Wednesday 6 February 2013

The Ranganathas around Bangalore

Two Fridays ago, one of my acquaintances dropped into our house in Jayanagar. They had come from Yelahanka and they were planning a visit to the Ranganantha Temple at Magadi.
While we were discussing the best route to Magadi and what to take for the trip, a common friend of ours from Chennai, who had come by, sought to know whether there were any other Ranganatha temples.
He said he had seen the Ranganatha Temple in Magadi just two days ago and he was unwilling to make a trip again. Let me know if there is another Ranganatha Temple, he said.
He also wanted me to guide him to place where he could also trek, enjoy nature’s beauty and to spend some time without the maddening crowd.  
I suggested the Ranganantha Temple at Kalkunte which is 35 kilometres from Bangalore. When he sounded interested in knowing more, I promised him to email details about the place and the temple. He also wanted  me to email details of  other Ranganatha temples near Bangalore so that he could pick and choose.
I emailed the details and modified them for the post here. Here are the details.
The Ranganatha Swamy temple of Kalkunte is 35 kms from Bangalore, It is located between Kolar and Bangalore and it is in Kolar district.
There is an interesting legend behind the consecration of the idol. More than 300 years ago, some villagers here had a dream in which they were asked to proceed to Vakalekere lake in Kolar and bring back an idol which was buried in earth.
The villagers went there and to their surprise found the idol which they brought back to Kalkunte and consecrated.
The Ranganatha here is in Ananthasayana pose. He is with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.  On the right is a sannidhi of Ranganayaki and to the left is an idol of Andal.
Take the Old Airport Road and proceed towards Marathahalli. Cross the Hope Farm in Whitefield and take a right at Channasandra and go towards Saniatamallasandra.
When you reach Ettukodi village, ask for Kalkunte Agrahara.

Another  Ranganatha temple is in Rangastahla in Chikkabakllapur district. It is 57 kms from Bangalore. This is one of the oldest temples in the area.
From Bangalore travel to Gauribidanur and ask for directions there. Rangasthala is five kms from Gauribidanur.
The temple was constructed by Vijayanagar kings. Here Ranganatha appears as if he is in a bamboo basket. There is a legend connecting Vibheshana, the brother of Ravana,  to the deity here.


The Ranganatha temple of Magadi is perhaps the most famous of all Ranganatha shrines in and around Bangalore.
It is also called Beleyo Ranga as the idol here keeps growing. It was built by the Cholas in the 12th century when it was known as Lakshmi Ranganatha. The gopuras were built by the Vijayanagar Emperor  Krishnadeva Raya. They were later renovated by the Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar of Mysore.
Magadi is 50 kms from Bangalore and it is well connected by road. It was once the capital of Kempe Gowda.
TG Halli, Savandurga and several other areas are very near Magadi. 


According to a legend, sages Mandavya and Vasistha installed the idol of Vishnu or Ranganatha here.
The beautiful statue of Ranganantha is flanked by Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. On the right side of the temple hall,  is a reclining statue of Ranganatha.

Rangaswamy Gudda

The Rangaswamy Gudda is 80 kms from Bangalore and it is on the outskirts of Kunigal in Tumkur district. The Ranganathaswamy Temple is atop a hill called Rangaswamy Gudda.
A flight of 400 steps lead to the temple. Drive from Kunigal on national highway no 48 towards Bilidevalaya village. Continue on the same road for three kms after which you will see a huge entrance arch. Follow it and after two more arches you will reach the hill.
The idol is better known as Bettada Ranganatha Swamy. He is seen leaning on his left hand. Lord Ranganatha is represented by a solid stone pillar in the sanctum sanctorum with his figure  reclining at the base.
According to a popular legend, the pillar was discovered more than 300 years ago in a field. The villagers wanted to place it on the top of the hill, but could not lift it due to its heavy weight. A few days later the villagers found that he pillar had been moved to the top of the hill. They found two lizards near the pillar and attributed the transport of the pillar to the lizards. From that day, the deity also came to be known as Uda Moodida Ranga.

Hikkallappana Betta

This is one of the lesser known hills in Tumkur district. It is just 66 kms from Bangalore,    
It is also known as Kurmagiri Kshetra as the main idol in the temple is in the form of a tortoise or Kurma avatar  of Vishnu. The deity here is of Venkataramana but he is popularly called Hikkallappa here.
The original black granite idol is made of Saligrama stone. This idol is consecrated at a level lower than ground level and hence you have to bend if you want to see it.  
There is another idol of  Balaji, which was installed in 1999. It was presented by the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD)  of Andhra Pradesh which has recognised this temple as one of the 108 sub-shrines of the original deity at Tirumala.
Both Hikkalappana Betta an Bettada Rangaswamy are a trekker’s delight. The hill here is 1650 feet in height.

Another famous shrine of Ranganatha is in Mahimapura near Nelamangala in Bangalore district. This probably is the only temple where Garuda is the main deity in addition to Ranganatha. This is the only place in India where Garuda is worshipped in the form of an idol.
Hence this temple is better known as Garuda Ranganathaswamy temple. The temple is modeled on Chola lines and the temple is situated atop a small hillock. The steps are steep and there are 300 of them.
You can see the beautiful Shivaganga hill almost exactly behind this hillock. There is a Hanuman temple at the foot of the. The idol is twelve feet in height and it is made of a single rock.
The pooja to the Ranganathan is performed only in the mornings. There is no pooja during the night as legends have it that several sages come here in the night and perform pooja.
The idol of Ranganatha is on a naturally formed jaggery shaped rock. This is just 45 kms from Bangalore. Take the Bangalore-Tumkur road till you reach a signboard saying Mahimapura.
Another little known Ranganatha temple is in Tavarkere in Tumkur. The idol here was growing and the local people placed a small boulder or Bandi to stop Ranganatha from growing further. Since then, it is known as Bandi Ranganathaswamy. This is 122 kms away from Bangalore and the journey by road takes more than two hours.   
There are several other Ranganatha temples in and around Bangalore. The most famous, of course, are the Ranganatha Temple in Srirangapatna and at Shivanasamudra.
(The Ranganatha temple of Thattekere and at Kanakapura is covered separately).  

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