One of the must-see attractions and places of worship in Bangalore is the Bangalore Shiva Temple. You will definitely stop in awe as you gaze at the huge image of Lord Shiva near the temple entrance. The colossal image of the Hindu god in lotus position is 19.8 meters (65 feet) tall, commanding an aura of reverence and worship even to non-believing tourists. Most visitors come to the temple (or at least near it) just for the gigantic statue. At nights, the site becomes even more spectacular as it bathes in dramatic lighting. Nearby you will see a small pond where you can throw some coins and make a wish to the god. You will see several devotees chanting their prayers to the deity, while others drop a letter to the god into a special box, a heavenly mailbox if you would. Also nearby are images of the gods Parvati and Ganesh, as well as a shrine for the Navagrahas (nine planets) and their wives.
A notable point of this temple is what it does not have. Almost all the temples you can find in South India have a tower, but not Shiva Temple. Bangalore is a South Indian city, the capital of the state of Karnataka. It is dotted with a number of temples and, therefore, has become one of the major pilgrimage destinations in all of India. Throngs of devotees, pilgrims and tourists from the country and the rest of the world regularly visit the city for religious reasons, other than for those who come simply for tourism purposes. Most of the temples in the city observe ancient Indian architecture, giving life to the country’s rich history, culture and heritage. Primarily dedicated to the Hindu gods, Vishnu and Shiva, these ancient religious structures are typically marked with ornately carved walls, stone pillars, iconic images and picturesque gateways that are sure to command your attention for a number of minutes. One popular temple, the Bull Temple, is dedicated to the demi-god, Nandi the Bull.
Other than Shiva Temple, a good example of typical South Indian temple is the 300-year-old Venkataramanswamy Temple that was built by Maharaja Chikka Deveray Wodiyar. You can fully understand Dravidian architecture as you visit and take a look at this temple’s carved stone pillars and lion sculptures. Another temple you might want to check out is the Dharmaraja Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Mahabharata hero, Sri Dharmaraja Swami. The best time to visit this temple is mid-March or early April, during the pompous and lavish Karaga festival. Local festivals and ceremonies also draw a number of tourists and pilgrims to the city.
Bangalore Shiva Temple is open for everyone 24/7. It is a very commercialized private temple, with several shops and vendors on either side. Also on sale just before you enter the temple are a variety of religious and ritual paraphernalia. Temple officials claim that the sales money go to several charities. As you move inside, prepare a few more money to pay entrance fees into the Jyotirlinga shrine and Char Dam shrine, which is an artificial cave that is filled with several images of deities.