The Bhoganandeeshwara Temple at the foothills of the famous Nandi Hills is perhaps the best example of Dravidian Architecture. It is an amalgamation of Chola, Hoysala and Vijayanagara styles of architecture.
The Temple is situated in the village of Nandi, which is just 6 km from Chikkaballapura. Muddenehalli, the birth place of Sir M Visvesvaraya is just two km from this Temple.
The outer prakara of the Temple covers a huge area. As you enter the present gate, you are greeted by lush green lawns on both the sides. The first thing you see are the remains of a gopura.
To the right is a Navaratri dibba of which only the platform remains today. On the left, is a panchalinga kalyani which is enclosed on all sides by high walls. A small door leads to the steps of this kalyani.
The Temple itself is a twin beauty built side by side. The northern one is dedicated to Bhoganandeeshwara and the southern shrine to Arunachaleshwara. Each consists of a garbhagriha, a sukanasi and a navaranga. In front of the navaranga is the Nandi mantapa. Each of the Nandi mantapas houses three Nandis. One large one, flanked by other smaller ones.
The navaranga itself houses a Nandi. Both the sukanasi and the navaranga have ornate jaalis (pierced windows). Both the shrines have shikharas which are similar in design.
There is a mukhachatuski (pillared entrance hall) which was added later on. The pillars in this hall are very ornate.
The unexpected surprise is the small intervening shrine dedicated to Umamaheshwara. In front of this shrine is an exquisite kalyana mantapa which has four intricate pillars adorned with hundreds of parrots and creepers.
The stone used in the construction of this mantapa is different from the rest of the Temple. One cannot stop marvelling at the intricate work on the pillars.
The prakara has two devi shrines, a vasanta mantapa, a tulabhara mantapa and a pond. There is a beautiful kalyana mantapa adjoining the temple complex. Many Bangaloreans prefer to get married in this serene kalyana mantapa, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Next to the kalyana mantapa is a stepped tank enclosed by a cloistered wall.
The stepped well is a common feature of most temples but they are usually not well maintained. The one in this Temple has been maintained quite well. Even though the water level is low, it is clean.
This Temple is a must visit for those who plan a trip to Nandi Hills and for all those who have a keen interest in South Indian temple architecture. It is just a 60 km drive from Bangalore. One can also visit the Devanahalli Fort on the way.
Do carry food and water though tender coconut and grapes are available abundantly.