Bangalore is rich in religious and spiritual cultures, which can be seen in the numerous religious places echoing Kannada art, culture and tradition. Bangalore is also the home of many of India's spiritual gurus.
Here are the most popular religious and spiritual places of Bangalore.
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Built in Dravidian and modern architecture, with imposing granite steps, the ISKCON temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna
. It's located on a seven acre hill known as the 'Hare Krishna Hill'. The temple one of 40 ISKCON temples in India. It's an amazing combination of glass and gopuram, a blend of contemporary and ancient styles.
2. Bull Temple
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The 16th century Bull Temple, built in Dravidian style, is located in Basavanagudi. It has a four and a half meter (15 foot) tall, six meter (20 foot) long, mammoth monolithic bull that's carved out of a single granite rock. It was constructed by Kempe Gowda. An important festival of Karnataka, called Kadalekayi Parishe (Groundnut Fair), is held at the temple during November-December, when farmers offer their first groundnuts to the sacred bull.
3. Someshwara Temple
Located at Ulsoor, the Someshwara Temple is one of the architectural masterpieces of the Chola dynasty, with a striking feature Rajagopuram
(tower). A huge pillar, known as Dwajasthamba
, is also placed in front of the temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva
4. Banashankari TempleThe unique feature of the Banashankari Temple, built in 1915, is that its deity is worshiped during Rahukala -- usually considered by Hindus to be the most inauspicious time of the day. The temple can be found in Kanakapura Road. It's more crowded with devotees on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
5. Naganatheshwara Temple
The anicient temple of Naganatheshwara (Lord Shiva), built by the Cholas, is said to be 1,200 years old. It's located in Begur village, off Bangalore-Hosur Highway, 13 kilometers (8 miles) from Bangalore. It's believed to be the first place where an inscription records the city's ancient original name of 'Bengaluru'. During the festival of Maha Shivratri
, devotees throng this temple to perform pujas
and stay awake the whole night. Another important festival held at the temple is the Car (Chariot) Festival, in April.
6. Saint Mary's Basilica
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Saint Mary's Basilica can be found opposite the Russel Market Square, in Shivaji Nagar. Originally started as a small chapel by the French in 1818, it's one of the oldest churches in Bangalore. The present structure was built in 1882, and was elevated to the status of Basilica in 1973. The architecture of the church is Gothic style, with splendid interiors and decorated stained glass windows. The most important day of the Church, Saint Mary's Feast, is celebrated on September 8 every year. At this time, the devotees throng the church to get the blessing of Virgin Mary. A car procession is also held during the feast.
7. Infant Jesus Church
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Located in Vivek Nagar, Infant Jesus Church is one of the oldest and famed churches in Bangalore. Irrespective of caste and religion, devotees flock to the church to experience the amazing power of the Infant Jesus. Built in 1979, the shrine is known as a place for miracles and divine solace. The fame of Infant Jesus is widespread. Special Novenas are held here on Thursdays. In 2005, a new church adjacent to the old shrine was inaugurated and opened for devotees.
8. Saint Mark's CathedralSituated on MG Road, Saint Mark's Cathedral is the oldest Anglican Church in Bangalore, built in 1812. The church is made in a beautiful colonial structure, with an elegant dome over a semicircular chamber. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Calcutta in 1816, and rebuilt in 1927 with stained glass work, elaborate woodwork, and ornate carvings.
9. Jumma Masjid
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Located in the busy City Market area, Jumma Masjid is the oldest mosque in Bangalore. This five storied building, built around 1790, is also the largest mosque in the city. It can accommodate over 10,000 people its prayer hall. The mosque an architectural marvel with elaborate Jali work and floral motifs. Its exterior of pristine white marble dazzles in the sun. During festival times, this magnificent mosque is lit up in the night and radiates with a divine aura.
Perched on a small hillock and spreading over a large area in Kanakapura Road, the Ashram of the Art of Living was founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. It's a great spiritual center and offers the Art of Living Course. The Art of Living is all about leading a normal and enjoyable life, amidst all the tensions and stresses that inundate living today. People come here to listen to the Guru and learn the technique of coping with life through this Course.
The second of Sri Sathya Saibaba's ashrams, Brindavan is located in Whitefield, 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Bangalore's city center. It was inaugurated on June 25, 1960. Every year during the summer, Sri Sathya Sai Baba stays at this ashram for nearly three months.