The famous saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" was echoing around me all week. Besides hectic work at office, my mind was craving for a recreation this long weekend. With the motive of spending time with family, I choose to explore and retreat them hill temples around Bangalore. Upon research, within 30 km from Peenya, I traced a hill temple - Shrungagiri Shanmukha temple, RR Nagar. This was a new place to me and my family. The photos and famous architecture looked fabulous on Google. So decided that this would be the first place to explore on this weekend. Gradually, it turned out one hell of a ride, as we covered four consecutive places on a single day !! (depends on your capacity :P ).
On Saturday early morning, we were excited to make this outing a memorable one. Mom prepared and packed a healthy breakfast even after opposing :P (Typical Indian mothers). Saved offline maps - check! Fuelled full tank check!. We started the journey at 7:30 am. Dad usually doesn't follow Google maps :D He knows almost all the roads of the city. Thanks to that, as we bypassed a lot of traffic.
Nearing to the temple along the NICE road, the six headed Shanmukha Gopura was visible. Google maps led us to the wrong entrance (Shakti hill resort entrance). The temple has several gates and upon the instruction of the guard, we reached the entrance of the temple at 8: 30 am. The temple view was a bliss to watch. Around 200 odd steps, Anthill structure, Trishoola, Giant six faced Shanmukha gopura... so on. Divinity with curiosity was driving in me. We braced ourselves to ascend the steps.
Brief on the place: The foundation stone of the temple was laid by Maha Guru Sri Bharati Thirtha Swamiji, Shringeri Sharadapeetha in 1995. It is believed that Lord Shanmukha appeared in his dreams and chose this hillock to be his abode. The architectural imagination and design is led by renowned Best Club Dr.R Arunachalam. Kudos to him for an absolute architecture marvel. Very well designed!! The temple is maintained by Arunachalam administration controlled by the Shringeri Sharadhapeetam
The temple is located on a hillock at a height of 240 feet on three levels dedicated to Lord Shiva's family. The salient features of the temple are as below:
Panchamukhi Ganesha temple
Two peacocks on either side adorn the temple entrance and welcomed us. At the bottom of the hill, the first sanctum we witnessed was Lord Ganesha. The idol looked different from the normal Ganesh forms.
Upon asking the priest, he explained the idol was "Panchamukhi Vinayaka" (5 faced Lord Ganesha) and "Simhavaahanaroodha" (seated on the lion). As we circumambulated (pradakshina), we noticed different roopas of the idol - Dwimuka, Trimuka, Chathurmuka through the wall openings. Photography is prohibited of the inner sanctum.
We sought the blessings and started to ascend the stairs. Further to the left, we found "Nagarakatte" in the shadows of a tree.
Shrungagiri Arunachaleshwara temple
The Giant Trishoola (Shiva's trident) surrounded by red ant hill cave structure looked magnificient. The anthill cave has two small entrances on either side that lead to "Lord Arunachaleshwara's sanctum", a form of Shiva.
We were amazed to witness the precious "Spatika Shivalinga" carved out of crystal. The Shivalinga was designed by a Chinese artist Louie Meng, which is one of his best works.
The entire sanctum is painted in red and the structures were so well designed for ventilation and light. Lord Parvathi's idol can also be found here. The place was so calm, peaceful and had an excellent ambience.
Shrungagiri Shanmukha temple
A few more steps ahead took us to the main deity's sanctum - Shrungagiri Shanmukha, second son of Lord Shiva. He is referred to as the God of war and the protector of Earth.
The priests were still performing abhisheka to the deity, so we had to wait till 10am for the darshana.
The walls of Girbagriha has mural arts depicting mythology on Lord Shanmukha and Shringeri Sharadha peeta.
On the other side, there are 500+ antique collections of Lord Ganesha idols displayed. Different forms of Ganesha, each of them were unique. It appeared as the museum exhibition with these antique pieces of art.
We had to wait patiently till 10am for the darshana. The curtains raised and people queued up for darshana. The Shanmukha with Sri Valli and Devasena looked elegant. The dieties was beautifully decorated and a divine feeling retouched us.The dhoop and arati added to more positive vibrations. Photography is prohibited inside the temple.
The deity has six faces and the opening on the back side of the sanctum provides sampoorna darshan (complete view) of the six faces. This is one more feature as no where in Shanmukha temple, we would get the darshana of all the six faces. We felt blessed as we waited for this awesome experience. The inner sanctum appears to be in the form of a chariot and was very well maintained.
Sun tracking system
Surya Kirana Abhisheka to the main deity is the uniqueness of Shrungagiri Shanmukha temple. The roof of temples fixed with a Sun Tracking System having 2 vertical and 2 horizontal sunlight sensors, the position of these sensors themselves face to the Sun from morning till evening and track maximum Sun rays at any given point of time during the day. The Sun rays thus tracked are directed on to the main deity, from any direction, enabling 'Surya Kirana Abhisheka' to Lord Shanmukha right from early morning.
Giant Shanmukha Gopura
We were eager to watch the Giant Shanmukha Gopura. Behind the temple, we can capture a better view of this great structure. The six heads represent the six rays or the six attributes i.e. Jnana (wisdom), Vairagya (dispassion), Bala (strength), Kirti (fame), Sree (wealth) and Aishwarya (divine powers). The Gopura has hollow spaces between the heads which is a good design as any strong wind passing through will come out on the other side. This withstands the Gopura for many years.
Shrungagiri Shanmukha temple is at a height of 240 feet from the ground level. The height of the temple is 123 feet, which includes 62 feet Gopura. The Crystal Dome stands at a commanding height of 42’ from the top of the Temple Gopuram, embedded with 2500 Nos. of 1’ diameter crystals. During day time, when direct Sun Light falls on the crystals, the same is converted into a beautiful “Rainbow” pattern. In the evening, the crystals are illuminated by 27 Watt LED lights, each crystal disseminating 16 colour combination lights, forming 138 patterns.
Parents were very happy as they explored this new place. This place will be more serene and less crowded on weekdays. A must go place with family and friends.
Right next to this, Karumariamma temple is located. Check out if time permits. By 10:30am, we started out to Omkar hills. which was just 15mins from here.
- Shrungagiri is in BEML Layout at 5km from Rajarajeswari Arch near Gopalan mall near Kengeri in Mysore Road. Temple Gopuram is visible from far away distance and east to reach. Using Google maps might lead to other entrance of the temple. Any localite would be happy to redirect.
- The place is accessible all types transport. Cabs to buses (might not lead directly to the entrance) are available to reach.
- The place is open from 6:30 AM to 12:30 Pm and in the evening 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM. However, the darshana is available only after 10 am (till 12:30 pm and again in the evening). So plan accordingly.
- Best time to visit would be early morning to enjoy the breeze and view of RR Nagar or evening to witness the colourful lightning of the Gopura.
- Photography is prohibited on the deity and the sanctum. We are allowed to click as many as pictures of the exteriors.
- You can also choose to donate different dals, rice, jaggery, sugar, ghee etc to the Shanmugam temple. Whatever you donate will be used to cook Prasada and will be distributed to the devotees.
- Temple trust has planned more improvements like a convention hall building is in progress, which would provide halls at economical rates for weddings etc.
- Drinking water and Toilet facilities are available.