Paying Tribute To The Giant Bull Deity In Bangalore, India

Sunday is not exactly the best time to visit Bangalore. For some reason, most of the historical and cultural attractions such as Bangalore Palace and Tipu Sultan’s Palace in the city are closed on that day. Hence I turned to my best available option – The Bull Temple also known as Basavanagudi.


The temple was supposedly adjacent to Dodda Ganesha Temple. A prominent pair of gigantic horns near the entrance was probably a big hint that the Bull Temple can be found up that flight of stairs.


A street vendor deposited a mini mountain of coconuts to quench the thirst of worshippers and visitors. Having heard horror stories about how Singaporeans usually cannot stomach India’s street food and drinks, I decided to give it a miss.


It seems that the local government has plans to preserve and develop the temple and its surroundings into a religious – historical theme park.


Before heading up the stairs to the Bull Temple, I decided to venture further in to take a look at the Dodda Ganesha Temple. Numerous small waist level shelters that houses deities can be seen along the way. Flowers and offerings can be seen in small recess in front of each shelters.


Coloured cravings of the holy bull can be found on the bottom of stone pillars near these shelters.


Unfortunately the main worship rooms are closed on Sundays too.


So was the humble shop that services worshippers and visitors.


Not exactly sure where this door leads to, just wanted to have a photo proof against a cheerful bright yellow backdrop before heading up to the Bull Temple.


The roof of the Bull Temple was beautifully adorned with mystical figurines. But unlike the temples we have in Singapore, the roof was not brightly decorated with paints. Wondered if it’s still work in progress?


Flower offerings are available for purchase at the entrance.


All foot wear need to be removed before entering the inner courtyard.


Before we meet the Bull Deity, let me give you a little background. Legend has it that one particularly large bull used to pillage the groundnut crop repeatedly, much to the dismay of the farmers. Assuming this to be no earthly bull, Kempegowda The First  (Founder of Bangalore) initiated the construction of the giant Nandi (Shiva’s mount) statue in order to appease it. The presence of Nandi proved to be effective, the bull stopped pillaging the farms.


Grateful to Nandi, farmers began to first offer the groundnut from their farms to the statue before they made it available for sale. Even to this day, hundreds of groundnut farmers set up shop and sell their groundnut produce alongside handicrafts and other wares at a fair in front of the temple. This annual event, called Kadalekayi Parishe (Groundnut Fair), happens in the November and December period.


But that was not the end of the story. Farmers believed that the Bull Deity statue grew in size over the years and threatened to swell out of its enclosure. Thankfully, there was an instruction from Lord Shiva to have a trident placed near its head to stop it from growing further! You can still see the golden trident today behind the 20 feet (Length) by 15 feet (Height) statue.


Going around the Nandi statue, one can see smaller statues of other deities such as Ganesha – a god who is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles.


and Shiva – a Hindu deity and is commonly known as “the Destroyer” or “the Transformer”.


The facial expression of the holy cow looks kind of cute from the side with its wide eyes and friendly disposition.


Besides being a place of worship, I realised that the temple’s inner courtyard also functioned as a communal place for the locals to hangout for casual chit chats and sharing of information.


Before you leave, check out the rows of street stalls just outside the temple. You will be able to get a glimpse of the daily items used by locals there.


In particular, I loved the wonderful assortment of toys. They are beautifully and surprising affordable for the intricate wood craftsmanship! I got myself a wooden top and some other cute toys for friends and colleagues.


I hope to request for forgiveness should there be any misrepresentation or wrong information written in my post. I ventured onto the temple premise without a guide and read up most of the information online. Kindly correct me through the comments section below, I will make the relevant changes immediately.

You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here

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