and worshipped. This Devi temple is so powerful that the very energy over here makes you yowl in the ecstasy of devotion. One thing that amuses you about this temple is that the devotees offer prayers during Rahukala, which is often considered as an inauspicious time for puja and prayers.
Where: Near Banashankari Bus Terminal
Dodda Ganesha Temple
Dodda Ganesha temple, also known as Satya Ganesha or Shakthi Ganesha temple is one of the major attractions in Basavanagudi. This divine abode gets its name from the huge size of Ganesha Idol which is 18 feet in height and 16 feet in width. The history of this temple dates back to the time of Kempegowda. It so happens that the king finds a big rock which was looking like Ganesha. Later on, he instructs his sculpture artists to carve an idol and builds a temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka.
Where: Bull temple road, next to Bull temple, Basavanagudi, Bengaluru.
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
If you want to witness the Indian rock-cut architecture in Bengaluru then you should head to this temple called Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple or Gavipuram cave temple. It is famous for stone discs and the mystery of allowing the sun to shine on the shrine at a certain time of the year. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it was built in 16th century AD by Kempe Gowda.
Where: Gavipura, Kempe Gowda Nagar, Basavanagudi, Bengaluru.
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Kempfort Shiva Temple
Built recently in 1995, this Shiva temple attracts a lot of devotees. The mesmerizing 65-feet-tall Shiva idol in the backdrop of the Himalayas and the lake of Manasasarovar look alike gives an alluring look to the temple. It is believed that people also come here to touch the healing stone in the temple which is said to have blessed with mystic curative powers.
Where: Behind Old Airport Road, Behind Kemp Fort (Total mall), Bengaluru.
Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple
This Vikhanasa temple in Bangalore is one of the oldest temples whose history dates back to 16th Century C.E, dedicated to Lord Ranganatha Swamy. One can see the marvelous idol of Ranganatha Swamy, Bhudevi, and Neela Devi in the inner sanctum. The architecture of this temple has carved granite pillars which are said to have built in Vijayanagara style with an equal amount of Hoysala influence to it. The temple’s Rathotsava event and Bengaluru Karga that takes place every year on Chaitra Shuddha Pournami is an absolute optical treat.
Where: Chickpet, Bengaluru.
Domlur Chokkanatha Temple
This is probably the oldest temple in Bangalore built way back during Chola period (10th Century A.D). The Tamil inscriptions in the temple and the Chola stone art says that the temple was built during Chola regime which later on is said to have developed by Devaraya 2 of Vijayanagara empire. The temple dedicated to Chokkanatha Swamy or Chokka Perumal (Vishnu God) is located in today’s Domlur of the city.
Where: 5th Cross Road, Opposite Sony World, Village Domlur.
Shrungagiri Shanmukha Temple
Shrungagiri Shanmukha temple is located on a small hill named Shrunagiri at RR Nagar where Shankumkha or Murugan is idolized and worshipped. On your way to Mysuru road, the beautiful RR Nagar arch will take you to this temple. Designed by Dr. R Arunachalam, the temple is built on the top of Shrunagagiri hill at the height of 240 ft. The six headed crystal dome structure of Shanmukha and the Gopura will add to the beauty of this temple.
Where: Near Uttarahalli Main Road, RR Nagar, Bengaluru.
Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Temple
Omkar Hills and Turahalli forest comes within the city where you can easily reach without having to spend long travel hours. A morning ride to these places especially during Monsoons gives you a kind of thrilling experience. Omkar hill is at 2800ft above sea level and houses Sri Dwadasha Jyotirlinga temple which is the main attraction here. You can also see Giant tower clock which is one of the biggest clocks of the world with each hand of clock weighing 40kg.
Where: Srinivasapura (40 km from Bengaluru)
Plague Amma Temple
You should believe that there is a temple called ‘plague amma temple’ in Begihalli of Bengaluru dedicated to eradicating plague and smallpox. It is the Goddess Rajarajeshwari but due to the fact that millions came to this temple seeking a cure for plague, the popularly took the name ‘plague amma.’
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Dharmaraya Swamy Temple
This is again is one of the oldest temples of the city dedicated to Pratham Pandava, Shri Dharmaraya. Among the four towers built by Kempegowda, Dharmaraya temple is known as the Vimanagopura (Kalasa), a center point of the city. The temple is known for its famous Karaga which is celebrated in the honor of Mother Goddess Draupadi as a triumph of good over evil.
Where: OTC road, Thigalarapet, Nagarathpeta, Bengaluru.
Gaali Anjaneya Temple
A temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is located on your way to Mysuru road. It is said that the temple celebrates the glory of 600 years with the statue of Hanuman here is installed by the Hindu Saint, Sri Vyasa Raja. Blessed with a tall tower, spacious inner sanctum, this Hanuman temple is one of the main attractions of the city.
Where: Mysuru Road, Near Attiguppe, Bengaluru.
Halasuru Someshwara Temple
If there is any place of interest in Halasuru means it is this age-old Someshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Dating back to Chola period, this temple took a major modification under the rule of Kempe Gowda -2. The very architecture, gopura, and the beautifully carved sculptures will add to the beauty of this temple.
Where: Ulsoor Road, Bengaluru.
Kaadu Mallikarjuna Temple
This is one of the most beautiful temples of the city which was built in the 17th Century A.D by Venkoji, brother of Maratha King Shivaji. It has two entrances, one that lets you inside the outer sanctum and the other with steps moving to the outer sanctum of the temple. Blessed with a beautiful garden and the peaceful ambiance, this legendary temple is certainly an abode of peace and tranquillity.
Where: 2nd Temple street, Kodandarampura, Malleshwara West, Bengaluru.