The Bangalore Bull Temple is one of the most important and most sacred temples in the city. Located in the Basavanagudi area in the southern part of Bangalore, the Bull Temple is dedicated to the Hindu demi-god, Nandi, a bull. Also known locally as Dodda Basavana Gudi, this is the biggest Nandi temple in the world and one of the oldest in the city of Bangalore.
Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka State in South India. It is a growing metropolis that is particularly noted for its IT industry, which is widely recognized around the world. Bangalore is acknowledged by many as the “Silicon Valley of India” and is the hub of major local and international computer, IT and software companies. Clearly the IT hub of India, Bangalore also offers tons of natural attractions that include natural reserves, waterfalls, parks, and gardens, which is why it has also earned the nickname “Garden City”. Some tourists and expats also refer to it as “Pensioner’s Paradise”. In addition to Dodda Basavana Gudi, other major temples in Bangalore are the ISKCON Temple, Sri Banashankari Amma Temple, Dodda Ganesha Temple, Kadu Mallikarjunaswamy Temple, Gavi Gangadareshwara Temple and Dharmaraya Temple, among others. The Bull Temple or Dodda Basavana Gudi was built by no less then Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore, following Dravidian style of architecture.
What makes Dodda Basavana Gudi distinct are its gigantic bull image and the legend surrounding its history and construction. Inside the temple is an impressively huge iconic sculpture of a bull that is made from pure granite. It is believed to have been carved from a single rock. The statue is 4.5 meters tall and 6.5 meters long. Devotees have placed a small iron plate on the bull’s head to prevent it from growing. This iconic image of Nandi, a close attendant of Lord Shiva, has been worshipped by Bangaloreans and other devotees from around the country for 600 years. Worshippers cover it with layers upon layers of butter, also known as “benne” in the local language of Kannada. Nearby are the statues of Surya and Chandra on their chariots.
Legends tell of a time when a bull ravaged the peanut plantation in the area, thereby stripping the locals of their produce and livelihood. The locals believed that to appease the bull, they should construct in the area a temple dedicated to Nandi, the bull demi-god. After the temple was finally constructed, the bull stopped destroying the peanuts. The people were very joyous as they planted and harvested their first groundnuts. To celebrate the harvest, they began the Kadalekaye Parishe winter festival, which is still observed today. Also known as the Peanut Festival or Groundnut Fair, Kadalekaye Parishe takes place annually on the last Monday and Tuesday of the Hindu month of Karthika Maasa. Farmers, groundnut sellers and devotees come to the temple premises to offer their produce to Nandi. Other than the yearly event, the Bangalore Bull Temple is regularly visited by local and foreign tourists as it is a leading tourist destination in the city.