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One of the most visited religious sights and attractions in Bangalore, St. Mary's Basilica at Shivajinagar, never sees a dull day. Built in the year 1875, the church pays gratitude to Mother Mary who was believed to have cured the plague that struck the people residing in a village called Billi Akki Palli. She was thus called Annai Arokiamarie or 'Our Lady of Good Health' by the local people. The church in the 1800s had been subjected to vandalism when the structure was damaged. According to some stories, it is believed that they were unable to demolish the smaller statues and had been blinded by a flashing light. The church with its Gothic architecture and typical stained glass windows with a steep spire was built by a French man. Besides this, the premises also has a stall that sells religious books, articles, and souvenirs. The most famous event here is the annual feast that takes places in the month of September every year and is celebrated with great fanfare by the faithful.
Built on what was an old Eidgah ground by Mohammad Abdulla Basha in 1981, this imposing mosque pays ode to the beauty of Islamic architecture. The mosque is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and fountains, reminiscent of characteristic Islamic layouts. Domed arches and pillars that end in mounds are part of the construction, while cryptic Islamic calligraphy adorns the walls of the mosque. The surrounding grounds are typically used for Haj camps, while the mosque itself attracts potential pilgrims into its doors during the Haj season.
Renovated in the year 1852, the Holy Trinity Church building with its arresting entrance and lofty tower impresses the first time visitor with its glorious beauty. All of these architectural elements can be traced back to typically English Renaissance influences. More that just a place of worship, the church was stationed by the British Army for the Queen's Battalion associating to the Bangalore Cantonment region. The church inside has separate pews for army officials, while the altar is flanked by silver painted angels and stained glass on either side. The hymns and prayer services arranged are a solace to every disillusioned soul. Holy Trinity also organizes the 'Annual Thanks Giving Day' in November, and runs community welfare activities for the needy and underprivileged. Located at the far end of the Mahatma Gandhi Road, this church is close to Ulsoor too.
The Visvesvarapuram neighborhood in Bengaluru city is dotted with a number of significant temples, and the Sri Vasavi Temple is one such temple dedicated to Sri Vasavi Kanyakaparmeswari. Intricately designed ornate wooden doors and the stunning gopuram (monumental temple towers), sufficiently impress the first time visitor who seeks divine blessings for prosperity and health. The holy sanctum enshrines the beautiful stone idol of Goddess Vasavi which is adorned with precious ornaments and fresh flowers. As the prime deity of the Arya Vysya Community belonging to the Hindu religion in India, this temple is dearly loved by its ardent devotees.
With a history dating back to the 17th Century, St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral was built by French missionaries in India. The magnificent stone building with arched windows and white domes, make it a mesmerizing sight to behold. On stepping inside, there is an almost palpable peace and tranquility that prevails. Apart from many charitable activities, 'St. Anthony's and St. Rock's Primary School' too was built for the welfare of the community. The church conducts a number of events throughout the year. To organize these better, there is a youth center, conference hall and a parish hall too within the enclave. Just near the cathedral, is the Shrine of St. Anthony and St. Rock which is known to possess healing powers. So let your prayers be answered here, at the St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral in Cleveland Town.
Set in the neighborhood of Ulsoor, Sri Kanyakaparameshwari Devasthana is a temple that has an air of serenity to it. Also, known as 'Sri Vasavi Kannika Parmeswari', Goddess Vasavi is the kuladevi (prime goddess) of the Arya Vysya community from India. This exquisite temple was built by the local Arya Vysya community members. Intricately designed deepas brighten the holy sanctum and create a stunning golden yellow halo effect on the idol of the divine Goddess. There are daily poojas (Hindu worships) conducted, and an eager lady at the threshold sells fresh flowers for temple offerings. Sri Kanyakaparameswari Devasthana is located in the middle of a busy bazaar yet uncannily provides a deep solace within its confines.
One of the oldest temples in Bengaluru, the history of the Sri Someshwara Temple dates back to the reign of the Chola and Hoysala kings in the 12th Century. Built by Kempe Gowda, this temple is dedicated to Lord Someshwara, also known as Lord Shiva. The artistic ascending gopurams (monumental towers) with stone carvings and motifs are influenced by the rustic architecture of the historic Vijayanagara empire. Hardly to miss is the tall stone column of this temple known as the dhwajastambha which is often photographed by awestruck tourists. These columns are erected right in front of most of the Hindu temples. Apart form the main sanctum for the Shivalingam, there are stone idols of other Hindu deities too. The Shivaratri Festival attracts numerous worshipers year after year when devotees travel from all over to worship Lord Shiva and seek his divine blessings.
Built more than a couple of decades ago, cherubic angels adorn the door of the Infant Jesus Shrine in Bengaluru. Once inside the house of God, it is easy to slip into a state of tranquil and forget one's troubles at least momentarily. Pray with devotion and your prayers will never be unanswered here. Many devotees from across the country keep visiting this miraculous shrine time and again to seek the blessings of the 'His Divine Infancy'.The mass services here are held in English and local languages too. Novenas and 'Annual Feast Day' celebrations are enjoyed by all. There are regular services and prayer.
The Dodda Ganapathi Temple is easily one of the most unusual and eye-catching temples in the city. The legend goes that Kempegowda I, who founded the city of Bengaluru, was on a stroll when he found a rock that had an etching of Ganesha on it. At his behest, an idol was carved out of a single stone and it is this that is now enshrined within the Dodda Ganapathi Temple. Devotees believe that the miraculous idol grew to its monumental size all on its own from the humble sculpture commissioned by the king. On the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi , a week-long festival venerating Lord Ganesha, the idol is dressed in a variety of ways on each day, the most impressive being Benne Alankara which involves slathering the monolith with a staggering 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of butter. A richly ornamented gopuram marks the entrance of the temple, watching over the scene from a towering height.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Sri Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple has been declared a heritage site by the Government of Karnataka. With 2 entrances to the temple compound, the courtyard has 4 impressive monolithic structures which stand for the trishul, damru and 2 fan like objects. An idol of Nandi (vehicle of Shiva) is placed at the entrance and in the evenings, small lamps called diyas are lit in front of the idol. The main sanctum is underground and one has to hunch over and move about like in a cave. The idols comprise of Venkateshwara, Ganapathi, and Agni (the fire god). On Makar Sankranti day, the temple is believed to be witness to a curious phenomenon every year wherein, the sun's rays pass through the Nandi's horns onto the Shiva Linga for about an hour. Many pilgrims flock here to be part of this grand spectacle as well as to pay obeisance at the temple.
With its origins dating back to the 16th century, the historically significant Bull Temple or the 'Dodda Basavana Temple' is perhaps the most famous temple in Bengaluru. In fact, the neighborhood- Basavanagudi derives its name from this temple, as Basavanagudi in Kannada means Bull Temple. The monolithic stone idol of Nandi lies majestically upon the crest of the Bugle hill in Basavanagudi. Fifteen feet high, this is one of the biggest Nandi idols in the world which was constructed by Kempe Gowda who formed the city of Bengaluru. The ascending gopuram (monumental tower) was built in the true Dravidian style. The sacred Nandi bull is worshipped by several devotees and the farmers offer their harvest to it each year. These offerings see a festive occasion called the 'Groundnut Festival' or 'Madalena Parishe' or 'Kadalekaye Parishe'. The Bull Temple is a must visit both for its historical importance and to show devotion to Nandi, the sacred vahana of Lord Shiva. It is situated near the Doddaganapathi Temple.
The 17th century built Kaadu Malleswara Temple is the genesis of Malleswaram in north-west Bengaluru. Kaadu in Kannada means forest, which is exactly what surrounded these temples centuries back. There are a number of smaller temples surrounding the main temple which enshrines the holy sanctum of Lord Shiva. Sri Gangammadevi Temple, Nandi Kalyani Temple and Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple are a few to mention. The entire complex is purified with the homas and pujas, which are rituals performed by Hindu worshipers. There are some very important homas organized too wherein, the pandits are called from across the country to recite from the sacred texts. In one of the temples, there is a Nandi from which the Cauvery river's water flows miraculously and incessantly. Recently renovated, the new main gopuram (monumental tower) amidst the old forest makes it a must visit in Malleswaram. Kaadu Malleswara Temple attracts more devotees especially during the occasion of Mahashivratri.