Recently visited the Someshwara Temple located in the heart of Bangalore City, India. This magnificent temple is one of the oldest and most prominent historical landmarks in the city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and attracts a large number of devotees and tourists throughout the year. Since it was a Monday, it was about 8.30 AM, it was pretty crowded. We shall look into the architecture, a bit of history, the importance of the Nandi bull just before entering the Garbhagriha, and some of the important festivals celebrated at the temple.
To begin, let’s look at the history of the temple.
The Someshwara Temple’s history
The Hoysala dynasty ruled in the 12th century, which is when Someshwara Temple first appeared. The temple was first constructed in the Dravidian architectural style, which was popular in the period in South India. The temple’s original architectural design has survived numerous renovations and adaptations throughout the years.
The Chola dynasty, a significant monarchy in South India during the Middle Ages, constructed the temple. The temple’s original name honours Rajendra Chola, a Chola ruler and a fervent follower of Lord Shiva. After the reigning deity, Lord Someshwara, the temple was then given the new name Someshwara Temple.
The temple’s original architectural design has been preserved despite several updates and alterations throughout the years. In the 16th century, during the Vijayanagara dynasty, the temple underwent substantial renovations. The Kalyana Mantapa, a marriage hall inside the temple complex, was one of many new buildings that were erected during this refurbishment of the temple complex.
The temple was significant in Bangalore City’s history as well. During the Middle Ages, the temple was a significant site of religious and cultural activity. During times of war and conflict, the temple served as a haven for Bangalore residents.
Someshwara Temple is now a well-liked tourist destination and a holy site for followers of Lord Shiva. The Hoysala and Vijayanagara kingdoms’ skilled craftsmen may be seen in the elaborate carvings and sculptures that make up the temple. The temple serves as a representation of Bangalore’s diverse cultural heritage.
Features of Someshwara Temple’s Architecture
The Someshwara Temple in Bangalore, India, is a well-known illustration of how exquisitely designed Hindu temples may be. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and was constructed during the Chola period. Its architecture is regarded as some of the best in South India.
A square sanctum, a pyramidal tower, and a pillared hall are features of the temple’s Dravidian architectural design. A large ornamental tower known as a gopura that is exquisitely carved serves as the entryway to the temple complex. Intricate carvings of gods, goddesses, and other legendary animals that represent diverse situations from Hindu mythology cover the gopura.
The Linga, a symbol of Lord Shiva, is kept in the temple’s main shrine. The temple also contains several smaller temples for other gods, including Ganesha, Parvati, and Subramanya. The Mukha Mandapa, the temple’s main hall, is supported by pillars that are intricately carved with ornaments. Intricate carvings of gods, goddesses, and other legendary animals that represent diverse scenarios from Hindu mythology cover the pillars.
The temple’s elaborate carvings are one of its most outstanding characteristics. Different scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, two ancient Hindu texts, are portrayed in the carvings. Beautifully carved sculptures of gods, goddesses, and other legendary beings adorn the temple’s exterior walls. The main shrine is located in the centre of the temple complex, and the other shrines and halls are positioned symmetrically around it. This symmetry is another aspect of the temple’s architecture that sets it apart.
The temple’s utilisation of water channels and fountains is another distinctive aspect of the building. In addition to being aesthetically beautiful, these water elements also serve the utilitarian purpose of cooling the interior of the temple during hot weather.
The Someshwara Temple’s inner sanctum.
The most revered area of Someshwara Temple is the inner sanctum or garbhagriha. Lord Shiva, the principal deity, is worshipped there. The pradakshina route, which is a constrained passageway, surrounds the garbhagriha, which is situated in the middle of the temple.
The garbhagriha is a tiny, square-shaped room with only one entrance and typically no windows. The room, which is entirely built of stone, is thought to be where the deity resides. The most cherished and sacred area of the temple is its inner sanctum, which is also referred to as its “heart.”
Typically, one enters the garbhagriha through a doorway decorated with exquisite carvings of Hindu deities and mythical characters. The Lord Shiva idol is typically positioned inside the garbhagriha on an elevated platform known as the adhisthana. The idol is typically dressed in brightly coloured attire and is made of stone or metal.
In front of the idol of Lord Shiva, devotees offer their prayers and carry out rituals to obtain his blessings and direction. The only sources of light inside the garbhagriha are the lamps and candles provided by the devotees, which frequently create a darkly illuminated environment.
The Someshwara Temple’s Nandi Bull Legend
The Someshwara Temple in Bangalore, India, is well-known for its myths and stories as well as for its architectural elements and historical significance. One such legend is the Nandi Bull, a huge stone figure that stands watch at the temple’s gate.
The Nandi Bull was allegedly carved out of a single rock by a craftsman by the name of Nandi Bhatta. The sculptor, it is told, was a fervent follower of Lord Shiva and desired to produce a masterwork that would serve as a reminder of his devotion. After years of arduous labour, he finally finished the over 15-foot-tall and 20-foot-wide statue.
The Nandi Bull is considered to have divine powers in addition to being a work of beauty. According to legend, the bull was placed at the Someshwara Temple’s entrance to fend off bad spirits and safeguard the shrine and its visitors.
In addition to being enormous, the Nandi Bull monument is also finely detailed and carefully sculpted. The bull is represented with its head turned to the right, sitting on its hind legs with its front legs folded. It has an aggressive and intimidating appearance because of its open jaws and wide-open eyes.
I did observe several worshippers speaking in Nandi’s ears. Before entering the temple, devotees frequently offer prayers to the Nandi Bull. It is said that Lord Shiva will grant a wish if it is spoken into the bull’s ear.
The Someshwara Temple is renowned for its exquisite carvings and sculptures in addition to the Nandi Bull. Detailed carvings of gods, goddesses, and other mythological beings cover the temple’s walls and pillars. The temple has a distinctive appearance due to its Hoysala and Dravidian-influenced construction.
What festivals are observed at the Someshwara Temple?
The Someshwara Temple has some festivals every year. The Maha Shivaratri, which takes place in February or March, is one of the most important holidays observed here. It is a huge festival that lasts for many days and draws tens of thousands of followers from across the nation.
The temple is embellished with lights, flowers, and vibrant draperies during Maha Shivaratri. Prayers and abhishekam, which involve anointing the lingam with holy water and other offerings, are offered by devotees. On this occasion, special pujas and rituals are also carried out.
The temple also observes other festivals including Ugadi, Navaratri, and Diwali in addition to Maha Shivaratri. The Hindu New Year begins on Ugadi, the adoration of the divine mother is celebrated during the nine-day Navaratri celebration, and lights are celebrated during the Diwali festival.
Devotees give prayers and carry out numerous rites as the temple is decked with lights and flowers during these festivals. Throughout these festivals, the temple also puts on cultural events and musical performances.
The temple also has an annual festival similar to other temples in the country, during which the god of the temple is carried in a parade on a chariot that has been exquisitely ornamented. Numerous devotees flock to this festival to take in the splendour of the occasion and ask the god for his blessings.
What time does the temple have visitors?
The temple is accessible to tourists every day of the week between the hours of 6:00 am and noon and 5:30 pm and 9:00 pm.
There is no entrance fee for the temple, and guests are free to wander around at their own pace. Inside the temple, photography and filming are permitted, but visitors are asked to respect the devotees’ religious beliefs and refrain from interfering with their prayers.
Visitors are expected to dress modestly and act respectfully because the temple is a sacred location. Before entering the inner sanctum, shoes must be taken off and it is advised to dress in clothing that covers the shoulders and knees.
It’s important to keep in mind that the temple might fill up quickly on holidays and other special occasions, so visitors are urged to make travel arrangements in advance. Early in the morning is the ideal time to visit the temple because the weather is beautiful and there are fewer people around.
In conclusion, Someshwara Temple is a must-visit location for everyone interested in learning more about Bangalore’s rich religious and cultural legacy.