October 22, 2014

Champakadhama Temple

Site Name: Champakadhama Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu
Location:  Bannerghatta, Bangalore, Karnataka state, India
Highlights: One of the oldest temples of Bangalore
Nearest Railway Station: Bangalore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: A lot of options including luxurious and budget hotels all over the city
Restaurants: A lot of options across the entire city

Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, is the capital city of Karnataka state of India. It is called as the 'Silicon Valley of India' as all IT majors have presence in the city. Bangalore is known for its pleasant climate has a lot of tourist attractions which include parks, gardens, temples, etc. Champakadhama temple is one of the important and the oldest temples of Bangalore city. Let us explore this temple in this article.

Thousands of people visit the famous Bannerghatta National Park in Bangalore every day. However, it is unfortunate to find that not even one percentage of those visitors visit the temple of Champakadhama located on the way to the national park. Located at a distance of around 30 kms from the central Bangalore city, this temple is located at the junction from where the road to the national park starts. 


Highlights:
  • God - Champakadhama
  • Goddess Lakshmi
  • Teerth (holy water) - Swarnamukhi
  • Built in the 13th century CE
  • A Hoysala period temple 
  • One temple at top of the hill and another at the foothill

Legend:

As it is the practice to offer the champaka flower to this deity, he is named as Champakadhama.

As per the legend, the Emperor Janmejaya took bath in Kalyani aka Swarnamukhi pond which is located on top of the hill where this temple is located. After taking bath in this holy pond, he got rid of his sarpa dosha (sin due to killing the serpents) and also got golden body. Hence, the pond is called as Swarnamukhi. He installed the idol of Champakadhama.


It is believed that the forest area of Bannerghatta is the Dandakaranya where Lord Ram wandered along with his brother Lakshman and his wife Sita.

As per few people, the original temple was built by the Pandava brothers and not by Janmejaya.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple has a gigantic sever tier tower which contains a lot of beautiful stucco images. 

The temple has inscriptions dating 1257 CE. It is
believed that the temple was built in the 13th century by the Hoysala Kings. But the temple had a lot of later additions by different dynasties including the Vijayanagaras.

The huge temple complex houses only two main shrines. The sanctum sanctorum enshrines Champakadhama (Vishnu) along with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. The main shrine is wide and long; it has moolasthan, ardha mandapa, maha mandapa and the exterior mandapa. The entire shrine is located on top of a raised platform. All these mandaps have the pillars probably made by the Vijayanagara Kings.


In the maha mandapa a small idol of Vishwaksena is found.

Outside the main shrine, the flag staff, bali peetha, Garuda and even a tall stone stambha are all located facing towards the main deity.

Near the entrance, the south facing shrine of Lakshmi is found. The shrine is big and it has its own prakara and the front side mandapa.

The outer prakara is spacious and in open air. 

This temple is located at the foothill of Vahnigiri
hills. A series of steep steps would take us to the Narasimha temple on top of the hill. From here, we can have an aerial view of the outskirts of Bangalore city. The temple, though old, is recently renovated. It has Lakshmi Narasimha as the main deity. The wooden flag staff, bali peetha, stone stambha and Garuda are located facing the main shrine.

Further trekking would take us to Kalyani Teerth aka Swarnamukhi and the thick forest area. It is believed that the water of this pond has healing power. The image of Hanuman is carved on the floor where the pond is located. Once a year, the pond is emptied so that the devotees can get darshan of Lord Hanuman. 

Further trekking would take you to the hills of Suvrna Anjinaya where a Hanuman temple and few statues of serpents are found. It is ideal place for trekking and bird watching. 

Happy travelling.

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