Visit to Someshwara Temple Halasuru (Ulsoor), Bangalore
More than a week back British Prime Minister Theresa May visited Someshwara Temple Halasuru in Bangalore. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The news surprised me. She is second among foreign leaders to visit this Hindu Temple in Bangalore. Prior to her in 2012 Canadian PM and his wife visited this temple. They even exchanged garlands and reaffirmed their marriage for the second time. And I was like – my own city and I haven’t visited the temple yet! Definitely it must be a significant one. So the following week, that is last Sunday I rushed there to make up for my ignorance.
Faith is like that – It brings people from miles away to reaffirm what one believes! I was impressed and touched beyond words when I saw the local newspapers splashed with pics of her in Indian attire, Saree. British PM Theresa May walked in to the temple bare feet, led by two main pujaris (priests of Hindu temples). She offered her prayers in the most traditional way.
History of Someshwara Temple, Halasuru
Several historical records mention this temple belongs to Chola period. Chola reign extended from 3BC to 12AD. When exactly, in which year it was built is not mentioned anywhere. At least I could not trace it out. Please do update if any of you happen to know the exact year. There are several legends around this temple connected to its origin.
Legend: Kempe Gowda, while on a hunt, rode far away from his capital Yalahanka. Being tired, he rested under a tree and fell asleep. The local deity Someshwara appeared to him in a dream and instructed him to build a temple in his honor using buried treasure. In return the chieftain would receive divine favor. Kempe Gowda found the treasure and dutifully completed the temple.
This was published in the “Gazetter of Mysore” in 1887, by Benjamin Lewis Rice.
Tour of Someshwara Temple Halasuru, Bangalore.
Bangalore has several Someshwara Temples (dedicated to Lord Shiva). The one British PM visited is in Halasuru (Ulsoor) 37kms from Kempegowda International Airport. And this temple is 6kms from the place I stay. As I approached it through the narrow by lanes of Halasuru, I could see the gopuram (gate of temple) peeping out slowly. The high rise buildings around has dwarfed the temple. Residential houses have come up close to temple boundary wall. It is mighty impressive that more land around the temple has not been devoured by land sharks here yet. (BTW, Halasuru is also famous for being the first British military station in 1807)
The temple has long wooden doors in a granite frame. This is beautifully carved with female celestial beings.
One factor I would like to highlight is: While it was chaotic right outside the temple, once we stepped inside the temple complex it was very peaceful and serene. The high boundary walls kept the chaos outside, opens the temple courtyard to the vast sky above as if directing all prayers upwards. I liked the peace there. It was hard to believe this is part of Bangalore city. People around believe the temple is very jagrut… meaning temple with a caring God and if prayed with a sincere heart your wishes and desires are fulfilled!
Temple Complex Dotted with Shrines
Today this temple figures top in the list of places to see in Halasuru, Bangalore. Tour time of this temple can take half an hour to one hour. It is the smaller shrines there that can take time if you pause for longer in each of these. The entire temple area is dotted with several smaller shrines. I counted at least 7 of them dedicated to different Gods. This is excluding the idols embedded on the wall itself which too are worshiped with flowers and incense sticks. Luckily for me the temple wasn’t crowded. People had lined up at the temple office to purchase tickets for offering prayers to the main idol.
We proceeded inside towards to the sanctum. Right at the entrance to the sanctum is a huge Nandi (bull, Lord Shiva’s vehicle). It is made of brass and shines like gold. I saw the devotees whispering their prayers into Nandi’s ears. It is believed when Nandi recommends your prayers to Lord Shiva they are answered quickly! The main idol here of Lord Shiva in the form of lingam.
After offering prayers here we did a pradakshina (circumambulation) of this holy sanctum. And throughout this pradakshina path we saw several idols, I lost count of them. The walls are sculpted with several images. Photography is strictly prohibited in the interiors. The congregation hall is lined with several carved pillars in rows. Devotees usually sit here after offering prayers and that day too it was no different. I too sat for a while with the intention of meditating on God.
We paused a bit in the cool shade of the hall we did pradakshina of the main temple. The complex housed these small shrines:
- Kammakshanavara Temple
- Sri Veeranjaneya Swami Sannidhi
- Navagraha statues housed in a special room
- Peepal Tree
- Sri Natya Ganapati
- Sri Bala Ganapati Swami Sannidhi
- Sri Bheemeshwara Swami Sannidhi.
And at one corner there were toilets too for men and women.
Location and Address:
Ulsoor Road, Someshwarpura, Ulsoor, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560008
Someshwara Temple Open Timings:
Someshwara Temple Halasuru is open on all days. Mornings – 6AM to 12.30PM. Evenings – 5.30PM to 9PM.
How to reach Someshwara Temple Halasuru
Bangalore International airport is connected to all cities. The distance to Someshwara Temple Halasuru is 37kms can be done in a taxi or local public transport. So is the Bangalore City Junction Railway Station. This distance is 7.5kms. You can reach the temple in a taxi or by local public transport.
Travel Tips to Temple:
- Leave your footwear at the chappal stand and not at the door of the temple.
- Wear modest clothes. No shorts allowed even for men.
- Photography allowed in the temple complex but not in the interiors of the temple.
- If you believe in making offerings at temples, keep those loose coins ready. There are more than 10 shrines inside.