Tuesday 17 December 2013

The little known historic temple

Bangalore has several temples dedicated to Someshwara or Ishwara (Eshwara) and the most famous is the one at Ulsoor or Halsoor. The Ulsoor temple was built by the Cholas and subsequently improved upon, enlarged and renovated by the Vijayanagars and Kempe Gowda.
The Ulsoor temple is a marvel of stone and it is a tourist attraction. Much has been said and written about it but there is one more similar temple in Bangalore that has not received the attention that it deserves. Nor is this temple on the tourist map.
Though the areas where this temple is located is situated amid one of the most heavily traversed roads of Bangalore, very few people and fewer motorists care to stop and spend time at this temple.
What is more astonishing is that this temple too is built by the Cholas and it is located in one f the oldest localities of Bangalore. However, neither Bangaloreans nor tourists seems to have heard of it, let alone come to visit it.
This is the temple of  Someshwara in Madivala. The temple is said to be as old if not older than Madivala. The temple is a virtual delight for an epigraphist as its walls are full of writings and records, some as early as 1247. This was the time when the Hoysalas were dominant in this part of Karnataka and their Emperors, Vira Narasimha and Veera Someshara defeated the Pandyas, Gangas and the Cholas.      
The 1247 record refers to lands donated “'below the big tank of Vengaluru”  by a resident of  Veppur, now called Begur. This probably means that the earliest Bangalore we know existed somewhere in and around Begur-Madivala.
Today, Madivala has lost almost all its links with the past. Talk of Madivala and the only thing that springs to the mind is the Central Silk Borad Road junction and the massive traffic hold up ever day.
The road engineering here is so bad and the traffic so heavy that vehicles keep on piling up regularly and at all hours.
None of the exhausted motorists have any inclination or even desire to stop for a few minutes near the silk board junction and take in the centuries old Someshwara Temple.
The Someshwara temple is a structure in stone and large portions of its outer walls are covered with inscriptions in Tamil and Snaskrit. The script used here to inscribe writings in Sanskrit is Grantha and this is yet another proof of its antiquity.
This script was widely used between the 6th century and the 19th century mainly by Tamil speakers in South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, to write Sanskrit. This script is in restricted use in traditional vedic schools or patashalas.
Other inscriptions relate to grants made during the reigns of Hoysala king Ballala III and Chola king Rajendra. One record, from 1365, mentions a land grant at Tamaraikkirai  and this today is known as Tavarkere locality.
Apart from the inscriptions, the outer walls are sculpted with images of  various gods including Ganesha, Durga and Vishnu.
The garba griha and artha mantapa of the temple appear as they were constructed. These inner chamber is small and dark.
There is a beautiful Nandi placed in the artha mantapa. It faces the Linga, which is believed to have self manifested.
Though the temple was built by the Cholas, it was substantially renovated and repaired by the Vijayanagar Emperors.
The temple is open for worship from 7:30 a.m., to 11a.m., and again from 5:30 p.m., to 8:30 p.m.
Maha Shivratri, every February, Pradosham which occurs once a fortnight and every Monday is special for this temple.

The temple is very near the silk board junction. It is located near the Mariamma Temple and the place to alight if traveling by BMTC bus is Kuvempu Nagar bus stand.   

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