If you are a history buff, then these temples just outside Bengaluru will be of great interest to you. A temple built by kings of five dynasties or the famous temple where two deities emerge from a single stone and the birthplace of Sir M Visveshwaraiah – all this within 60 kilometres from the city.
Two deities in one stone, Ghati Subramanya
Ghati Subramanya temple. Pic: Usha Hariprasad.
Here Lord Subramanya and Lakshmi Narasimha are carved from the same stone, facing opposite directions. Lord Subramanya is facing east while Lakshmi Narasimha is facing west. To get a clearer view of Lakshmi Narasimha, a mirror is kept in the rear end of the wall.
It is believed that the idol is self-manifested. 600 years later the temple of Ghati Subramanya was constructed by Sonduru Kings who were great devotees of Lord Subramanya.
Bhoga Nandeeshwara and Arunachaleshwara temple, Nandigrama
This amazing temple near Nandi hills is constructed by kings of five dynasties namely Gangarasa, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Cholas and lastly the Vijaya Nagara Kings. This magnificent temple measuring 320 metres in length, 250 in width, has a wide corridor and from outside looks like a single temple. But in reality it comprises of three different temples; Arunachaleshwara, Bhoga Nandeeshwara flanking a smaller Uma-Maheshwara temple. Each depicting various stages of Lord Shiva – childhood, youth and married. There is also a Yoga-Nadeeshwara statue depicting oldage.
Arunachaleshwara temple was built by Gangarasa in 10th century. Uma Maheshwara temple, next to Arunachaleshwara temple is the smaller temple of Uma Maheshwara temple. Bhoga Nandeeshwara is the main temple built by Cholas.
Apart from this there is a beautiful pond here which goes by the name Shringa Theertha. It is said that Nandi the bull plunged his horns (Shringa) in to the ground for water. And the water of Ganga gushed from it. Hence the name Shringa Theertha. It is also said that a sage named Shringi meditated here. The pond is also believed to be birth place of south Pinakini River. The best time to visit this place is during Shiva Rathri. A cow mela takes place here during this time. You can see plenty of devotees here during this time.
Sir M Vishveshvaraya‘s birthplace, Muddenahalli
Muddenahalli is 7 km from Chikballapura. Visveshwaraiah is man behind the famous KRS dam at Brindavan, Mysore and a host of other establishments like Mysore University, State Bank of Mysore, Mysore Chamber of Commerce etc.
His residence is now a popular museum showcasing his life and work. The museum is open between 11 am and 5 pm. The place also has the samadhi (tomb) of this great yet simple person. The place is worth visiting just for its scenic beauty and countryside.
Our travel itinerary:
Our plan for the day was quite simple. We decided to head out to Ghati Subramanya first, then Bhoga Nandeeshwara and finally Muddenahalli. And so for the success of the plan we started our journey at 8 in the morning.
It took us about 2 hours to reach Ghati. Ghati with the surrounding hills looked spectacular. After a brief darshan and the prasadam we set out towards Bhoga Nandeeshwara. To really understand this historical marvel you need a guide. So hire a guide and explore this entire temple complex. We did just that and we were glad with the outcome as the guide explained the temple architecture for nearly 30-40 minutes. After that we relaxed at Shringa theertha.
After a brief lunch which we had carried along with us, we set out towards Muddenahalli. The rows of red, yellow marigold flowers, the long stretches of cabbage and other vegetables left us refreshed. And when we reached the museum we were in high spirits. A brief stop over at Museum and the tomb and finally we headed towards Bangalore. We finally wound up our journey by 6 pm.
Ghati Subramanya: Plenty of buses ply to Ghati Subramanya from Majestic. If you are driving then on the Devenahalli airport road, take left towards Doddaballapur after Jakkur Aerodrome. After crossing Doddaballapur, take a right on Doddaballapur-Hindupur road to reach Ghati.
Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple and Muddenahalli from Bangalore: The route is the same as taken for Nandi Hills. Cross Devenhalli on NH-7 highway and take a left towards Nandi hills. After some time you will reach Karahalli cross. Here turning left will lead to Nandi hills and right will take you to Nandigrama, where the Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple is situated. Going further on this road will take you to Muddenahalli.
Note: If you are traveling by bus then you get plenty of KSRTC buses from Majestic towards Nandigrama and Chikballapur. The travel time takes about 2-2.5 hours and you can get an auto or private buses at Chikballapur to take you to Muddenhalli and Nandigrama.
Where to eat?
You can have lunch at Ghati Subramanya temple. If you don’t wish to stop over for lunch then you can try these eateries on NH-7 highway in Chikballapur; Hotel Shantisagar, Sandarshini, Truptisagar etc. If you plan to stay overnight then you can try the accommodation for tourists at Nandi hills or try Lodges like Green valley resort and Casa Cecilia (farm stay near Ghati) near Doddaballapur.
Accessibility: The roads to Doddaballapur and Chikballapur are in good condition. The driving is pleasant in Bangalore-Hyderabad highway NH-7. You can easily take elders and children along with you for visiting the temples.