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Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple, the 9th century shrine of Lord Shiva

The complex has two shrines – Arunachaleswara and Bhoga Nandeeshwar. Aunachaleswara was built by Gangas belonging to Talakad and is situated to the south of the complex; the Bhoga Nandeeshwar as constructed by Cholas and is located to north.

Shiva is one of the oldest Gods being worshipped not just in our country but all across the globe. Today, let us take a look at one of the most beautiful temples on South India, dedicated to Him. The Nandi Temple or Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple is a beautiful temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located at the base of Nandi Hills, it is one of the few archaic temples in the country which is truly very well preserved. The grandeur & the intricate carvings on the temple front are something special.

The Nandi Temple dates back to the 9th-century and is also one of the oldest temples in the state of Karnataka. The temple complex now comes under the management of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and is open to tourists.

History | The Nandi Temple is a 9th century monument dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to the oldest inscriptions, it was built during the Nolamba Dynasty. They were installed by the ruler of Nolamba, Nolambadiraja and Govinda III, the emperor of Rashtrakuta. There are also copper plates of Jayateja and Dattiya, who were the Bana Rulers in early 9th-century.
 

Later, the temple came under the control of many dynasties ruling South India after the Nolamba Dynasty; (some of them were Ganga, Chola, Hoysala and Vijayanagara dynasties). The rulers of Mysore Kingdom &bChikaballapura chiefs controlled the region in the post-medieval era. The British took over the area in 1799, after Tipu Sultan’s death.

Architecture | The temple complex was built in the 9th-century & is a depiction of Dravidian / Hoysala type of architecture. The complex has two main shrines – Arunachaleswara and Bhoga Nandeeshwar. Aunachaleswara was built by Gangas belonging to Talakad and is situated to the south of the complex. The Bhoga Nandeeshwar as constructed by the Cholas and is located to the north.

Bhoga Nandeeshwar shrine has a sculpture believed to be built in honour of Chola King – King Rajendra. There is another small shrine dedicated to Uma-Maheshwara. This shrine has a kalyan mantapa / marriage alter supported by intricately carved black stone pillars. These pillars have reliefs that depict mythological stories about Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi, the Fire God, Lord Bhrahma adorned with other images in bas-relief.

The shrines have pilasters on outer walls, and stone windows are decorated with Hindu Gods. The two main shrines have a sanctum, a mantapa, a sukanasi, shikharas, a huge lingam and a tower with a sculpture of Nandi. A granite pillared hall is in between the two major shrines. The pillars have relief structures of maidens attending the Gods and the Goddesses. It is said that the Arunachaleswara temple depict the childhood stage of Lord Shiva while the Bhoga Nandeeswara shrine represents the youth of Lord Shiva.

The third, Uma-Maheshwara shrine, represents the third stage : the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
 
Also Read | Aihole’s 1000-year-old Mallikarjuna temple
 
Here, you will also find a temple tank located at the north of the temple complex. This side of the temple complex also has a mantapa which the pillars support. The tank has descending steps and is also called the Pushkarni / Kalyani. This tank is decorated with lamps during festive seasons, as it is believed that the tank is a source of river Pinakini.

Author : Kinjal Dixit

Courtesy : News Bharati

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