Bull Temple - Bangalore
Pilgrimage In Karnataka - Beckoning All Faithfuls
Karnataka is a state embellished with few of the most divine temples in India. Most of the temples in Karnataka were built during the reign of Vijayanagara dynasty and Hoysala dynasty. Not only are they hugely sanctified and sacred, their architectural elegance and grandeur are second to none. The intricacy and precision with which the carvings are done on the walls of the temples, is something that can be seen nowhere else. There are temples that are so grand and exquisite, it is said that even gods refused to stay in them as they found it too beautiful to stay in. With the magnificence they possess, temples of Karnataka have also become a great tourist attraction. Karnataka cannot be segregated into areas that are more religiously important and areas that are less important. The reason being, almost every nook and corner in Karnataka, has temples and that are immensely significant. Some temples like Mookambika Temple in Kollur are situated in nature's lap, surrounded by picturesque surroundings. Far from chaos of cities, such temples provide the divine feeling, that one comes for looking on a pilgrimage in Karnataka.
Major Pilgrimage Sites
Badami Cave Temple
Badami Caves are situated in the northern side of Karnataka. Badami was once the capital of Chalukyas. The place is famous for the magnificent rock cut cave temples. There are in all four cave temples of which two are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one to Lord Shiva and the fourth one is a Jain temple. All the caves have exceptional carvings that make them a must visit. Cave 1 is the oldest carved temple built around year 578. The main features of the cave are the paintings of the ceiling. Image of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is shown there. Lord Shiva is depicted as Nataraja with 18 arms. Lord Shiva is also shown in 81 dancing posses. Cave 2 and 3 are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Both the caves have some of the most exquisite carvings of Lord Vishnu and his incarnations. Cave 2 has images of Lord Vishnu as Vamana and Varaha whereas cave 3 shows Lord Vishnu as Narasimha, Varaha, Harihara and Trivikrama. The precision of the carvings will surely leave you mesmerized. Cave 4 is a Jain temple with an image of Lord Mahavira in the sanctum. You will also find carvings of Padmavathi and tirthankaras.
Mookambika Temple, Kollur
Perched in the valley of great Kodachadri Peak at the foot of the Western Ghats, Mookambika Temple is situated on the banks of ever running River Sauparnika. The temple is at a distance of 130 Km from Mangalore and is in a place called Kollur. Mookambika temple is among the seven most sacred temples in Karnataka called Seven Muktishala Pilgrim sites. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mookambika. Inside the Sanctum Sanctorum, there is an old Jyotirlinga which is kept in front of the image of Goddess Mookambika. It is said that the metal image of the goddess was installed here by the great Hindu religious leader Sri Adi Shankara. It is also believed that he performed penance here. The temple has gold plated crest and roofs covered with copper tiles. The temple is visited by pilgrims from all over the world.
Situated in the capital city of Bangalore, Bull Temple is one of the most easily accessible temples in Karnataka. The temple is dedicated to Nandi Bull, the guard of Lord Shiva. The temple houses a 4.6 meter tall image of Nandi bull. The statue of the bull is carved out of one single boulder. It is believed that River Vishva Bharati originates from the feet of the statue. The temple was built by Kempe Gowda in the 16th century. Although non Hindus are not allowed inside the temple, they can enjoy the beauty of the Dravidian style temple architecture from outside itself. On all weekends, music concerts are organized in the temple.
This is among the most important Jain pilgrimage center in India. Shravanabelagola is a small town which is famous for the gigantic statue of Lord Bahubali. It is situated between two hills called Chandragiri and Indragiri. The statue is perched on top of Indragiri hill at an altitude of 3000 feet above sea level. From the top, one can enjoy the mesmerizing view of Shravanabelagola Town at the foot. Rising to a height of 18 m, it is the highest monolithic statue in the world. The statue of Lord Bahubali was installed in the year 988 by Chavundaraya, the minister of Rachamalla Sathyavakya of Ganga Dynasty. Number of Pilgrims reaches its highest during the 'Mahamastakabhisheka' festival. This is a Jain festival that is held every 12 years. On the day of the festival, the statue of Lord Bahubali is bathed in milk, sugarcane juice and is applied with saffron paste. At the end, the statue is showered with flowers from a helicopter. The festival was last held in the year 2006 and is next scheduled in 2018.
Rosario Cathedral, The Church of the most holy Rosary, is one of the oldest Churches in Karnataka. Build by Portuguese in the year 1568, Rosario Cathedral has a turbulent past. In the period between 1784 to 1799, Kanara region saw a massive use of force against Christians by Tipu Sultan as he suspected them of infidelity against him. He ordered the arrest of all Christians in the region and took them captive to Srirangapatna. He destroyed 26 of the 27 churches in the region. Rosario Cathedral was among the destroyed one. In the year 1910, the ruins of the church were flattened and construction of a new and grand church was commissioned. The Roman styled Church is situated in the Mangalore district and is easily by road.
Not many states in India are as much blessed as Karnataka. With the number of temples of the state, there are no better place for a pilgrimage. Giving you an insight into the world of divine, Karnataka lets you loose all your past, enjoy the present and look into the future.