Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple: Traditional Wedding Destination close to Bangalore - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple: Traditional Wedding Destination close to Bangalore

Vasantha Mantapa or divine marriage alter at Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple, Karnataka

Lord Shiva is worshipped here in three different forms. One as a child (Arunachaleswarar), then as a Brahmachari (Bhoga Nandeeshwara) and the third as a married man (Uma Maheshwari). The specialty of this 9th century temple wonder does not end there. Each kingdom that ruled from the 9th century till date have added a bit of their heritage to this temple. Whether you call it a stamp of authority or some architectural class from that era, this amalgamated architecture is a sight to behold for all those art, culture, history and temple lovers.

Beautiful sculptures on the walls of Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple

The original structure was constructed in the 9th century under the rule of the Nolamba dynasty,  and many additions were made in the following years by the Rashtrakuta, Ganga, Chola, Yelanhanka, Hoysala and the Vijayanagara kingdoms. If one has explored the temples of South India, they will realize that it bears close resemblance to the Vittala temple in Hampi, the Hoysaleswarar Temple in Halebid and the Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur. The resemblance is not in entirety, but in bits and pieces.

The Gargoyle, the monkey and the gorgeous sculptures at the Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple

The Arunachaleswara shrine was built by the Gangas of Talakad, the Bhoga Nandeeswara shrine was built by the Cholas, the Ume Maheshwari shrine and the mantapa in front of it by the Hoysala dynasty and the Vasantha Mantapa outside, the Yali pillars, the large mantapa, the Kalyani and many other mantapas was built by the Vijayanagara empire.

Sculpture in the Vasantha Mantapa at Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple, Karnataka

All these additions from different eras gives the Bhoga Nandeeswara temple a special look and feel. And then there is the gorgeous looking Kalyani (Pushkarni) or temple stepwell where one can sit and feed the fishes and tortoises and the massive courtyard in front of the main temple entrance that is surrounded with trees.

Kalyani or temple pond at Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple

It is kind of hard of believe that such a wonderful place exists just an hour away from the traffic and chaos of Bangalore. Further north from the Bangalore International Airport, the Bhoga Nandeeswara temple is located right at the foot of the Nandi hills. You can simply make a quick day trip to this temple or make it a full day trip that includes the vineyards and farms of rural Chikkaballapur, Gudibande Fort and the stunning Lepakshi temple on the Karnataka – Andhra Pradesh border.

As you enter the main shrines of Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple

Whatever is your plan, one can easily immerse themselves for 2 to 3 hours in the art, history and culture that exists here and even more if you prefer taking a nap on the green lawns of the temple grounds that is surrounded by a tree canopy. The temple opens at 7 AM or thereabouts. Hence, one can catch the sunrise from the top of Nandi hills and head straight to this temple for a fairly quiet and uncluttered experience.

A pathway connecting the 3 shrines of Lord Shiva at Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple

As soon as you wash your feet and enter the main temple, it is the Vijayanagar style pillars with the mythological Yali creature that will capture your attention, but since you are just entering the temple, I would recommend offering your prayers at the sanctum sanctorum of the 3 shrines first. This is also where you will see the most cultural drama through rich carvings and picturization.

Stunning Sculpting, carving and inscriptions at Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple, Karnataka

The highlight is the Vasantha Mantapa or divine marriage alter that is located in front of the Uma Maheshwari shrine. This 13th century addition during the region of the Hoysalas has ornate pillars in black stone that depicts the main gods and their consorts (Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Brahma and Saraswati, Agni and Swaha Devi) and decorative creepers and birds in bas relief.  This Uma Maheshwari shrine and the Vasantha Mantapa is the reason why many newly weds visit this temple to seek the lord’s blessings.

Side view of Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple

There is also a larger Vasantha Mantapa without any shrine just next to this temple complex that was built by the Vijayanagar empire. This is where many people actually get married in a traditional destination wedding kind of setup. This mantapa is right in between the main temple complex and the Kalyani. This was one of the main reasons I visited this temple as I always used to see photos shot by wedding photographers here.

Hoysala style pilars at Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple

Whether it is the Yali pillars in the Vasantha Mantapa, the window art and relief work at the back of the main shrine complex, the ornate sculptures, the pillar carvings, the temple Kalyani, or any of the shrines, you are never too far from our rich Hindu heritage, our mythological stories and a combination of some of South India’s best temple architecture.

Entrance to the Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple Complex

An amazing day trip from Bangalore, Bhoga Nandeeswara is one of the perks of living in Bangalore. Whether you ride a bicycle with friends, go on a motorcycle trip or head in a car with your family, this place has enough charm to appeal to all. And for all those couples planning to get married, this place has all the ingredients for that traditional destination wedding and given that it is just an hour away from Bangalore, you get an awesome combination of an ancient temple wedding and the modern day comforts of a large metropolitan city.

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