Last Friday, (October 2nd) was a holiday in India called Gandhi Jayanti in celebration of Gandhi’s birthday. This year he would have turned 146. It is recognized around the globe as the International Day of Peace by the UN.
Gandhi Jayanti is a bank holiday in Bangalore, so I used my day off to explore some of the many temples which are scattered throughout the city. I searched online, found a top ten list and discovered most were located within a few kilometers of each other, so I packed my water bottle and set off on foot in search of beautiful architecture. Temples come in all shapes and sizes, but most are small, with one to two rooms for prayer around an idol of one of the deities. They are typically decorated with ornate, brightly painted carvings and statues on the roof.
I also learned that temples are closed on holidays. Oops…good to know. I still got to see the outsides, though! The only temple which was open was the Bull Temple, which was the last stop on my list. I would also wager to say it was the best.
I learned afterwards that it is bad luck to take pictures of the deities…but I didn’t know any better at the time, and there were many other people taking pictures. My rule is that if locals are doing it, it must be okay. Now I know. I guess they’ve resigned to the fact that tourists will be tourists. Here is my forbidden photo:
Upon entering the temple, a man rings a bell and put a red mark on my forehead. The bull idol, called Nandi Bull, is in the center of a small room. Nandi Bull is over 12 feet tall and takes up much of the space – there is a small path all the way around the idol and some small idols on a shelf in the wall for prayers.
Legend says that the Bull Temple was built to appease a bull that used to destroy all of the peanut crops in the area. After the temple was built, it is said that the bull stopped ruining the farms. To celebrate, the local farmers organized a Peanut Fair near the temple, which still happens today. Many people visit either to pray or as tourists every day; it is one of the most visited temples in Bangalore.
Here are some of my favorite pictures of other temples around the city
Beautifully painted and hand-made decorations along the top are customary
Small prayer station across the street in honor of my favorite elephant god – Ganesha.
This hand-carved door is amazing
Some of the statues on top of the Bull Temple
Skyline in the distance
This is one of the brightest-painted temples I have seen
Prayer station with flower offerings near the Bull Temple