Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple – UPSC Prelims

  • Location: This temple is located in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • Meaning of the Name:
    • The temple derives its name from the combination of topographical features and mythology: gavi (cave), and Gangadhareswara (shiva) means the Lord who adorns the Ganga.
  • Establishment:
    • It is believed to have been built by Kempe Gowda I in its present form.
  • Architecture Features:
    • Celestial Oriented Architecture: Built in Vijaynagar style, it has unique celestial oriented rock cut architecture due to which Surya majjana occurs on Sankranti every year.
    • Surya Majjana: Every year on the Makar Sankranti, the sun rays fall on the Shiv linga located in the cave (gavi) making it shine for ten minutes.
    • Two Monolithic Structures:
      • In the forecourt stand two monolithic structures, named Suryapana and Chandrapana – each consisting of a massive disc atop a supporting pillar.
      • They have engravings of sitting bulls on the discs face each other.
    • Iconography of Shiva:
      • The compound of the temple is adorned with monolith structures associated with the iconography of Shiva – the trishula (trident) and the damaru (an hourglass-shaped, two-headed drum).
      • In between the two discs there is a brass dhwajasthambha (flagstaff), and a small cubicle housing a statue of Nandi, Shiva’s bull carrier.

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