This is one of the oldest temples
in Bangalore situated in basavanagudi dedicated to Nandi,
the mount of Lord Shiva. Kempe Gowda built this temple
in the 16th century. The magnificent Nandi, 15 feet
tall and over 20 feet long has been carved out of single
granite rock. Farmers offer the first groundnuts to
the sacred bull.
In Kannada, Basava means bull, which gives the name
Basavanagudi to the locality. The temple has a giant
bull carved out of a single boulder. It is a sculptural
In Nov/Dec every year, when the groundnuts have been
harvested, a groundnut fair is held near the temple.
The farmers offer the first groundnuts to the sacred
bull. Dodda Ganapati, a magnificent image of the Lord,
is enshrined adjacent to the Bull temple. The awesome
monolithic deity in this temple, Nandi, draws devotees
from all over the country. This 15 feet tall and over
20 feet long monolithic bull is supposed to be older
than the temple housing it. It is believed that the
source of the river Vishva Bharti originates at the
feet of the statue.
It is a typical Dravidian style temple. The Nandi
bull is revered for being the vahana (vehicle) of Shiva.
The popular story is that the temple was built to appease
a vagrant bull, which persisted in devouring all the
groundnuts grown in the surrounding fields despite the
villagers' best efforts to keep it at bay. Hence, this
handsome Bull Temple was built and the bull apparently
took the hint and stayed away from the groundnuts. The
thankful farmers continue to hold a Groundnut Fair (kadalekayi
parishe) near the temple premises every year, to show
their gratitude. It is one of the places to visit in
Bangalore. Kempe Gowda got constructed many temples
dedicated to Anjaneya (God of Power), Vinayaka (God
of good fortune), Nandi (Shiva's bull mount).
One can see in the shrine atop the hill a massive garlanded
black and shiny Nandi (Shiva's mount, the bull) ensconced,
which dates back to 1786. The size of the Nandi is overwhelming.
At the back is a small Lingam shrine. Its modern Gopuram
rises, gracefully and majestically. The underground
"Sri-Gavi Gandadhareshwara Temple" is equally
fascinating, where on every year on January 14th (Makara
Sankranti) it is believed that a ray of light passes
between the horn of a Nandi outside the temple and lights
the idol kept inside. Three levels of excavations have
been carried out in the cave. One can see the black
stone Hanuman. On the way to the Bull Temple there is
one a temple dedicated to the Elephant God Ganesha.
The Bull temple is a buzz with great activity during
the Shivratri festival.