India, also referred to many a time, as the country of temples has scores of enthralling temples, many of which are over 1000 years old. It is indeed amazing that we have these temples that remain as a symbol of our rich culture, heritage and legacy.
One such ancient yet beautiful temple, right outside of Bangalore is the Ranganatha temple in Chikkaballapur.
Just about 60 km from Bangalore, the temple also called “Rangasthala” is located on the way to Gauribidanur from Chikkaballapur. An architectural marvel, the structure of the temple is splendid and has been built predominantly in the Vijayanagar style with influences from the Dravidian school of architecture as well.
Dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, the main deity is about 4 and half feet long and is carved out of a single “Saligrama” stone. History has it that the idols of this temple as well as that of Srirangam and Srirangapatna were installed on the same day.
A unique feature of the “Garbha griha” or sanctum sanctorum is that, it is in the shape of a bamboo basket.
As you take a “Pradakshinam” or encircle the sanctum sanctorum, a small opening that allows sunlight can be seen. We were given to understand that the rays of the sun from this opening fall directly on the feet of the deity each year on Makara Sankaranthi in January. It is truly incredible to learn that such engineering marvels were planned and executed flawlessly during the ancient times.
The hall outside the temple has exquisite pillars with some of the most stunning sculptures depicting the fine craftsmanship of the yesteryears once again. The tower or Gopuram of the temple is also in the Vijayanagar style and is a symbol of intricate workmanship.
We had a quick stop over at Devanahalli fort on our way back which was a perfect end to a great day trip.
Rangasthala is about 6 km from Chikkaballapur on Gauribidanur Road. At the village of Thippenahalli you will see an arch on the right with a signboard leading to the temple. You can plan to visit this place along with the Bhoga Nandehwara temple that is just over 10 km away. Coupled with a visit to Muddenahalli, the birth place the great Sir. M Vishweshwaraiah, the vicinity of Chikkaballapur is a definitely an exciting option for a day trip from Bangalore.
This post was originally published on 'Rashminotes'.