Karnataka is by far one of the most illustrious Indian provinces, occupying the largest portion of southern territory. Its capital, Bangalore, is a city of contradictions, a perfect amalgamation of spiritual and modern.
Even though it’s considered to be the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, Bangalore has not given up on its glorious (and long) history. From bustling markets to solemn temples to their many gods, people of Bangalore still pay homage to ways of their ancestors, while at the same time working for a brighter, high-tech future in their Electronic City just outside of Bangalore.
It’s quite often that tourists who come to visit a great many temples of India tend to avoid Bangalore. When you think about its grand, contemporary titles and dedication to IT, it is quite natural to feel like there’s little room for soul searching. However, the truth cannot be further from that, as there are dozens upon dozens of shrines and temples in this megacity. Sometimes, it takes a little more time to uncover their locations, and it’s even more difficult picking the right ones to visit. But when you do, you’ll know true architectural grandeur, very often unique from temple to temple. If that is exactly what you’re looking for, you must pay a visit to this picturesque city.
Before you do though, take a look at our selection of 20 famous temples in Bangalore to visit the next time you’re there. Not only will you not be disappointed with what you’ll find, but there’s also a good chance that you’ll feel the urge to discover the rest of Karnataka. No one would blame you!
Famous Temples in Bangalore
1. Banashankari Temple
Banashankari Amma’s place of worship, this spectacular temple is located on Kanakapura Road. If you come on a Tuesday, a Friday or a Sunday, you will learn the true meaning of worship. This revered goddess has a huge following, and people come in throngs to pay their respects. It was finished in 1915. On Rahukala, many devotees come and pray to Banashankari Amma to remove hardships and troubles from their lives.
Architecturally speaking, the temple is very simple, yet there is a lot of beauty in that simplicity. The square sanctum has supporting pillars on all sides and idols who observe visitors from the roof.
Worshippers also come here to celebrate Dashera festival in October and the anniversary of the temple during Pushya Maasa. Banashankari Amma’s birthday is celebrated on September 13th with a huge, delicious feast.
2. Bull Temple
Better known locally as Dodda Basavana Gudi, the Bull Temple occupies a prominent position in the spiritual realm of Bangalore. Kempe Gowda built the temple in the 16th century and dedicated it to Nandi, a Hindu demi-god. Nandi is often portrayed as a bull, which he is, and the meaning of his name is ’joyful’. Today, you can see it on a road bearing that same name, Bull Temple Road.
Dodda Basavana Gudi was constructed when the Vijayanagara style dominated Hindu architecture. It features a small, rectangular shrine with a porch and it houses the Nandi monolith. It is said that Nandi was made out of single granite rock, and it is the largest idol of its kind in the world reaching 5 metres in height!
3. Chokkanathaswamy Temple
One of many homes of Lord Vishnu, Chokkanathaswamy temple is by far one of the oldest temples in Bangalore. It was constructed in the 10th century by Cholas, and it is the perfect representative of their architectural style. This means there are magnificent, inscribed pillars in Tamil language, carved with perfect accuracy.
The location of this sanctuary is Domlur, next to the airport of Bangalore. It might not seem like such a spiritual place, having the proximity of the airport in mind. However, the truth is far from it, as many devotees claim they feel the energy of their prayers manifesting! Considering all the tales surrounding this place, it might be best you visit it yourself. After all, Chokkanathaswamy is one of the most famous temples in Bangalore and most followers of Vishnu agree!
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4. Dharmaraya Swamy Temple
Dharmaraya Swamy temple is unique in many aspects. First of all, it is the only one of its kind in the entire country of India. By that, we mean that it is the only temple to Pandavas, with architecture that is also slightly different from other temples.
One of the most important festivals taking place here is Bangalore Karaga. It is a celebration of the power of good over evil and symbolises the power of women. Worshippers dedicate it to Mother Goddess Draupadi.
The style of architecture is a combination of Vijayanagara, Pallavas and Gangas influences. The sanctum belongs to Gangas while carved chambers resemble Pallavas style. The fourth stage of the temple was only finished in the 20th century. With all four stages of the temple being completely different and unique, it is no wonder that it counts among the most famous temples in Bangalore.
5. Dodda Ganesh Temple
Located at the same complex as Nandi, that it to say in Dodda Basavana Gudi, this temple also hides a massive monolith. Even greater in size than Nandi is the monolith of Lord Ganesh, with dimensions that reach 6 metres in height and a bit more than 5 metres in width. It’s also supposedly made of just one rock and is quite an attraction. Tourists and devotees alike come here and enjoy the spectacular form of Lord Ganesh. Many festivals take place here, most notable being Ganesha festival. At that time, the Lord takes on different forms, or avatars, the most famous of them being Benne Alankara. This avatar is completely covered in butter! Coming here will be an excellent treat and a great photo op!
6. Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Temple
Among the largest, most amazing temples in Karnataka is Dwadasha Jyotirlinga temple. Not only is it among the biggest temples in the entire state, but it’s also perched on one of the highest points in Bangalore. Known as Omkar Hills, this part of the city prides itself on Dwadasha Jyotirlinga, as it should. The name of this place bears a lot of significance. Dwadasha means ‘12’ and Jyotirlinga is ‘lingam of light’. In Hindu, lingams usually direct us towards reverence of Lord Shiva, as is the case here. The entirety of Omkar Hills is covered in shrines and temples, so if you’re looking to have a true spiritual journey, head up there.
7. Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
Every year on Makar Sankranti, the light will fall on a hole of Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple in Bangalore and shine directly on Shiva Linga. For those who haven’t heard of the term before, ‘lingam’ is a votary, abstract representation of the god Shiva. Shiva’s devotees flock to this temple in Gavipura to pray and worship their god.
The design of the Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple is that of the Vijayanagara empire, which is about right considering that it was Kempe Gowda who built it.
Besides boasting peculiar Vijayanagara architecture, Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple also hosts revered idols. One of the most important idols to see here is the idol of Fire God Agni, who is just one of the aspects of Surya Narayana, the Sun God.
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8. Halasuru Someshwara Temple
Another great example of Vijayanagara style, only on a slightly smaller scale, is Someshwara temple in Ulsoor, Bangalore. Historians consider it to be one of the oldest temples in the city, and it is dedicated to Shiva.
Beneath the reconstructions that were obviously conducted in the Vijayanagara period lies a Chola heart. The same is true for many other temples in Bangalore – they deviate from the original design due to reconstructions and upgrades. This is sometimes a necessary step in order to prevent significant damage to the structure.
The pillar of Someshwara temple is its most recognisable feature. They are decorated with images of deities, making them one of the highly regarded landmarks. We advise you to come and visit it and bask in its glory. The temple is open to visitors from 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening.
9. ISKCON Temple
In the northern part of Bangalore, there exists a temple so modern, yet so incredibly spiritual. ISKCON, or The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, have finished their amazing structure in 1997. It is not just the spiritual centre of Hare Krishnas – it is also a cultural one. They have their own theatre called the Vedic theatre, an exhibition area, museums, lecture halls and many other things of cultural significance.
The construction bears the signature of Neo-classicism, and the whole complex is located at Rajajinagar. When combined with the cultural complex, they occupy seven acres, covering quite a decent area. At night, ISKCON shines with beautiful, glimmering light that can be seen from afar. It’s a stunning place that’s quite worth your time.
10. Kailasa Vaikunta Mahakshetra Temple
Kailasa Vaikunta Mahakshetra temple is yet another temple to the revered Lord Ganesh. It hosts a huge idol of Lord Vishnu. He is, as usual, represented in a sleeping position, lost in the dissolution of space and time. However, he is always ready to provide answers to mortal beings that come to him with questions. That’s what most of the legends about him say!
He is lying down and looks like he is sleeping. The idol itself is huge and is one of the most interesting places to see in Bangalore. Droves of tourists pay him a visit and come to gaze in the majesty that is the great Lord Vishnu.
11. Kanyakaparameshwari Temple
Famous for its Darpana Mandira, or mirror temple, Kanyakaparameshwari temple in Kumara park is a work of art. It is fabled for amazing application of marble and its rich selection of murals. These murals depict scenes from the holy text known as Bhagavad Gita in a unique and understandable way.
The temple is dedicated to goddess Kanyakaparameshwari. She was venerated after preventing a war from happening and potentially saving thousands of lives. She also taught people that brute force is not the way and that a change of heart is needed to avoid unnecessary confrontation. It’s now completely understandable why many people propelled her to the rank of a goddess. The mirrors also make a lot of sense, prompting us to take a good luck at ourselves and see the truth. It’s such a majestic experience, and it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular temples in Bangalore.
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12. Kote Venkataramana Swamy Temple
Unlike many other popular temples in Bangalore, Kote Venkataramana Swamy temple is not that old and does not stem from Cholas. It is a mix of Vijayanagara and Dravidian styles, the latter of which can best be recognized in animal figurines. Tourists should look for Kote Venkataramana temple in Krishnarajendra Road. King Chikka Devaraja built it in the 17th century and dedicated it to Lord Venkateshwara.
The structure of this temple is fairly straightforward in that there is a sanctum connected to the inner hall by a vestibule. There, you will find decorated pillars and sculptures of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Above the temple, a large, detailed Sikhara, or tower, rises magnificently in a display of its might. The temple is located right next to the old fort, which is how it got the word ‘Kote’ in its name.
13. Mukthi Natheshwara Temple
One of many temples to Lord Shiva, Mukthi Natheshwara (Shiva’s other name) temple stands proudly in Binnamangala. It greets visitors with a couple of steps, leading up to a corridor bounded by columns. You can see the immense influence that Cholas architecture has left on many temples here. Their attention to detail and meticulous application of curves and shapes is breathtaking. Small, white towers grow from the top of the temple, the front one hosting an idol of Lord Shiva himself.
Inside of this amazing structure, you’ll find inscriptions etched into the walls of the temple. They tell the story of people, the temple and their mutual history. As we’ve already mentioned, there is a great number of temples to Shiva, but few are as appealing and interesting as this one. Naturally, Shiva has a large following, which is a smart thing to do especially if someone bears the title of ‘The Destroyer’.
14. Nageshvara Temple
Found in Begur, Bangalore, Nageshvara temple is another place of great cultural and historical importance. Devotees come to pay their respects to Lord Vishnu here. They revere him as the supreme being, the protector and guardian. One of the symbols used to represent Vishnu is the lotus flower. This is why you’ll find the ‘lotus platform’ at the centre of the temple, surrounded by granite pillars.
It uses a particular style of architecture with a square sanctum and a vestibule that leads to the closed part of the temple. The inscriptions inside are of immense cultural significance. They pass the story of King Ereganga Neetimarga, who rule in the 9th century, on to the visitors. It might be one of the earliest recordings of the city of Bengaluru. Nageshvara temple should be on your list for that very reason!
15. Puncha Mukhi Ganesha Temple
Lord Ganesha has yet another glorious place of worship to his name in the Bangalore metropolis. This one is a bit outside of the city, on Mysore Highway, but it’s so enchanting that it’s simply worth the visit. This white marble structure has been built quite recently and is a sight for sore eyes. On the top of the temple, there is a huge statue of the Elephant God Ganesh with five heads!
There are many temples and shrines in Bangalore, each more beautiful than the previous one. It is obvious that spirituality is a big part of these people’s lives, and anyone visiting the city should pay attention to these exotic structures. After all, who could reject a chance for a profound, spiritual experience that this land is so accustomed to?
16. Ranganathaswamy Temple
You’ll find Ranganathaswamy temple in the very heart of Bangalore. The part of the city where the temple is located is called Chikkapete, on a street that bears the name of this very temple. Unlike plenty of other temples in Bangalore, Ranganathaswamy employs Vijayanagara style of construction with obvious influence by Hoysala. It can best be seen in granite pillars and the way they were carved in. Vijayanagara style is most noticeable in strong walls surrounding the shrine itself. Decorated pillars show horsemen charging into battle and mythical creatures such as hippogriffs.
Many a festival takes place here throughout the year. Ranganathaswamy temple definitely attracts a lot of attention, so much that volunteers are often hired to manage the crowds of worshippers that congregate here. They come to pay their respects to Lord Ranganathaswamy. He is often portrayed as lying down, smiling and blessing those seeking wisdom.
17. Shiva Temple
One of the more prominent destinations for travellers on a spiritual journey to Bangalore is a huge idol of Lord Shiva. This humongous 65-feet white marble idol sits in the meditative pose, casting its mighty shadow on visitors below. That’s more than 20 metres in height, quite an impressive feat of form. You can look for this awe-inspiring place of reverence on Old Airport Road, a residential area in Bangalore.
However, Lord Shiva is not alone. He is accompanied by Lord Ganesh who stands 32 feet high and is no less mighty than Shiva. You can also find a Shiva Linga here, which is 25 feet tall. These three idols emanate power and glory that all those who come to visit can feel. Such a place is worthy of your visit, and you would do well to pay your respects here.
18. Shrungagiri Shanmukha Temple
Lord Shanmukha goes by many names in India – Kumara, Muruga, Subramanya, Skanda etc. Take your pick! But he is better known for the aspect he represents – war. He is one of the most commonly celebrated deities in South India, making this temple very important. Visitors can find it in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, and trust us when we say that it’s impossible to miss.
The base of the temple is not really a good representation of temple architecture. A better way to describe it would be to compare it to a grand mansion, both in size and shape. However, it’s not the amazing architecture that attracts people to this Shanmukha temple. It’s the fact that his six heads are protruding from the roof of the temple and rising into the sky. Considering the elevation of this location, it’s no wonder that the six heads can be seen from afar. Shanmukha’s white face and crown are decorated with gold, portraying his lordship and divinity to perfection.
19. Sugreeva Venkateshwara Temple
The Hindu epic Ramayana tells the story of an exiled monkey king called Sugriva who aided Lord Rama. He fought against his brother in order to reclaim his wife and he succeeded with the help of Rama and Hanuman. After he got his wife and lordship over vanaras back, he helped Rama rescue his wife Sita.
Today, in a temple complex on Balepet Main Road in Bangalore, you can come and worship two gods: Lord Sugreeva and Lord Venkateshwara. Hence, the name of this place of worship, combined to house two venerated beings. Moreover, Sugreeva idol is two metres tall and quite an amazing sight! For that reason, if you plan to visit temples in Bangalore, make sure to stop by. Marvel at this amazing structure and its architecture, including incredible attention to detail. It is open from 6 in the morning to 8 at night.
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20. Surya Narayana Temple
Sun temples, or in other words, temples to the sun god Surya Narayana are very rare in modern India. That makes the temple in Domlur so much more relevant and worthy of visiting. Being a fairly new structure, Surya Narayana temple attracts less attention from tourists than it deserves. On the other hand, pilgrims and Surya’s followers come to pay their respects in droves. Moreover, this is especially true when the time comes for an annual celebration when visitors can see the sun god’s personal 10-metre long chariot!
As far as architecture is concerned, this grand temple has got both the style and the size of more traditional temples. Moreover, it replicates the design of structures that sprung up by the river Kaveri a long time ago. Great workmanship and attention to detail both describe this temple and tell a modern story of this great country’s history.