Saturday, September 26, 2009
Name : Shivagange Hill
Location : Shiva Ganga is a hill about 50 km from Bangalore, 20 km ahead of Tumkur. It’s a pretty tall hill with two Shiva temples, one very close to the foot of the hill and another, that’s possibly around 5 km uphill!
Deity : The deities are “Gangadhareshwara”, and his consort “Swarnambha”.
This place is also called as “Dakshina Kaashi” - Kaashi/Varanasi of South India. One strange happening here in Shivagange is, if you do an ‘abhishek’ of ‘ghee’ in the temple, the same ghee turns in to ‘butter’.
The place is just fantastic, with breathtaking views from the high altitudes. Brilliant are the views of the surrounding city, the nearby `pushkarini’ or pond, from the top of the hill. The unique feature of the hill is, that it looks like a bull (Nandi) from the East, a Ganesha from the West, a Linga from the South and a cobra from the North. A flight of steep steps leads to the shrines of Gavi Gangadhareshwara Cave temple and Honnadevi temple. The spring water found here is considered to be the sacred water of the 'Ganges'.
Most of the place is rocky, with railings to hold on to as you climb, and monkeys to make sure you don’t take any offerings to the deity on top.
Inside some of the rocks and even inside the temple and the deities and sannidhis, you could find some small fountains or water bodies, that never dry up throughout the year. But the most intriguing of all was a tunnel which supposedly led into the heart of Bangalore.
Other places one can visit in the same hill -
As we go up the hill, we first see the Gangadhareshwara, ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a low roof and alight only with diyas. Pujas and abhisheka are performed here. It is believed that the Abhisheka in ghee turns into butter. There is a tunnel in the Garba Griha (inner sanctum) which is believed to be connecting to the Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple at Bangalore. Nobody has tried to enter the tunnel as it is closed from both the entrances for safety reasons.
Further up on the hillock we come across the spring water, Olakala Teertha. One has to step down the narrow stairs between the rocks to find the spring. It is said that one who is pious and good can touch or feel the water.
At the top of the hill is the Nandi Statue, is a monolith placed on a huge rock .The view around the area atop the hill is mesmerizing. This is the peak of Shivagange. After this is the visit to Patala Gange.
Patala Gange is a temple built in the mountain. Here has underground spring seeping at entrance of the temple. Sometimes the water level is up to the knee length and very cold. Passing this we arrive at the Garba Griha where in we can crawl into a tunnel to make the Pradakshina to the Lord. They say the water flows here is connected at Antargange.
Queen Shantala, wife of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana committed suicide here. The drop is more than 500 ft.
It takes about 2-2.5 hours to go up and around 2 hrs to get down the hill. There is a lot of crowd on Sundays and on Maha Shivarathri. Overall, it appears to be a great place for a quick weekend trip.
* You need to carry plenty of water and a food packet as the hill is a good 2 km(approx) trek.
* Beware of menace of monkeys. Please do not take carry bags and do not litter.
* Wear a cap or umbrella to avoid the scorching sun.
* There are not many hotels or eat-out, so pack your lunch if you plan to stay longer.
* You start early from Bangalore and cover Shivagange, Namada Chilume and Devarayana Durga in one day. There is a Kamat Outlet and many more hotels on Tumkur road for food and refreshments.
Website : I have used the material from http://www.karnataka.com/tourism/bangalore/shivagange.html for this post. All the credit for this post goes to them.