Kolar district is full of historical temples ranging from the Gangas, once upon a time in the 4 th century AD it was capital of the Gangas, then Gangas moved over to Talakad, Cholas defeated them in the battle @ Kolar and the Gangas moved away. Kolar is a semi arid zone which can become quite sultry during the summer. One of the unique features of Kolar district is prevalence of Persian tanks which are rare sight. A huge medical hospital and college of Devraj Urs is located just on the N H 4. Presently the NH 4 is on a massive upgradation into four lane all along the route. It is better to drive carefully in the night, many accidents take place on this route due to misjudgement. Let me just give a preview of the ancient temples.
KOLARAMMA TEMPLE Kolar : This temple is located just after the bus stand one should seek guidance if one enters through the town, there is a Methodist church and a lane in between leads to the temple, on the left hand side. The architecture of the temple is very unique, luckily the temple has been under the protection of ASI. Most of the temples which have been left to private trusts have been plundered and destroyed. Melkote is a classic example. Even the gold ornaments adorning the deities have been stolen. The Gangas have built this Temple during the 11th century. On the enterance a massive doorway is filled with sculptures and dance poses of apsaras and menakas. The finesse of the artists are commendable. Maybe these artisans were the pioneers who later on passed their skills to the generations who created the magnificient edifices at Belur, Halebid and then culminated @ Hampi. The façade of the temple is filled with epics.
SOMESWARA TEMPLE : Kolar One of the finest Vijaynagar era temples, they wanted to outclass the Ganga rulers. In their quest, they have built a gopuram in the enterance which marvel unrivalled. One does not feel like leaving the place if one keeps studying the artisans imagination. The presiding diety is a Shiv Linga in the temple, and there are other structures one looks like a dancing mantap, which occasionally backed up for marriages too. It is so elegant one feels that one should tie the knot and enact one’s marriage for sake of history. The temple’s architecture is superably laid out in such a small area.
KURUDUMALE MAHAGANPATI TEMPLE : It is located before the Mulbagal town around 11 kms on the left there is a signage of Karnataka tourism which guides to the main temple, which is Mahaganapathi temple. We were lucky to find a family performing the abishek to the temple, which is almost on the verge of collapse. We got an information that V. Hegde has promised funds for renovation, otherwise this magnificient temple is in ruins. I hope renovation work is carried out to preserve this ancient temple from the Chola period.
SOMESWAR Temple ( Kurudumale )Another temple which is in pristine condition is located before the main temple. The temple priest can be little extracting type, one has to be careful. But he has a encyclopedia of knowledge on the history. He was pointing to a carving on the pillars and telling us that the king was a man of few words, ( Chola king ) He used to direct his architect with the temple plan, budget and time frame to complete the edifice. This has been beautifully carved out on the pillars. A number of other deities statues which may have been uprooted in the secluded temples beyond the compound wall is placed inside the main time of the durga diety.
SRIPADA NARASHIMA TIRTHA (Mulbagal) Enroute to Tirupathi one gets to see this place on the outskirts of Mulbagal right on NH4. We went into the temple and had a dharshan of the Venugopal swamy temple, and there is a bridavan, and Narashima teerta kund with some history behind it. The Pejawar mutt is connected to Sripada Brindivan, total of 15 bridavans are present. Somehow I was not very comfortable because it seemed to be a secluded society for the caste members only. We may caught at the wrong time during lunch time where everybody was busy enjoying their meals, and the main hall for darshan was closed. One does find lot of information on the internet regarding the activities of the community and the mutt. So I need not dwell in detail in this travelogue.
RAMALINGA TEMPLE ( Avani) It was the ancient capital of the cholas and they have built a beautiful edifice, but most of the statues have been stripped away by either vandalisers or smugglers to be sold abroad. The main Shiv Linga is worshipped in the temple and this temple seems to be predecessor for Kotilinga temple. There are any number lingas surrounding the temple and on top of the Lav Kush hills. There is a Basava theerta stal one has to trek or go up to the main road and park their vehicles and trudge, our guide helped us to check out this exclusive spot, which is missed by many a tourists. The spring from the water is in pristine condition and is being used by the local villagers for their drinking purpose. ( one find frogs floating on the pond which not a downer for villagers maybe they purify the water much more than chlorine.)
SHANKAR MUTT Avani A wonderful Sharada Devi is the presiding diety at this temple. It is located just next to Ramlinga temple. We wanted to avoid this place but destiny bought us back to this temple after the climb to Lav Kush Hills. My camera battery ran out and for re-charge we spent nearly 30 minutes, and the poojary gave us a preview on the history of the temple. The poojary was repenting the fact that there are very few girls in the Haveck Brahmin community. Most of them are educated and prefer to marry well settled boys in other profession. The solution to this problem can be bought forth if the poojaries form an association and fix the fees levels for various poojas. It has to be open and transparent other there is general mis trust of the public. Hindus are generally averse of spending money on poojaris. The discipline of having archana ticket which is as low as Rs 2/- can be issued, parking tokens can be issued by temple and pooja items can be sold with minimum profit etc. Temples have prospered where there is no collection by poojari, because devotees according to their level of affordability contribute to the hundis or buy pooja tickets.
BANGARU TIRUPATI There is a short cut route from Avani to Bangaru tirupathi, which is of recent origin. It was built in 1964, it can be assumed an old temple was updated to current temple. A small Balaji is installed on the hilltop, which is to be viewed thorough a stone mesh. It is ornamented with gold. A parking ticket is issued in the enterance for vehicles along with archana ticket which is only Rs 2/- Another temple is the Padmavathi temple which is located diametrically opposite. Lot of landscaping is under progress in and around the temple.
KOTILINGESWAR TEMPLE Bangarpet : This place is supposed to be filled with 1 crore lingas, so far they managed to install around 80 lakhs, which I doubt very much. However we have trust what is dished out to us in good faith. The mission is to complete installation of 1 crore linga. I presume devotees are encouraged to sponsor installation of Lingas, which I failed to check out. There is a Sai baba meditation hall, and devi, Vishnu, Bramha and Maheswar statues in the premise. The huge Linga and Nandi is embedded to the ground.
We just managed a hetic one day trip, I was tired to the core driving, shooting and trekking. We had covered a distance of 280 kms from morning 6.30 upto 10. pm. But it was a heady feeling that we could pack adventure with religious tour. The total cost of the trip was well under Rs 2000/- inclusive of food, dharsan and fuel.