Sri Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, popularly called the Gavipuram Cave Temple, is one of the finest examples of rock-cut architecture in India. This renowned shrine is situated at Bangalore, in the state of Karnataka, India. The temple is quite known for its mysterious stone discs found in the forecourt. The temple is built in such a way that the sun’s rays falls at a particular spot during a certain time of the year.
About the Temple
The Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple is regarded as one of the oldest temples of Bangalore. This cave temple is believed to date back to the Tretha Yuga. The deities are present inside a cave (known as Gavi in Kannada) as a swayambu. This historically significant shrine stands protected under the Karnataka Ancient and Historical Monuments, and the Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1961. Located amidst hilly terrain, the temple is an amazing natural rock formation. It is believed that great rishis like Gautama and Bharadwaja had performed penance here in these caves.
Yet another specialty of the temple is that the idol of Lord Eshwara and the Nandi, is said to have emerged on their own (Swayambu). The temple and its deity are found facing the direction east.
The temple is most popular for its incredible architecture that allows the sun’s rays to fall exactly in between the two windows and the Nandi’s horns, thereby shining just on the deity. This phenomenon happens every year on the day of Makara Sankranthi, which is celebrated on January 14. A large number of pilgrims visit this cave temple every year to witness this unique event.
The temple covers an area of 300 ft by 200 ft and was renovated during the period of the local chieftain Kempegowda. Interestingly, Kempegowda is also is also known as the founder of Bangalore. The 14-pillared temple Mantapa (hall) is built according to the Vijayanagar style of architecture.
Many of the temple’s structures including the trishula dhamaruga (a drum attached to a trident), a couple of monolithic pillars called Suryapana and Chandrapana, the towers on the rock outside the temple and a stone wall on the adjoining Harihararaya Gudda were installed during the Kempegowda period. Another fascinating fact about this temple is the unique paths found within the cave. There are totally two paths where one of those paths leads to the temple town of Shivaganga while the other path leads to Kashi. Apart from the idol of Eshwara with the river Ganga springing from his head, there are also Durga and Parvathi temples inside the cave. On going around the shrines of these deities, we shall come across the sanctum of Sapthamathruke, Sridevi and Bhoodevi .
Apart from these idols, there is also the idol of Agnimurthi, which comprises two heads, seven hands and three legs. Offering worship to this deity is said to cure a person of all eye related ailments. All Mondays and the day of Shudda Pournami falling in the month of February, are considered the auspicious days here. An Annual car festival is also held on the occasion of Shudda Pournami.
In treta yuga, Maha Risis Gautama and Bharadwaja offered their morning prayers at Varanasi, the afternoon worship at Gavi Gangadhara and the evening Pooja at Sivaganga. This fact stands as a testimony to the divinity of Shree Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple. Thus the temple stands as one of the sacred landmarks of Bangalore. The third Prakara of the temple has two paths leading to Kasi and Sivaganga.
The Gangadhareshwara temple is a cave shrine where underground water (Ganga) falls (dhara) at the divine base of the Linga all through the year.
The temple is quite ancient and is said to be from the pre-Pallava era, though the Pallava rulers are said to have played a major role in crafting the temple. The temple further attained glory during the time of Kempegowda, who is believed to have renovated the temple around 1542. He is also credited to have built the Gopura, along with the surrounding stone walls.
The architectural marvel of this cave temple can be witnessed on the day of Makara Sankranti day during the dusk from 5:25 to 5:40 PM. This is the time when the sun’s rays pass between the horns of Nandi present in the sanctum and touches the deity's base. This occurrence gives a golden hue to the Linga. Those witnessing this divine event are believed to get relieved from all their sins.
Yet another unique feature of this temple is that the Dakshina murthi is seen facing the south, a feature which is not seen other temples across the state of Karnataka. Idols of sages Gautama and Bharadwaja, Lord Chandikesvara, Lord Shanmukha and Kalabhairava are present in the Prakara along with two scupltures of Ganesha on either side of the sanctum. There are totally 33 finely chiselet sculptures in the subterranean levels. The Vrishabhavati River is believed to flow through the temple, whose water is collected in a small grinding stone.
On the auspicious Maha Sivarathri, the Lord is seen adorning the diamond kavacha (tegument) durings in the evening. The last Monday of the Karthika Month (mid Nov to mid dec) and the Brahmotsava held on the Magha star of this month, are also the other important days of worship here.
The Maha Shivarathri is the most important festival celebrated here. Special rituals begin as early as 5:00AM and lasts till afternoon 1:00 PM. Sacred rituals such as Ksheerabhisheka, Gangajalabhisheka, Panchamruta Abhishekas, Rudrabhisheka, Mahanyasa poorvaka Rudra Japa, etc are performed to Lord Gangadhareshwara (Lord Shiva). Thousands of devotees usually throng to this temple to worship Lord Gangadhareshwara and to seek his divine blessings.
How To Reach Shree Gavi Gangadhareshwara Swamy Temple
The nearest bus stop includes Ramakrishna Ashrama Bus stop, Syndicate Bank Bus stop and Ganesha Bhavana Bus Stop, where the BMTC buses usually halt. The temple lies at a walkable distance from these bus stations.
The closest railhead is the Bangalore Central Railway Station.
The nearest Airport is Bangalore International Airport.
Shree Gavi Gangadhareshwara Swamy Temple,
Gavipuram Guttahalli, Bangalore,
Karnataka - 560 019.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.
The temple is generally open from 7:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 5.00 PM to 8.30 PM.