Golden shrine: The Bangaru Tirupathi temple.Photos by the authorKolar’s very own Tirupathi

There are many ancient temples dedicated to the deity of Venkateshwara or Balaji in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and also in Karnataka. While the Chikka Tirupathi temple in Kolar district is well known, the shrine in Bangaru Tirupathi is not very well-known outside the State.

The Bangaru Tirupathi shrine is situated in Kolar district and draws large numbers of devotees, particular on Saturdays. It is situated near Bethamangala, which is 28 kilometers from Kolar. The road that leads to the town is in a poor condition and needs immediate attention.

One has to travel six kilometers from the Bethamangala bus-stop before reaching the entrance of the temple. The area is covered with trees and could well be converted into an eco-tourism hub. Inside the complex are many structures including the pushkarni (temple pond), mantapas and the gopura. Inside the pond, there is a small mantapa used during special occasions and a beautiful idol of Sriranganatha resting on coiled ananthanaga (snake) on the top. In the small gopura, there are idols of Vishnu and other divine figures.

It is from this spot that the staircase to the main shrine starts and the giant statue of Garuda (Vishnu’s vehicle) is located on the top of the entrance. The small shrine dedicated to navagrahas is on the left. There are many halls built for those taking the stairs to rest along the way. At the top is the small but main sanctum sanctorum. From the hilltop, you can catch a glimpse of the breathtaking surroundings. Much like the famous Udupi Krishna temple, devotees will have to catch a glimpse of the deity through a small window.

There are six small holes and according to the temple history, it represents sadaripus (six enemies) of mankind. These are kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya. Legend has it that sage Bhrigu was ignored by Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha and felt insulted. In a fit of anger, he kicked on the Lord’s chest, but after that incident he realised his mistake and performed penance here. The Lord is said to have appeared in this hillock and offered a glimpse of him through the crevices among rocks here, and ever since it became a place of pilgrimage, according to mythology. The idol is two feet in height and stands in front of the smaller idol of Goddess Lakshmi. There is a temple of Goddess Padmavathi, which was also installed by sage Bhrigu.

How to get there

Bangaru Tirupathi is situated in Kolar district, six kilometers from Bethamangala, which is 28 kilometers from Kolar town. Kolar is 67 kilometers from Bangalore.