Stepwells have always fascinated me a lot. So when I came to know about one being present at Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple it became a must visit place for me. Located at a distance of 60kms from Bengaluru city, Nandi Hills is a very famous picnic spot for weekends. At the base of this hill is located the Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple.
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple is recognized as a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple compound is quite vast and has well-maintained greenery. A good place to sit down and relax. The whole compound is an assembly of columns with shaded space, maybe it used to be a waiting place for the general public in the olden days.
The compound area is separated from the main temple by a narrow gateway. This is where you take off your shoes and proceed inside.
History of Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple
The temple is believed to have been originally constructed by the Bana Queen Ratnavali. Later, the additions and extensions were built by the Ganga dynasty, Cholas, Hoysalas, Pallavas and finally the Vijayanagara kings.
Once inside the gates, you will be facing the Mahamantapa (main hall) a Vijayanagara empire era construction. The whole Mahamantapa is a series of colonnades leading to the two lingas. The temple is spread over a huge area and has two large shrines: the “Arunachaleswara” shrine to the south built by the Gangas of Talakad, and the “Bhoga Nandeeshwara” shrine to the north built by the Cholas. In between this two is a small intervening shrine called with “Uma-Maheshwara” shrine with a kalyana mantapa.
The phases of Lord Shiva
The “Arunachaleswara” and the “Bhoga Nandeeshwara” are forms of Shiva representing two stages in the life of the god Shiva: childhood and youth.
The “Uma-Maheshwara” shrine has reliefs depicting the third stage, Shiva’s marriage to the goddess Parvati. Hence this shrine is popular with newly-weds who come to seek blessings.
The last part of the temple is Pushkarni, the stepwell. The water is almost 15 steps down. The floor of the whole temple complex was amazingly cold and it gets colder here around the stepwell. Once here all you have to do is sit and enjoy the serenity.
Also read: Rock-cut temples of Mahabalipuram
The whole temple complex is a testimony of the brilliant Dravidian rock cut architecture. One of the most well-maintained temples I have seen till date. If you are planning a trip to Nandi hills then this beautiful temple is a must visit.