Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
Located in the natural surroundings of Kempegowda, the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is a cave temple. The temple is situated in the capital city of Karnataka, Bangalore. Due to its location within a cave, the temple is also known as the Gavipuram Cave Temple.
Dedicated to Lord Agni, the god of fire in Hindu mythology, Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple (Bangalore) Karnataka is one of the distinguishing temples of South India. The temple also houses a large Shiva Lingum and Lord Shiva is worshipped with great pomp and glamour. While the deity of Lord Agni is an amazing piece of religious architecture with a couple of heads, seven heads and three legs, the Shiva Lingum is an impressive monolithic idol.
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple (Bangalore) Karnataka is a heritage site of Karnataka and protected under Karnataka Ancient and Historical Monuments, and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1961. Built in the 16th century, the temple exhibits unique rock-cut architecture of India. While the two giant stone discs within the temple premises represent the sun and the moon, the exact location of the discs permit direct sun rays to fall on the temple at a certain phase of the day. The engraved shikaras of the Shiva temple also demands your attention with its grace.
One of the oldest temples of Bangalore, the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is majorly constructed of granite and has four monolithic pillars. This temple is known for its architectural excellence.
History and Legend of Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
The ancient shrine of Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple narrates the golden history of ancient India.
- It is believed that the temple was carved out of a rock in the 9th Saint Gowthama took shelter in this cave to perform penance.
- Later in the 16th century, Kempegowda reconstructed this temple. He was the founder of Bangalore and he revamped the shrine to show his gratitude towards Lord Shiva after he was released from prison; Kempegowda was imprisoned by Rama Raya for five years.
- The Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is considered to be miraculous as the devotee who looks at Lord Agni at the temple is believed to be cured of all eye sight problems.
- Another myth related to the temple is that there are two channels going through the sanctum. One of the tunnels extends to the city of Varanasi while the other is directed towards the Gangadhareshwara temple, which is situated at the Shivagange Hilltop, approximately 10 kilometers from the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple.
- It is also believed that the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple was previously known as Gowthama Kshetra, as the saint is said to have performed penance here.
Significance of the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
The Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is a landmark in the religious map of Karnataka.
- The temple is associated with a miraculous phenomenon. On the festive day of Makar Sankranti, the interior of the shrine is illuminated with the sun rays during sunset; this light stays for one hour.
- The Shiva Lingum represents the monolithic style of architecture. The sculpture of Lord Agni is also unique, believed to be only one of its kind in entire South India.
- There are numerous sculptures within the cave temple. The temple yard houses the Damaruga, that is, a drum, the large sun and moon discs and idol of Nandi, vahana of Lord Shiva.
- The long passage of the temple is adorned with sculptures of Saptamatrika, Sri Devi and Bhudevi.
- There are also small shrines of Lord Ganapati, Goddess Parvati and Ma Durga. These deities come with twelve hands.
- Moreover, it is one of the rare temples of Bangalore, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple Timings
Devotees can visit the temple throughout the year. But if you want to experience the miracle of sunlight, then January (usually 14th) is the best time to visit the temple.
- The Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is open every day.
- Visitors are allowed within the temple from 6 am in the morning to 12.30 pm.
- Again devotees can enter the temple from 5 pm to 8 pm in the evening.
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple Food Timings
Though there is no facility of lunch or dinner at the temple, devotees are offered ‘prasada’ after worship of the God. The prasada is offered both in the morning and evening and constitutes mainly fruits.
Dress code at Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
If you are visiting Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, then it is best to wear traditional Indian dress. Footwear is also not allowed within the temple.
Festivals celebrated at the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
The Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is known for its festivities, which reflect the true colors of South Indian culture and traditions.
- Makar Sankranti festival: Celebrated at the month of January, this festival is marked by the presence of thousands of devotees. The crowd is there to check out the amazing phenomenon, where the sunrays at the dusk pass through the horns of the stone idol of Nandi to fall directly on the Shiva Lingum inside the shrine. This phenomenon takes place between 5 pm and 6 pm.
- Shivaratri Festival: This is another important festival of the temple. Thousands of pilgrim line up in front of the temple to bathe Lord Shiva with milk at all the four phases of the day. The festival takes place every year in the month of February or March.
Poojas and Rituals at Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
Devotees can witness unique customs and rituals of worship at the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple.
- Besides the daily pooja, devotees can ask for special offerings.
- A curtain guards the passage of the temple during Mangal aarti.
How to reach: Road, Rail and Air
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is located in the capital city of Karnataka and hence is easily accessible from all parts of the state and other states.
- By Air: The international airport of Bangalore is the nearest airport to the temple. The domestic terminal of Bangalore is also located here. The airport is located approximately at 38 kilometers from the temple. There are many types of transport facilities available outside the airport, like taxis, bus and auto rickshaws which can take you to the temple.
- By Train: The Bangalore railway station has several trains plying to and fro, linking the temple to the other cities and states of the country. The railway station is located 5 kilometers from the temple. Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon and Hyderabad are directly connected to the city via rails.
- By Road: The local buses, cabs and auto rickshaws can take you from the railway station, airport or other parts of the two directly to the temple. The temple is located 13 kilometers from the bus stop.
Hotels in Kempegowda: Where to stay
There are multiple hotels located near the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple. While some offer budget accommodations, the others are premium hotels with modern amenities. Clarks Exotica Airport Hotel, Best Western La Marvella, 31 South Park Hotel and Bangalore Gate Hotel are some of the stay options near the temple.
Where to eat
There are a number of hotels around the temple. These hotels generally serve vegetarian food, as most of the devotees prefer to have vegetarian food after pooja. These food stalls are hygienic and the food is quite tasty. You can get low-cost food here.
But if you are looking for non-vegetarian food, then there are several food joints around the city that can provide you with a wide array of food.
There are several temples located near the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple.
- Bull temple: Dedicated to Nandi, the Vahana of Lord Shiva, this temple is located at Basavanagudi. Constructed in the 16th century, this temple exhibits one of the largest statues of Nandi; 15 feet high.
- ISKCON Temple: Dedicated to Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha, it is one of the spectacular temples of the city. The gold plated Dwajastambha and Kalash Shikhara specially draw your attention.
- Gangamma Devi Temple: dedicated to Goddess Ganga, this temple is another shrine of the 16th Devotees can perform different havans at the temple premises.
- The Dodda Ganesha Temple is another popular temple of the town. While the large, 18 feet statue of Lord Ganesha is believed to be growing on its right side, the idol is impressive with stuning decorations.
- Sri Kalika Durga Parameshwari Temple: Dedicated to Goddess Kalika Durga Parameshwari, this temple is situated at Vidyaranapura of Bangalore. The Mahabhishekham performed very Sunday is one of the major attractions of the shrine.
Hence, be at Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple to the witness of the architectural wonders of India.