Basavanagudi is one of the oldest localities in the dynamic metropolitan of Bengaluru. The name Basavanangudi in the local language Kannanda, means the Bull (Basavana) Temple (gudi).

Situated atop a mountain, the temple was built in the 16th century, during the Vijayanagara Rule. The temple is relatively small in size, but houses one of the largest Nandi sculptures in the world. It boasts a monolithic statue of deity Nandi, which is 4.5 metres tall and 6 metres long. Carved from a granite rock, the sculpture reflects Dravidian artwork.

The pages of history tell us that the area now called Basavanagudi was an agricultural village called Sukenahalli, consisting of groundnut fields. It is believed that an enraged bull would ruin the groundnut crop year after year. Legend says that a farmer, frustrated with the rampaging bull, hit it with a club. The stunned bull sat still and started growing bigger and bigger.

The frightened farmer prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva asked him to retrieve a trident (small iron plate) buried in the earth and keep it on the bull’s forehead to prevent it from growing further. The farmer did accordingly and the bull disappeared mysteriously. A huge stone idol was found in its place in the hillock. Since then the farmers in the area, offer their first groundnuts to the sacred idol. Even now one can see the trident placed on the forehead of the bull. Legend has it that the Nandi appeared in the dream of Kempegowda and he was asked to built a temple where the idol was located.

Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the five hundred year old temple, but one can get a clear view of the Dravidian style temple architecture from outside itself.  The temple has an impressive gopuram (tower) which is adorned with relief figures on all the sides.  The 4.5m tall and 6m long mammoth, monolithic bull carved out of a single granite rock facing north, in a crouching position is supposed to be older than the temple itself.

There is a belief that the source of the river Vishwa Bharti originate at the feet of this statue.  At the base of this statue, there is an inscription dates back to the 17th century. Entry to the temple is free.

Every year during the last week of November or the beginning of December, ‘Kadalekayi Parishea’ (Ground nut Fair), a festival to celebrate the harvesting of peanuts is held here for two days. The fair falls during the last week of the Karthike month of the Kannada calendar. Ground nut farmers from all over Karnataka pay obeisance to Nandideva and offer ground nuts, which is believed to give them bountiful crops.

There is also a small Lingum shrine at the back of the Bull temple. Dodda Ganesha Temple at the foot of the Nandi hill, holds a magnificent image of the Lord Ganesha around 10ft high and 15 ft covered with 100’s of kilos of butter. The butter is distributed as prasada (God’s food) every four years.



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