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Temples in South India >> Karnataka >> Bull Temple

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 masterpiece.

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.