Religious Spots in Karnataka
Karnataka encompasses several ancient temples, mosques, churches and other religious spots that are visited by thousands of devotees each year. Each of these holy places has a special significance and rich history attached to it. Read on to find out about the various religious spots located in the state and the beliefs attached to them.Temples
Let us start with the various old and new temples located in different parts of Karnataka
The Mahabaleshwar Temple located in Gokarna in Uttara Kannada is one of the most famous temples in the state. It is visited by Lord Shiva devotees from far and wide. The Shivalinga placed in this ancient temple bestows blessings to those who even get a glimpse of it. The Shivratri festival is celebrated with great pomp and show at this temple. Several devotees visit the temple during this time to offer prayers.
The temple has the classical Dravidian style architecture.
Banashankari Temple, situated in Southern Bangalore, is one of the most famous temples in Karnataka. Built in the year 1915, the temple boosts of a beautiful architecture. It is believed that Goddess Banashankari who resides in this temple fulfils all the wishes and desires of her devotees. It is thus flooded by several devotees every day however, Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays hold special significance and attract greater number of devotees from various parts of the city as well as outside.
The prayers in the Banashankari temple are offered during the Rahukala which is otherwise considered as an inauspicious time for worshipping. The Dussehra festival is celebrated with great pomp and show at this temple.
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is located in Gavipuram-Guttahalli in Bangalore. It is not only known for its religious connotation but also for its beautiful Indian rock cut architecture. This ancient temple that came into being in the 9th century is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Several devotees visit the temple to worship the Shivalinga which is placed in the front of the temple.
The idol of Shakti Ganapathi that has 12 hands and the rare two headed idol of Agni, the Goddess of fire are worshipped with equal devotion. The temple especially sees numerous devotees during Maha
Shivratri and Makara Sankranthi.
Chowdeshwari Temple, located at Dasarighatta near the Tumkur district, has a panchaloha idol. Devotees from far and wide visit the temple to get a glimpse of this idol and offer their prayers to it. It is said that the devotees ask questions and this idol writes back the replies for the same. During gatherings at the temple, two villagers pick the deity and write as if they have been possessed. These people come under the influence of the Goddess and write as per her instructions to answer her devotees.
Udupi Krishna Temple
Situated at a distance of 60 km from Mangalore, the famous Udipi temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple established in the 13th century includes a splendid idol of Lord Krishna which is decorated with beautiful jewellery. It was founded by the well known Vaishnavite saint Sri Madhvacharya and has been visited by numerous Lord Krishna devotees since then. The temple is illuminated with lights and the idol of Lord Krishna is decked up even more beautifully during the Janamashtami festival.
Halasuru Someshwara Temple
The Halasuru Someshwara Temple is situated in Bangalore. The temple constructed during the 12th century is one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The founder of Bangalore, chieftain Kempegowda renovated it in the 16th century and enhanced its beauty further. Devotees do not only visit this temple to worship Lord Shiva but also offer prayers to Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. Lord Kamakshamma, Nanjundeswara, Panchalingeswara, Bhimeswara and Arunachaleswara are also worshipped here.
Dharmaraya Swamy Temple
Sri Dharmaraya Swamy Temple is an ancient temple located in Bangalore. This is the only temple in India which is dedicated to the Pandavas. It is said that the temple was built around 800 years go by the Ganga Arasu. The temple has been maintained over the years and is famous among the pilgrims. Located in the heart of the city, it is very easy to reach the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple.
Idagunji Ganesha Temple
The temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is located in the Idagunji city that lies on the west coast of India. This is one among the six famous Ganesha temples located in the country. It is visited by around one million devotees each year. The temple is decked up beautifully on Ganesh Chaturthi and special prayers are offered to the Lord on this auspicious day.
Kadri Manjunatha Temple
This beautiful temple, located in Mangalore, was initially made by Vijrayana Buddhist and Buddhism was practiced in its premise until the 10th century. However, after the fall of Buddhism, the Brahmins forcibly took its possession and dedicated it mainly to Lord Manjunatha. So the temple is rich in both Hindu and Buddhist history.
The bronze statue of Lokeshwara housed in the temple here has three faces and six arms and is around 1.5 meter tall. It is said to be the best bronze statue in the country.
Kukke Subramanya Temple
Kukke Subramanya is another beautiful Hindu Temple located near Mangalore. One of the main attractions of Subramanya village in Sullia Taluk, this temple is frequented by various pilgrims from around the country. Lord Subrahmanya is the main deity here. Devotees worship him as the lord of serpents. It is said that the divine serpent Vasuki and various other serpents hid under Lord Subrahmanya when Garuda threatened them.
The Marikamba Temple, dedicated to goddess Marikamba, a form of Durga, is located in the Sagar City in Karnataka. The temple was built in the 16th century during Venkatappa Nayak’s reign. The deity worshipped here is said to be the family deity of the Nayaka dynasty.
A 10 day fair, popularly known as the Marikamba Jathra, is held here in the month of February every three years. The fair attended by numerous devotees from various parts of the state has socio-religious significance.
Gokarnanatheshwara Temple located in Kudroli, Mangalore is popularly referred to as Kudroli Sri Gokarnanatha Kshetra. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva also known as Gokarnanatha. The temple was recently built by the devotees of Shiva.
Anegudde Shri Vinayaka Temple
Anegudde Shri Vinayaka Temple built on a hill top in Kumbashi near Kundapur attracts numerous pilgrims from various parts of the state. Devotees visit the place to offer prayers to the Lord and also indulge in other pious activities. Mahalingeshwara Temple is located quite close to this temple and is equally popular among the pilgrims. A lake surrounds this temple and the devotees offer prayers in a shallow pit where the water is collected from the Bhagirathi River.
Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple
Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple, located in Puttur, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is visited by the devotees of lord Shiva almost all round the year however the gathering is especially high on Shivaratri. Shivaratri Utsava is celebrated on a grand scale in the temple and devotees from different parts of the state gather here in large numbers to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. Songs are sung in the deity’s praise until the wee hours in the morning.
A 10 day festival, Annual Jathrotsava, is celebrated here in April each year. The celebrations run from the 10th April to the 20th of April. Various other famous festivals of Karnataka including the Pookere Utsav, Makar Sankranti, Nagara Panchami, Kadiru, Navarathri, Ganesh Chaturthi and Deepavali are also celebrated here.
Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple
Sri Manjunathaswamy Temple Temple located in Dharmasthala is one of the major attractions of this beautiful village. The place is visited by several pilgrims from different parts of the country, especially from the southern part. Dharmasthala is located at a distance of 75 km from Mangalore and is well connected via road.
Sri Sharavu Sharabeshwara - Shri Mahaganapathy Kshetra
The temple, that lies in the heart of Mangalore, was constructed about 800 years ago. The name Sharavu comes from Shara meaning an arrow. It is said that around 8 centuries back Tuluva region’s king Maharaja Veerabahu killed a cow by mistake while he was actually aiming to shoot a tiger standing right beside it. He was greatly criticised for committing this sin and on Sri Bharadhwaja’s advice he installed a Shiva Linga to erase this sin. A temple was soon built around it and came to be known as Sharavu.
Polali Rajarajeshwari Temple
The temple dedicated to Shri Rajarajeshwari is situated in Polali in South Karnataka. This temple was built by King Suratha in the 8th century. The ruling dynasties have developed and maintained it year after year. The temple boasts of beautiful architecture. Its roofs have wooden carvings of various gods and goddesses. Shri Rajarajeshwari’s idol is made of clay having special medicinal properties.
Shri Annapurneshwari Temple
Shri Annapurneshwari Temple is located in Horanadu amidst the dense forests and valleys of Western Ghats at the banks of river Bhadra. It is at a distance of around 100 km from Chikmagalur. The temple has been restored and is now known by the name, Adi Shaktyatmaka Shree Annapoorneshwari.
Sri Brahmi Durgaparameshwari Temple
Located in the splendid surroundings of Kundapura which is at a distance of 35 km from the Udipi district, this ancient temple is dedicated to Goddess Sri Brahmi Durgaparameshwari. The Goddess is worshiped in the form of a Linga in this temple.
Shri Venkataramana Temple
Sri Venkataramana Temple, famous by the name Padutirupati, is situated in Karkala which is at a distance of about 50 km from Mangalore. It is among the ancient temples belonging to Gowda Saraswath Brahmin Community. The temple boasts of traditional architecture and sees several devotees almost all round the year.Churches
Read on to know about the various churches located in Karnataka.
Bethel Assembly of God Church
Bethel Assembly of God Church, founded by Rev. Dr. M.A. Varughese in the year 1960, is one of the biggest mega churches in the country. Situated in Bangalore, it is also said to be one of the most influential churches in Asia. The campus covers an area of around 3.5 acres and includes two worship centres, each with a capacity of accommodating 3500 people. The area encompasses two bookstores and a huge parking space as well.
Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church, situated on MG Road, Bangalore, was built in 1851. It is constructed in the English Renaissance style and can accommodate as many as 700 people at a time. This was built in the year 1851 after the protests from the local English Regiment in Bangalore. It was especially built for the British Regiment and is known as the biggest military church based in South India. The church was initially named as the Holy Trinity Garrison Pastorate. The Mysore Diocese renamed it as the Holy
Trinity Church in 1965.
Infant Jesus Church
Infant Jesus Church, constructed in 1971, is a Roman Catholic Church Located in Bangalore. As the name suggests, it has been dedicated to Infant Jesus and was established to commemorate the historic Infant Jesus of Prague. A number of miracles have occurred here and have added to the popularity of this church. It initially came into being as a tent church. Its building was inaugurated in 1979. Around 10,000 people from far and wide gather here for the Thursday mass every week.
The church is also seen crowded with religious people on its annual feast day which is held on the 14th of January each year.
Richmond Town Methodist Church
Started by William Taylor in the year 1875, this is the first Methodist Church in Bangalore. The construction of several other Methodist churches in the city was inspired by this church. Richmond Town Methodist Church has various wings that cater to different segments and age groups of people. These include the Sunday School, Women Society for Christian Service (WSCS), Methodist Youth Fellowship, Methodist Men and Senior citizens Regular services are held here every Sunday and Wednesday.
St. Mary’s Basilica
This is the oldest church in Bangalore and is the only church in Karnataka that has been given the status of a minor basilica. The Roman Catholic Church witnesses huge gathering in the month of September every year during St. Mary’s Feast. It has a Gothic style architecture that adds to its appeal.
Holy Cross Church
The Holy Cross Church situated in Cordel in Mangalore’s Kulshekar locality is another Roman Catholic Church. The foundation stone of the church was laid in September 1873 and it actually opened in 1904. The church is visited by the locals as well as the people living around Mangalore.
Hospet Church in South Karnataka is an ancient church that attracts several people of the Christian origin especially on Sundays. While the official documents of the church show that it was established in the year 1761 certain other sources indicate that it existed even before 1648.The church built in Cruciform and gothic style was revamped in 1865.
Situated in Mangalore, the Milagres Church is a historic Roman Catholic Church. It was established by Bishop Thomas de Castro in the year 1680. One of the oldest churches in South Karnataka, the Milagres is visited by a large number of people.
Monte Mariano Church
Monte Mariano Church located in Farangipet in Mangalore lies on the banks of river Nethravathi and offers a scenic view. A Goan Catholic priest, Joachim Miranda initiated Roman Catholic festival, Monti Fest at this church in the year 1763. During his reign Tippu Sultan destroyed all the churches of Canara however this one was saved because of Miranda’s friendship with Sultan’s father Hyder Ali.
Mount Rosary Church
This Roman Catholic Church is located in Udupi district’s Kallianpur village. Mount Rosary Church was established in 1837 when certain Catholic families left the Parish Milagres Cathedral and agreed to the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly. A church was constructed near the Milagres Cathedral. It was later shifted to the Nejar Hill and reconstructed in the year 1882 and came to be known as the Mount Rosary church.
Church of Our Lady of Mercy of Ullal
Another Roman Catholic church near Mangalore, the Church of Our Lady of Mercy of Ullal came into being in 1568. This was constructed by the Portuguese at Ullal. This Church stands tall amid lush green valleys and vast oceans that offer a picturesque view. It attracts several Christian devotees as well as general tourists alike.
Church of St. Francis of Assisi
This Roman Catholic Church is located in Farangipet in South Karnataka. Its history dates back to the 16th century. The church was built in 1568 by the Portuguese. In 1623 it found a mention by Pietro Della Valle, an Italian traveller who visited Mangalore during that year.
Attur Church, also referred to as St. Lawrence Shrine is a Roman Catholic Church located on the outskirts of the Karkala town. The church established in 1759 is known for its miraculous happenings. Not only the Christians but people from other castes and religions also gather in large numbers to offer prayers to St. Lawrence.
Attur Festival celebrated here is quite popular and pulls a large crowd. The church is also famous for carrying out several social activities. Attur Church has a school and orphanage under its patronage.
St. Francis Xavier Church
Located in Mangalore’s Bejai locality, this church is also famous by the name Bejai Church. This historic Roman Church was constructed in the year 1869 on 5.37 acres of land. Originally started as a chapel to offer Sunday masses, it eventually became a Church that pulled several devotees and continues to do so.
Christ the King Church
Christ the King Church is a Roman Catholic Church established at the Jog Falls Sagara in Karnataka’s Shimoga District in the year 1959. Initially, it started in a shed that was visited by Christians to offer rosary prayer to Mother Mary. It was later built into a church by the influence of Mangalore Diocese.
On the 2nd Tuesday of November, the church feast is celebrated.
St. Philomena’ Church
St. Philomena’s Church was established in Mysore to honour St. Philomena. Constructed in the year 1936, this Catholic church boasts of Neo Gothic style. The architecture of this church was finalized by a Frenchman named, Daly. The beautiful structure is said to be inspired by the spectacular Cologne Cathedral situated in Germany.
St. Mary’s Orthodox Valiyapally
This orthodox Christian Church, earlier referred to as St. Mary’s Orthodox church, is located in Bangalore’s Gangamma Circle It belongs to Bangalore’s Diocese of Malankara Orthodox Church and is known as one of the oldest orthodox churches in the city. The church was founded by St. Thomas, who visited India in A.D. 52. St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.Mosques
Karnataka encompasses several beautiful mosques that are visited by Muslim pilgrims from around the world. Let us have a look at these.
Jama Masjid Gulbarga
This mosque is situated in Karnataka’s Gulbarga city. It boasts of a great architecture and is listed among one of the most beautiful mosques in South Asia. The interiors of this mosque are quite like that of the Great Cathedral Mosque of Cordoba in Spain.
It was constructed by Muhammad Shah in the 14th century.
Jama Masid, Bijapur
Jama Masjid Bijapur is a well known mosque in Karnataka. It was constructed in the 16th century by Ali Adil Shah. This is one of the biggest mosques in South India and is also referred to as the Jumma Masjid or the Jamiya Masjid.
The mosque is big enough to accommodate as many as 2500 people at a time.
Located near Murudeshwara, this is one of the most significant mosques located in Bhatkal. The original mosque was demolished in the year 1966 and a new mosque by the same name that is Noor Masjid was inaugurated here in 1987.
Yet another Mosque located in Bhatkal, the Sultani Masjid was built by Tippu Sultan in the 13th century. This ancient mosque boasts of the Dravidian style of architecture. Its beauty as well as religious significance attracts large number of people.
Jumma Masjid Bangalore
Built in the year 1790 by Mughal Killedar, this is one of the oldest mosques in Bangalore. It was earlier referred to as the Sangian Jamia Masjid. It is known for its architectural beauty. Its extensive jali work, ornate granite pillars and floral motifs make it worth a visit for the tourists. No wonder, the place is flooded by the visitors almost all round the year. The mosque is decked up beautifully during the festivals and pulls a greater number of people during this time.
Located in Srirangapatna, Masjid-E-Ala is a two storeyed mosque constructed by Tipu Sultan in 1787 AD. It is said that the Sultan himself performed the first imamath in this white colored structure which is said to be his favourite mosque. Masjid-E-Ala is set on a high basement and has an open court. A religious school named Madrasa is housed inside the mosque.
Jami Mosque of Zinad Baksh
This mosque is located near the Gurpur River in Mangalore. It is a good example of the Islamic architecture. The mosque is not only visited by Muslim devotees but also by general tourists for site seeing.
This mosque is located in Bhatkal. A marble slab in the mosque has inscriptions in Persian language that date back to the 15th century. Jamia Masjid’s dome has a Kalasa made of gold which is why it is also known as Golden Masjid. This three storeyed mosque can accommodate as many as 10,000 people at a time.
Another ancient mosque located in North Karnataka, the Khalifa Masjid was built more than 200 years back. Situated on the banks of river Sharabi, this mosque was demolished completely in the year 1966 and was reconstructed in 1972. The new construction has two tall minarets that are its highlight.Gurudwaras
Let us look at the various Gurudwaras located in the state
Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara
This is the biggest Gurudwara in Bangalore. Situated on the banks of the scenic Ulsoor Lake, this is one of the must visit places in the city. It is thus not only famous among the pilgrims but also among the general tourists. This beautiful white colored religious edifice was constructed in 1943. The place is visited by large number of Sikh devotees every day. A Langar is held every Sunday where in free meals are offered to the visitors.
Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib
Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib is located in Bidar. It is said that during his second missionary tour to South India, Guru Nanak Dev Ji went to Bidar to meet Yakoob Ali and Pir Jalaluddin. He stayed on the outskirts of Bidar during his visit and large people visited there to seek his blessings and listen to his sermons.
The place suffered from acute water shortage. Guru Nanak was immensely moved by the condition of the inhabitants of the place. He touched a nearby hillside and a water fountain miraculously sprang from that place. It came to be known as the Nanak Jhira. A Gurdwara was later built near the fountain.
Around 4-5 lakh devotees from various parts of the world visit this Gurudwara each year.
Gurdwara Mata Bhago Ji
Yet another Gurudwara located in the Bidar district in Karnataka. It is just about 15 km from the famoys Gurudwara Shri Nanak Jheera Sahib. This too is visited by several devotees both local as well as those from other parts. Devotees offer prayers to Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Guru Nanak Dev Ji and other Gurus.
Sikh Gurudwara, Jalahalli
This beautiful Sikh Gurudwara is located in Jalahalli in Bangalore. The structure is said to be a joint effort of the Sikh employees working in various sectors in the city. It is situated opposite the Air Force Training College and is visited by a number of devotees. The Gurudwara especially pulls a large crowd on Sundays.