Stages of Life: Bhoganandeeshwara Temple

On the outskirts of Bangalore, sits a complex of shrines dating back to the early 9th century.  This temple with its distinct Dravidian style of architecture is said to have been constructed by the Nolamba and Rashtrakuta dynasties.  Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) classifies this complex dedicated to Lord Shiva as one of the oldest temples in Karnataka.

Located at the base of Nandi Betta (hills), the complex houses the Arunachaleswara which signifies the presiding deity’s childhood, Bhoga-Nandeeshwara signifying his youth, Uma-Maheshwara signifying his marriage to Goddess Parvati and the Yoga Nandeeshwara which talks about the final renunciation.  Out of the four shrines, Yoga Nandeeshwara sits away from the complex, on top of Nandi betta.

At the right wall entrance of the complex is Mahanavami Dibba, the ceremonial throne of the ruler
Further ahead to the left are sprawling green lawns adorned on the sides with the temple’s dharmashala
The structure is in much need of maintenance but still manages to glow in the morning light
Towards the right are massive stone wheels of the temple’s chariot (seen in the background). In its heydays, this would have been attached to the wooden chariot, but now languishes in a bed of grass
The wooden chariot at the left of the temple’s main entrance has intricate carvings all around
Carvings on the back of the chariot
These feminine faces adorn the front of the chariot. It is interesting to see that voluptuousness was considered a symbol of beauty in ancient India
Behind the chariot hides an obscure Darbar Hall. Here a horse rider is carved on the stone pillars at the structure’s entrance
The archway to the temple complex that houses the Arunachaleswara, Bhoga-Nandeeshwara, and Uma-Maheshwara shrines
An Apsara figurine at the temple entrance
In the courtyard of the temple stands this tall stone obelisk. Obelisks are said to draw in the energy of the universe
Tiered pyramidal gopurams of Arunachaleswara and Bhoga-Nandeeshwara temples
The Uma-Maheshwara shrine is located behind the south wall of Arunachaleshwara shrine
Intricately carved pillars of the Arunachaleshwara shrine
Goddess Durga standing on a buffalo head on the north wall of Bhoga Nandeshwara shrine (figurines to the left)
Dancing Shiva carvings on the south wall of the Arunachaleshwara shrine
Ornate structures like this are all around the temple plinths and are used to discharge the water offering on the Shivling – the universal symbol of Lord Shiva, signifying creation
Carving of rising Kundalini on the south wall of Arunachaleshwara shrine
Two sets of Nandi Bull statues sit on the pavilion facing the two shrines of Arunachaleswara and Bhoga-Nandeeshwara
The Navagraha pedestal – a regular feature at all South Indian temples
Earthen lamps waiting to be lit after sunset at the temple pavilion
The ceremonial umbrella
This is the Tulabhadra Mantapa – large weighing scales would be attached to the ceiling and devotees would weigh their offerings on this, proportionate to their body weight
Shringi Thirtha – the temple’s magnificent kalyani or pushkarni
Reflections in the water
As above, so below

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