More popular is the name KGF than the name of the place where KGF (Kolar Goldfields) is located!! Tonnes of gold had been mined for over a century, from the very gold fields in Kolar (Karnataka state, India) and naturally, the place came to be popularly known as the City of Gold. But that was some years ago. The rich yellow metal might not be available now but Kolar still is rich, with history and some marvellous temples built centuries ago. Interestingly Kolar is also popularly known as the land of silk, milk and the king of fruits, Mango! Founded by Gangas and later ruled by Cholas and then the Hoysalas, only to be taken over by the Vijayanagar empire, Kolar has seen them all. All these dynasties known for their great contribution towards architecture, it is but natural that there would be some temples that would easily attract devotees, photographers and curious travellers alike.
A day trip to Kolar is one way to enjoy a good drive out of Bangalore. In case one is looking to explore someplace and yet doesn’t want to travel a long distance, this would be an interesting option. Visit some beautiful temples, explore a quaint little town where the idols are carved in stone, eat some popular chaats, spend time driving around and drive back home…all in one day! Kolar is less than 70 kms from Bangalore, one can drive to the place in about an hour’s time.
Shivarapatna, was my point of interest! A quaint town where the idols are carved and sculpted – read my previous blog ‘Rock Talk‘. But when you have a couple of hours to spare, yeh dil maange more (this heart wants more)! So there, let me visit this temple which looks beautiful in pictures and it’s close by, I thought! Glad that I visited it. A colourful chariot grandly decorated welcomed us at the entrance of the ornate Sri Someshwara Temple. Kolar is famous for many temples, Someshwara, Kolaramma, Kurudumale Ganesha temples are just a few names that come to my mind instantly.
It was on the festival day of Holi that I had landed up at the temple. The Ratha yatra was to begin shortly and the preparations for the same was in full swing. Devotees made their way into the temple, the priests were busily readying the procession idols, the colourful palanquin was brought into the temple complex and the drums were beaten to mark the start of the procession. Lots of activities and photo ops!
Sri Someshwara Temple is a 14th century Vijayanagara era Dravidian style, highly embellished temple dedicated to Hindu god ‘Shiva’, worshipped as Someshwara. Declared as a monument of national importance, it is excellently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple Mahadwar (main entrance) has a grand gopuram (tower). The main entrance opens up into the spacious temple courtyard.
The pillared Mukha mantapa (the hall) of the temple instantly attracts the visitors’ attention. The carved stone pillars stand on the raised platform supporting the roof of the temple. It is through the pillared hall one walks into the sukhanasi or the vestibule, that connects the pillared hall to the inner sanctum sanctorum. As seen commonly in most of the South-Indian temples, the sanctum sanctorum has a beautiful shikhara (tower) with stucco work.
The utsava moorthi (proscession idols) of the deities is being worshipped in the mukhamantapa, the pillared hall.
The festive atmosphere was evident and the colorful decorations inside the temple looked fresh and inviting. It was about tme I took a stroll and saw around the temple. The temple is situated right in the middle of the open courtyard surrounded by the highly decorated Kalyana Mantapa in the south-west corner, Vasantha mantapa and the yaaga Shale. The pillared corridors and the wall running along on all sides enclose the main shrine and the courtyard.
The Kalyana mantapa (marriage hall) is an extremely attractive pillared mantapa. One of the main attractions of the temple, this Kalyana matapa has exclusive carvings and highly ornate granite pillars. Only the previous evening, the Kalyanotsva (holy matrimony) and puja of the presiding deity of the temple had been conducted in the very same kalyana mantapa, we were informed.
The temple’s outer wall is also decorated with attractive moldings, friezes of elephants, dwarfs and lions embellishing the upper moldings. Closer look at the carvings on the main entrance reveals exclusively work of art.
An hour passed by clicking the pictures, watching the puja and palanquin procession begin. Devotees gathered and the drums was being beaten, the priests signalled to begin the yatra. It was time for us to leave. Located in the heart of the city of Kolar, the temple is exquisite and a must visit while you are anywhere in or around Kolar. Antargange is also a tourist attraction around this place.
Interesting tidbits about Kolar
- Kolar was earlier known as Kuvalalapura or as Kolahala Pura.
- Kolaramma is believed to be the goddess of the city of Kolar.
- It is also famously known as the land of silk, milk and mango.
- Kannada is the main language spoken in Kolar. Telugu and Tamil languages are also spoken.
- Best time to visit would be in winters when the sun isn’t harsh but early morning visit even in the warmer season would be equally enjoyable.