The capital of Karnataka has many tourist attractions. The list includes many temples among other tourist attractions. The Bull Temple is one of the important temples of Bangalore, which tourists must include in their religious tours itinerary.
The Bangalore city is relatively new. It dates back to 1537 when Kemp Gowda was granted a land by the Vijayanagar kingdom. The ruler Kemp Gowda built many temples in Bangalore like the temple dedicated to Anjaneya who is supposed to be the God of Power, the temple dedicated to Vinayaka which is the God of good fortunes, and the temple of Nandi the bull, which is the official carrier of Lord Shiva. The temple of Nandi is also known as the Bull Temple.
The Bull Temple is located Basavanagudi, which is one of the oldest places in Bangalore. The meaning of Basavanagudi is the temple of the Bull- the bull which is vahana (the official carrier) of the Lord Shiva. This temple is few meters away from the Dodda Ganesha Temple. In outside the corridors of the Bull Temple, there is huge 20 ft high pillar which has its base adorned with relief figures on all the sides. The one figure is of special interest in which a male is shown playing a string instrument facing the Big Bull.
In the spacious sanctum sanctorum of temple there is the shinny black idol of the Big Bull (or Basava), in the crouching position. There is an interesting legend attached with this idol Basava, which was there before the erection of this temple. The area around the temple is known as Sunkehahalli which was populated by the groundnut growing farmers. A farmer found a mighty bull grazing on the well grown crop. Enraged by this he hit the bull with his club. The bull sat astounded and was quickly transformed into a stone statue. The farmers of the place were shocked and to atone for the harsh deed decided to build a temple of the bull. But to their surprise they saw the bull growing taller and taller. Then the worried farmers prayed to the Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva advised them to retrieve a trident buried some feet away from the now stone bull and to place it on its forehead.
When the farmers did as advised, the stone bull stopped growing. As homage the farmers then decided to offer their first crop of groundnut to the sacred Bull. This practice continues till this day and is know as Kadalekayi Parishe, or the groundnut fair. This fair is held annually in the month of November. This story explains why the statue of Bull has a trident on the forehead, though all said and done it is a mythological explanation without any historical backing.
The base of the structure of Bull has an inscription which dates back to the 17th century. The inscription is about a stream called Vrishabhavathi, which is supposed to have originated some decades ago. Today the stinking water that flows nearby was once the flow of Vrishabhavati river with its crystal clear water. Times do change sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.
The main features of the temple are the massive idol of Nandi, carved in stone, and the small Lingum shrine at the back of the temple. The sheer size of Nandi is awe inspiring. It is interesting to note that on every Makar Sankranti (14th January) the sun rays pass through the two horns of Nandi and light the idol kept inside the temple.
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Last Updated On: 2011/07/11