Located in the foothills of the Nandi Hills of Karnataka, Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located 60km from Bangalore and is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India as a monument of national importance. While Nandi Hills is a pretty popular tourist site, not many people know about the Bhoga Nandeeshwara.
The History and Architecture behind the famous 1000 years old Shiva temple in Karnataka
History of Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple
The temple is more than 1000 years old, going back to the 9th century, and is the rendition of five different dynasties that ruled the area of Nandi Hills. However, one can see Dravidian Architecture dominating the most in the entire temple.
Originally, Bana Queen Ratnavali is believed to have constructed the temple at first and then added and extended layers by layers during the Ganga dynasty, Cholas, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Vijayanagara kings consecutively. It was the Banas who created the original temple; then it was the Chola kings who added the roof during the 11th century, then it was the Hoysala dynasty that added marriage hall to the temple structural, and then finally, it was the Vijayanagar kings who added the outer wall and buildings during the 13th century.
But according to the Archaeological Survey of India, there are the earliest inscriptions from the Nolamba dynasty ruler Nolambadiraja and the Rasthrakuta emperor Govinda III that dates back to c.806 and copper plates of Bana rulers Jayateja and Dattiya of about c.810.
The architecture of the Temple
In the state of Karnataka, the Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple is the oldest and houses three temples: the Arunachaleshwara, the Uma Maheshwara, and the Bhoga Nandeshwara itself.
Arunachaleshwara is believed to represent Shiva’s childhood, Bhoga Nandeeshwara the youth, and Yoga Nandeeshwara, which is on top of the hill, the final renunciation stage.
Arunachaleshwara was built by the Gangas and contains Simha Ganapati or Ugra Ganapati, a unique form of Lord Ganesh. There is also a Nandi idol made of granite in front of the temple.
Uma Maheswara: It was built by the Hoysalas and has Uma and Maheshwara in the Sanctum. Four pillars surround the Kalyana Mandapa; each pillar contains a divine couple depicted: Shiva and Parvati, Brahma and Saraswati, Vishnu and Laxmi, and Agni Deva and Swaha Devi.
Bhoga Nandeeshwara: It was built by the Cholas and contains the figure of the famous Rajendra Chola. Made by Cholas, the carvings on the pillars are beautiful.
There are also two additions by Vijayanagara rulers – the Kalyana Mandapa and Tulabhara Mandapa.
Since it is a famous tourist spot, you can take a bus from Bangalore and ride for about 60km. You’ll get to the Nandi Hills, and you have to take an auto-rickshaw from the Nandi Hills to the temple.
The perfect time for you to enjoy the temple is during the Shivaratri when festivals hit the temple.