Sunday 28 April 2013

When a Goddess alighted from an elephant

The Goddess was flying through the sky on her elephant and when she saw a serene and beautiful spot in a thick forest, she came down and took rest. She then took off again, but this time without the elephant as her Savari or  vehicle.
The elephant slowly merged with the surrounding landscape and today there is a huge boulder which bears the painting of an elephant. This painting was one among the many rocks of a small park which has come up at the spot.
The road too is known after the pachyderm and the temple of the Goddess too is almost diagonally opposite the painted elephant. If the elephant rock is on one side of the road, the temple to the Goddess is on the other side of the road.
This is the Ane Bande or Elephant Rock road of Jayanagar, which is an important junction for vehicle coming from South End and proceeding to Jayanagar 3rd Block, Jayanagar 4th Block and the Shopping Complex.
This road is perhaps the only one that can be described as an ode to an elephant.
According to legend, Goddess Patalamma, one of the four local deities of Bangalore, was astride her elephant and passing through the sky when she saw a spot in today’s south Bangalore. She alighted from the elephant and spent some time in the forest and this is the place where the Ane Bande road passes through.
She again took to the skies after some time but she was without her elephant which then dissolved into the rocks. Over time, locals of the area drew the picture of an elephant on the rock and also consecrated the Patalamma Temple across the road.
There is a small temple of Bhavani Shankar adjacent to the elephant rock and several smaller rocks which are believed to be part of an elephant herd. The temple was consecrated by Shantaveera Mahasawmi on November 6, 1994. It was built by a local corporator Bangaramma.  
Today, both Patalamma temple and Ane Bande or Elephant Rock road are inseparables. The Elephant Rock Road begins from the South End Circle and joins the 9th main road, Jayanagar 3rd Block.
When Jayanagar was formed in 1948, some builders wanted to take over the land around the elephant rock. One of the builders employed two engineers to get the rocks removed. The story goes that the engineers died and since then nobody has dared to touch the rocks.
The Patalamma temple a few decades ago was the village deity of five villages around Jayanagar — Nagasandra, Kanakanapalya (area around RV teachers College), Siddapura, Byrasandra and Yediyur. In the early years of the 19th century, it was the deity of  fourteen villages.
The temple is more than 500 to 600 years old. The fire-sacrifice ritual, that is held once in three years, is famous. Devotees throng to the temple on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Within the temple premises are two long pillars with another stone joining them at the top with iron hooks. This is the swing of Goddess Patalamma and she sat on the swing when she alighted from the elephant.  The swing today is used on ceremonial occasions. Close to Patalamma temple is another small temple dedicated to Maha Ganapathi.
At the junction of South End Circle and Elephant Rock Road is the  Southern range of City Central Library. This is one of the oldest libraries in this area and it was established way back in 1969.
Today, very few remember the history of the road and it is slowly being transformed from a totally residential area to a place with business and commerce.
Interestingly, the road that continues after South End circle is called Patalamma Temple Street. This comes under Basavanagudi.

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