`There is so much we dont know within our own city, and at times revisiting places gives them a new perspective, adding to our knowledge and treasure chest. Deepa Mohan shares the experience of visiting one such place in Bangalore..
One of the most ancient temples in the Bangalore urban area is the Gavi Gangadheswara Temple, in Gavipuram, in the Basavanagudi area. “Gavi” in Kannada means cave, and the temple is situated in a low-ceilinged rock cave.
The temple has a small spring that keeps the lingam moist all the time, and the construction of the temple is such that on Makara Sankranti day (January 14th or 15th), the evening sunlight falls through a side window of the temple, through the horns of the idol of Nandi, on to the shivalinga.
I am not a very religious or rite-oriented person. But having heard about this feature for many years, I decided to visit the temple with a friend. Raji and I reached the temple just in time to go into the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) before the crowds started arriving. The patch of sunshine was already illuminating the flowers at the base of the linga.
As more people gathered, and sat, or stood, around the central shrine, the priest continuously had to invoke silence and ask for mobile phones to be switched off…and in spite of this, several phones kept ringing. But ultimately, calm and quiet did prevail.
It was wonderful, somehow, to watch the sunlight creep up, silently and steadily, up the base of the shivalinga, to fall, finally, on the linga itself. I cannot describe how it felt when the linga was illuminated. All the while, I had been thinking rational thoughts of how the people who constructed the temple must have been wonderful architects, and how the tradition has been handed down, unbroken, over the centuries….but when the linga was illuminated by the sun, it was a time of just feeling….a sense of something sacred, as Surya paid his obeisance to Shiva with the touch of His light, and the lingam was transformed from a stone to Something, or Someone, much more.
It was a moment of utter peace and tranquillity. For that minute, our worries were forgotten, our hurries too…we sat, and felt at one with the Almighty. I truly felt that the Divine Force is immanent in stones, and earth, and air, and light, and water….the Pancha Bhoothas were living entities for me at that moment.
Photography is not permitted in the garbha-griha, but is permitted elsewhere.