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Places of worship in Bangalore


Places of worship in Bangalore

Places of worship in Bangalore
Places of worship in Bangalore is located in Karnataka
Places of worship in Bangalore
Places of worship in Bangalore
Location in Karnataka, India
Country  India
State Karnataka
District Bangalore Urban
 • Total 741 km2 (286 sq mi)
Elevation 900 m (3,000 ft)
 • Official Kannada
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Bangalore (Bengaluru), the capital of Karnataka state, India, reflects its multireligious and cosmopolitan character by its more than 1000 temples, 400 mosques, 100 churches, 40 Jain derasars, three Sikh gurdwaras, two Buddhist viharas and one Parsi fire temple located in an area of 741 km² of the metropolis.[1][2] The religious places are further represented to include the few members of the Jewish] community who are making their presence known through the Chabad that they propose to establish in Bengaluru and the fairly large number of Bahá'ís whose presence is registered with a society called the Bahá'í Centre.[3] In the demographically diverse, major economic hub and India's fastest-growing major metropolis of Bengaluru, the number of religious places of each religion reported reflects growth in proportion to the population growth. According to the 2001 census of India, 79.37% of Bangalore's population is Hindu, roughly the same as the national average.[4] Muslims comprise 13.37% of the population, which again is roughly the same as the national average, while Christians and Jains account for 5.79% and 1.05% of the population, respectively, double that of their national averages. Anglo-Indians also form a substantial group within the city.[5][6][7]


  • Hindus and temples 1
    • Halasuru Someshwara Temple 1.1
    • Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple 1.2
    • Bull temple 1.3
    • Shri Nimishamba Devi Temple 1.4
    • ISKCON Temple at Rajajinagar 1.5
    • Other temples 1.6
  • Muslims and mosques 2
    • Jamia Masjid 2.1
    • The Jumma Masjid 2.2
    • Other mosques 2.3
    • Dargahs 2.4
  • Christianity and churches 3
  • Jainism and Jain derasars 4
  • Sikhism and Gurudwara 5
  • Buddhism and Viharas 6
  • Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Agiari 7
  • Bahá'í Faith and Bahá'ís 8
  • Jews and the Chabad 9
  • Gallery 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Hindus and temples

The thousand and odd number of Hindu temples in Bengaluru mirrors the majority population of the city whose earliest traditional Hindu temple is traced to the Domlur Chokkanatha temple of the Chola dynasty period (10th century). The next oldest temple is the Halasuru Someshwara Temple Ulsoor (of the Hoysala Empire built between the 12th and 13th centuries – a combination of Hoysala, Chola, and Vijayanagara architecture), which was renovated and beautified by three generations of the Yelahanka dynasty-–Gidde Gowda, Kempe Gowda I and II.[1]

Halasuru Someshwara Temple

Halasuru Someshwara temple in 1890

Halasuru Someshwara Temple, located in the suburb of Halasuru (also called Ulsoor) in Vijayanagara Empire period, during the rule of Hiriya Kempe Gowda II.[9][10] According to a folk legend of this oldest temple, it is said that Kempe Gowda, tired after hunting, rested under a tree and fell asleep on the present site of the temple. Lord Someshwara appeared to him in a dream, revealing the existence of hidden treasure and told him to build the temple dedicated to him with it.[11]

Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple

Another ancient temple is the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, in the Chola style of architecture, which is a protected monument under the Karnataka Ancient and Historical Monuments, and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1961. It is a cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the best architectural monuments depicting a monolithic idol of Lord Shiva made of granite, a rare idol of Agni, the God of fire and monolithic exquisitely carved four pillars in side the cave. The cave temple is also stated to be a fine piece of Indian rock-cut architecture of the 9th century. In the 16th century, Kempe Gowdas added grandeur to the temple by building the frontage to the cave temple with Gopuras (towers), large tridents, discs known as Suryapana and Chandrapana representing the Sun and the Moon, a damaru (drum) and two fans (all pictured in the gallery).[12][13] Another interesting astronomical feature which attracts thousands of devotes to the temple on Makar Sankranti day in January is of sun rays passing between the horns of the Nandi (bull), located outside at the entrance to the temple, which lights the idol of Shiva inside the cave.[1][14]

One of the oldest cave temples in Bangalore
One of the biggest Nandi idols in the world

Bull temple

A famous temple built in the 16th century during the rule of Kempegowdas, is the Bull temple or the Nandi Temple (‘Nandi’ in Sanskrit means ‘joyful’) made of granite. This temple built in 1537 on a hill top with a porch in the Vijayanagara architectural style is named after the large granite Nandi monolith placed on a plinth in the temple shrine. The temple is exclusive for the worship of the sacred bull in Hinduism, known as Nandi, Lord Shiva's vahana, or animal mount. Nandi idol at this temple is said to be one of the largest in the world, with height of about 15 ft (4.6 m) and 20 feet (6.1 m) length. Temples for Dodda Ganapathy (huge Ganesha -– 10 ft (3.0 m) height & 15 ft (4.6 m) wide) and for Lord Shiva, a little above the Ganesha temple, are also located at the foot of the hill. A groundnut fair called Kadalekay Parishe in Kannada language, which is linked to a popular folklore legend, is held by farmers every year during November to thank Nandi for the good yield of this crop and to seek further blessings.[15][16][17][18]

One of the oldest Hanuman temples at Yelahanka gate in the heart of Bangalore

Shri Nimishamba Devi Temple

The Shri Nimishamba Devi temple is located at Rajarajeshwari Nagar. This shrine is built in the traditional Parashurama Kshetra architectural style, which is not found elsewhere in Bangalore or its surroundings. This temple was built with the help of a large number of devotees of Shri Nimishamba Devi. The temple has shrines of Devi Nimishamba, Moukthikeswara (siva), Siddhi Vinayaka, Saraswathi and Lakshmi Narayana. Chandika Homa is performed every day in a specially designed Yagna Shala. The temple also has Annadana on most days. Located at # 93, 12th Cross, Ideal Homes Circle, Ideal Homes Township, Raja Rajeshwari Nagar, Bengalooru 560 098

ISKCON Temple at Rajajinagar

The ISKCON temple at Rajajinagar

Sri Radha Krishna Temple (Hindi: श्री राधा कृष्ण मन्दिर ) or [19] has deities of Radha and Krishna located on top of the Hare Krishna Hill in Rajajinagar, in the North Bangalore, Karnataka, India. It is one of the largest ISKCON temples in the world.[20] The temple is a huge cultural complex that was inaugurated in 1997 by Shankar Dayal Sharma and His Holiness Jayapataka Swami following the wishes of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON to promote Vedic culture and spiritual learning. Janmashtami, Vaikuntha Ekadashi and Rath Yatra are the major festivals celebrated

Other temples

Apart from the above famous temples, the other temples built between the 16th and 19th centuries are also numerous and some of the well known ones with interesting history are the 1) Karanji Anjaneya in Basavanagudi, 2) Bande Mahakali, 3) Pralayakalada Veerabhadra, 4) Kalabhairava in Gavipura Guttahalli, 5) Basaveshwara in the fort (shifted to Mamulpet), 6) Anjaneya at Yelahanka Gate (at Avenue road crossing), 7) Dharmaraya at the end of OTC Road, 8) Ranganathaswamy Temple, Bangalore in Balepete. 9) Kadu Malleshwara Temple at Malleswaram, 10) Kote Venkataramana Temple (1690) adjoining Tipu Sultan's Palace, Kasi Vishveshwara temple (1840) in Balepete and 11) Bennekrishna temple at Tulasi Thota, 11) Mookambika Temple in Mahalakshmi Layout famous for its oracular powers and 12) the ISKCON Temple Bangalore temple in Mahalakshmi Layout. Many temples have been built by ordinary citizens and are also patronised by certain communities such as the Devanga, Golla, Besta (fisherfolk), Uppara, Goniga, Kshaurika (barber), Nagartha, Ganiga (oilfolk), Vishwakarma, and so forth. The most popular temples listed are that of Hanuman (the monkey God), 635 numbers, and the oldest of them is reported to be the Shri Gali Anjaneya temple on Mysore Road, said to have been established in 1425 by Vyasaraja.[1]

Muslims and mosques

One of the oldest mosques in Bangalore at the city market
An old mosque in Cantonment area of Bangalore - seen through a gate

The earliest recorded history of Islamic influence in Bengaluru could be traced to 1638, when the old Bengaluru Pete (now an integral part of the Bengaluru city) was conquered by Bijapur Sultan who ruled for the next 50 years. The Mughals took over in 1687 and leased the town and the surrounding areas to Chikkadeva Raya Wodeyar of the Kingdom of Mysore, in 1690 AD. Chikkadeva Raya Wodeyar (1673 AD –1704 AD) built an oval-shaped fort south of the old mud fort and after his death in 1704 AD, the rule of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ensued till Tippu's death at the hands of British forces in 1790. It was during this period that mosques and dargas were built in Bengaluru.[21][22]

Thus, over a period of 370 years from the earliest rule of the Bijapur Sultan in 1638, Muslim shrines (mosques or masjids and darghas) have been built which now number more than 400 and indicates the large Muslim population of the city. Some of the important mosques and darghas in Bangalore are discussed below.

Jamia Masjid

Jamia Masjid, situated near the City Market, is the most impressive mosque in Bangalore. Designed by Rayyaz Asifuddin of Hyderabad, India, it was built in 1940 with white marble from Rajasthan and is dedicated to Tipu Sultan. This landmark has bulbous domes, twin towers standing on exquisitely carved granite pillars and fashioned jali work in the balcony. It is a five–storeyed structure, with space to accommodate up to 10,000 devotees. With an ablution pool in the centre of mosque, the ambiance inside the mosque is cool, serene and airy. In the elevated prayer hall of the mosque, beautiful bubris (frescoes) that bear mark of Tipu Sultan have been revealed, after removing the old plaster. Muslims in large numbers congregate here during the death anniversary of Tipu Sultan, to mark the "Tipu Urs".[23][24][25]

The Jumma Masjid

The Jumma Masjid located on the Old Poor House Road in the Cantonment area of the city is also said to be one of the oldest mosques, built by Abdul Quddus in the early 19th century. It was earlier known as the Sangian Jamia Masjid but is now called the Jumma Masjid. While the raised prayer hall of the mosque has granite pillars, the building as such is a brick and mortar structure with ornate jali work and floral motifs in plaster on the facade.[23][24]

Other mosques

Of the many other older masjids in the city, the important ones are the Sangeen Jamia Masjid in Taramandalpet built by the Moghuls (1687–1690), the Ibrahim Shah Sahele Masjid built in 1761 (at Kumbarpete) by Hyder Khilledar Ibrahim Khan and the Bademakan Masjid (Siddiah Road) built during Hyder Ali's period by two Sufi saints of Bijapur.[23] There is also an Ahmadiyya mosque in Bangalore.[26]
Hazrath Tawakkal Mosque or Dargha decorated during the Karaga, a Hindu festival


There are 24 dargahs (a dargah is a Sufi shrine built over the grave of a revered religious figure) in Bangalore and the popular ones are Chishty Order Dargah of Hazrat khwaja Lalu bhai Qasir chisti (RA) ( J.C Nagar, M.R Pallaya ), Qadri Order Dargah of Hazrat Kambal Posh Shah Qadri (Old Broadway),Soharwardi Order Sufi Saint Hazarat Tawakkal Mastan Shah Dargah (Cottonpet) and Hazrat Besar Auliya Shaheed ( Martyr )known as Hazrat Muheeb Shah Qadri in (Cubbonpet).

A place visited by Hindus and Muslims alike, this dargah has a history of over 240 years. The annual urs is being celebrated here on 19th Safar.The dargah's history takes us back to the time of Nawab Hyder Ali Khan. The king, after accession to the throne, wanted to build a sloped wall to his fort at Kalasipalya and replace the mud walls with stone walls. Three men - Hazrath Tipu Mastan, Hazarath Manik Mastan, and Hazrath Tawakkal Mastan - came to Bangalore and joined the work force at the construction site. The three worked with other labourers during day, and spent the night, in prayers. The three, it is said, would not draw salaries, and Hyder was puzzled to note that they were always missing on salary day. Hyder Saheb asked the quiledar to enquire into the mystery. Hyder's maternal uncle, Banke Nawab Ibrahim, who investigated the men, learnt that the three went to mosque in Kumbarpet after work and slept there. When he went to the mosque to look for them, he saw no labourers there, but only three parts of a human body, with two dogs standing guard over them. The quiledar narrated this to Hyder, and he realised instantly that the three were not labourers, but great saints.

Tawakkal Mastan stayed in Bangalore and settled in Cottonpet, which was then a small area full of thorny shrubs. Hyder Ali Saheb visited the place and wanted to present the saint something. The saint, who did not accept any gifts, asked Hyder Ali to build a mosque there.

Work on the mosque began in 1777 and was completed in 1783 by his son Tipu Sultan. A stone inscription at the tomb states that Hazrat Tawakkal Mastan preached Islam and passed away in 1777. A book written by Kirmani in Persian, describes Hazrat Tawakklal as a Sufi saint and a disciple of another Sufi saint, Baba Fakruddin of Penugonda in Andhra Pradesh.

There is another version to the story, though. According to that version, Tawakkal Mastan, also known by the name Mirza Baig, came to Bangalore from Iran many years ago. He traded in the famous Persian horses. Later, he is said to have given up his trade and devoted all his time to religious pursuits.

In an interesting development, the two religious systems came together at one point in time, and the annual Karaga of Dharmaraya Swamy visiting Tawakkal Dargah became a tradition. It is considered a sacrilege for the person carrying the Karaga to drop it. The story goes that during Tawakkal's time, one particular year, the person carrying the Karaga stopped at Tawakkal Mastan Dargah and asked for his blessings so that Karaga would not fall off his head. Tawakkal blessed him and asked him to utter "Din, Din".

The tradition continues to this day and the Karaga-carriers visit the dargah three days prior to the Karaga puja begins. He visits the dargah on the day of the Karaga as well, with the Karaga on his head. When he arrives, the fateha, ritual is performed, after which the Karaga-carrier goes round the dargah thrice. He walks the first round, goes around on his knees on the second, and dances around the dargah on the third. After this, the caretaker of the dargah and the Karaga carrier exchange lemons. The dargah is visited by scores of Hindus, Muslims, and Christians every day.

On the annual urs day procession starts from Cottonpet.It goes through City Market, Chikpet, and returns to the dargah.

Christianity and churches

St. Mary's Basilica - Oldest church in Bangalore
Infant Jesus Church

Bengaluru with recorded number of 40 churches (thus also called the city of churches), represents diverse Christian communities, such as the Roman Catholic Church, the ancient Syrian Church of Kerala and its reformed counterpart, the Mar Thoma Church, Protestants from the Church of South India (which includes Anglicans, Wesleyan and other older denominations) and newer evangelical groups with links to the United States.[27]

It was in the year 1648 that Christianity made its first mark in Srirangapatna, the capital city of the then Kingdom of Mysore. Bengaluru was not a big city in those days. Even though the first church in Bangalore was dated to the years 1724–1725, the spread of Christianity suffered a decline during Tipu Sultan's rule. However, the history of revival of Christianity in Bangalore is traced to the year 1799 when the French priest Fr. Abbé du Bois came to Bangalore, at a time when the British seized Srirangapatna from Tipu Sultan. He restored the Christian religion in the city by building confidence of the Christians living in and around Bangalore in Somanahalli, Kamanahalli, Begur, Gunjam, Palahalli, Doranahalli, Garenahalli, Shettyhalli and other villages and by extending them spiritual solace. His acts of service to the people also involved introduction of vaccination in India.

St. Mary's Basilica had a humble beginning as a thatched hut in the 17th century, built by Tamil Christian migrants from Gingee. The Shrine was then known as 'Chapel of Kanikkai Madha' and was located in their village where rice was grown. The rice grown in the village had a distinct white colour, and hence the settlement came to known as Bili Akki Palli or colloquially known as ‘‘Blackpally’’ (now known as Shivajinagar). With the establishment of the cantonment at Bangalore, Fr. Jean Dubois led a mass for both Europeans and Indians in 1799, after the fall of Seringapatam. In 1811, Fr. Jean Dubois built small chapel along with residence for the catholic priests. Later Rev. Fr. Andreas, a priest from Pondicherry of Indian origin, expanded the church building in the shape of a cross. However this church was torn down during the communal riots of 1832, and troops had to be called in to protect the settlement for many months.[28][29][30][31] The current form of the majestic Gothic-style church (pictured) is credited to Rev. L. E. Kleiner. It was consecrated on September 8, 1882 by Bishop Jean-Yves-Marie Coadou, the vicar apostolic of Mysore. Over the years, the church of St. Mary's at Blackpally became a parish and was elevated to the status of minor basilica in 1973 through an order by Pope Paul VI (The church was the sixth church in India to be elevated to this status). Stained glass windows and multiple columns with a rich Corinthian capital support the stately arches of the Church. An annual 9 day Novena is held between 30 August and 7 September, with Mass being offered in English, Kannada and Tamil.[28]

Other prominent Churches built in Bangalore under the overall directions of the parish were the St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral (1851), St. Joseph's Church (1867) and the Sacred Heart Church, Ashokanagara (1867) and many others.[23]

The other old churches in Bangalore are the St. Luke's (Fort, 1830), the St. Joseph's (Briand Square, 1857), the St. Patrick's (Brigade Road, 1844), the Sacred Heart's (Richmond Road, 1874) and many others.

Among the Protestant churches, the old and well known ones are the St. Mark's Cathedral (M.G. Road, 1808), Holy Trinity (M.G. Road, 1851), St. Andrews (Cubbon Road, 1867), East Parade (Dickenson Road, 1862), Wesley Church (Promenade Road, 1896) and Hudson Memorial (City Corporation, 1904).

Life Church, Bannerghatta road Life Church is an affiliate of Church of God (full Gospel) in India. Situated at Arekere off the famed Bannerghetta road is a source of hope and blessing for many. Dr.Pradip Mathew a qualified physician,Christian thinker and Apologist is the Pastor of this church. Web address- [32]

Infant Jesus Church at Vivek Nagar, which is now the biggest church in Karnataka and a popular pilgrimage centre, has a long history of sacrifice and devotion. The Church was first conceived by Fr. Paul Kinatukara in the sixties and the foundation was laid in April 1970 by Rev. Dr. Lourduswamy, the then Archbishop of Bangalore. The missionary zeal (in spite of daunting hurdles) of Fr. L. Peter established the church on a firm footing and the church was opened to devotees in the year 1979, to honour and glorify the divine Infant Jesus of Prague. Designed by the Architects of Thomas Associates, the church with a fan shaped hall can accommodate about 2500 people. It has 9 faces and openings running all round the church. People seated anywhere in the interior of the church feel that the altar is facing them. The podium is raised above road level with steps and ramp on either side. The replica of the nativity scene in the nativity church of Jerusalem is the main mural of size 6 mi (9.7 km)x9 mi (14.5 km). The remarkable feature of the church is the secular nature of the devotees who throng seeking blessings, particularly on Thursdays and Saturdays. St Mary's Feast is celebrated in September every year when devotees gather at the Church dressed in orange colour.[23][33][34]

St Patrick's Church located on Brigade road is the second oldest church in the city (around 160 years old - foundation laid in July 1841). Father Chevalier was responsible for building the church, which was consecrated as a cathedral in 1899. The foundation was laid in July 1841 and the building was completed in 1844. In 1887, the Catholic Hierarchy for southern India Pope Leo XIII was proclaimed in this church in 1887. Renovated in 1894-98, on November 12, 1899 the church was consecrated as St. Patrick Cathedral. It has a beautiful arched entrance flanked by twin columns. The interior of the church has twelve graceful pillars which symbolise the twelve apostles. The twin spires of the Church are a landmark in the city cantonment.[23][32]

St. Andrew's Kirk, the only Scottish kirk in Bangalore, is located on the Cubbon Road. The stained glass windows in the Church depict Lord

  • Parsis moving to Silicon Plateau: Bangalore

External links

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  7. ^ "India's 10 fastest growing cities". February 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  8. ^ Dynamics of Language Maintenance Among Linguistic Minorities: A Sociolinguistic Study of the Tamil Communities in Bangalore. Central Institute of Indian Languages, 1986. p. 7. 
  9. ^ Achari, S.N (10 April 2012). "Bangalore’s beautiful Someshwara temple". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Michell (1995), p. 69
  11. ^ "The online gallery of the British Library". Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  12. ^ "About Bangalore". Tour Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  13. ^ "Temple inside an age-old cave". Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  14. ^ "Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple at Bangalore(Karnataka)". The Templenet Encyclopedia: Temples of Karnataka. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
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  20. ^ Jones, Constance and D. Ryan, James (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. U.S.A.: Facts on File. p. 512.  
  21. ^ "Public Space In Bangalore: Present And Future Projections". pp. 33 to 68. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  22. ^ "About Bangalore". official Web site of the Department of Bangalore IT and Biotechnology, Government of Karnataka. Archived from the original on 2006-09-19. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h "Hindu Places of Worship". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  24. ^ a b "Places of Worship". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  25. ^ "Jumma Masjid in Bangalore". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  26. ^ "Ahmadiyya Centre - Bangalore Karnataka India". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  27. ^ Crossette, Barbara (1990-01-20). "Bangalore Journal; Christians Revel in Conversion Back to Indianness". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  28. ^ a b St. Mary's Basilica. "St. Mary's Basilica - History". St. Mary's Basilica. 
  29. ^ K. Chandramouli (2002-08-29). "Home to all faiths". Online Edition of The Hindu. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  30. ^ Preethi Sharma; Nishi Vishwanathan. Bangalore:An Expat Survival Guide. Chillibreeze publication.  
  31. ^ "Annual St. Mary's Feast begins". Online Edition of The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  32. ^ a b c d "Photo feature Churches of Bangalore". Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  33. ^ "Infant Jesus Shrine". Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  34. ^ "Infant Jesus Church Bangalore". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  35. ^ a b "Janism". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  36. ^ "Jains: From business to peace, from education to service". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  37. ^ "Jainism in India, Bangalore". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
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  48. ^ "Zoroastrainism". Religions in Bangalore, Karnataka. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  49. ^ "The Bahai faith". The web site of the bahai international community. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  50. ^ "Baha'i Bhavan". Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  51. ^ "About Bangalore Bahá'í Center". Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  52. ^ a b Aditi De (2008). "Multiple City: Writings On Bangalore". In Search of the Star of David by Nemichandra, Part V, Article 31, pages 174-183. Penguin Books India, New Delhi. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
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As of 2012, the Jewish community (mostly belonging to the Chabad Lubavitch located in New York with representatives across the world. The Rabbi students are traveling across India equipped with religious paraphernalia such as Tefillin and Mezuzot to preach to the small community of Jews.[55]

In another part of the city in the European cemetery located on Hosur Road, two Jewish graves have been identified in the European Cemetery, one is of T M. Horvitz, (b. Australia in Runoleff, d. Bangalore on 20 June 1898 with a headstone of granite stone, engraved in Hebrew language and the other is of Rose Hickey (d. on 9 February 1917, aged 48 years).[53]

A cemetery on Mysore Road, also established at the beginning of the 20th century, by Subedar Nowgaokar, a Bene Israel Jew, at a site donated to him by the Maharaja of Mysore, is also a witness to the Jewish history in Bangalore.[52]

The Jewish presence in Bangalore has been traced to a house dating to at least the early 20th century, called the Ruben House, on the main Old Guard road near Safina Plaza, where a mezuzah is displayed (a small case containing the Shema, a passage from the Bible handwritten on a piece of parchment, that expresses the basic precept of Jewish faith). It belongs to the Rubin Moses family, the only family out of the five families traced to pre–independence time who still live in Bangalore; the other four families have migrated. Ezer Weizman, the former president of Israel (from 1993–2000) visited this family in Bangalore in 1997 and reminisced of the old times when he had served in Bangalore during World War II in the British Royal Air Force. Apart from the Ruben house, two other Jewish homes traced in Bangalore are the Hazelmore house on the Palace road and the Eastern Lodge in the Cavalry road. Another piece of interesting information reported is that M.Benjamin author of the book The Mysteries of Israel's Ten Lost Tribes and the Legend of Jews in India is residing in Bangalore since 2001.[52]

Jews and the Chabad

The Bahá'í Faith, a monotheistic religion that recognizes the religious canons of other religions, was founded by Bahá’u’lláh to spread his message around the world that "The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens." It has its members in nearly every nation, ethnic group, culture, profession, and social or economic background. Its reach is stated to cover four million people in 166 independent countries and 48 territories.[49][50] Finding a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society is the main goal of all Bahá'ís. Such a vision is also propagated by the Bahá’í Centre at Bangalore, which is the administrative headquarters and secretariat of all Baha’i activities in Karnataka state. This centre (pictured) holds small group discussions on the teachings of Bahá'í Faith almost every day, apart from prayer meetings.[51]

Bahá'í Centre, Bangalore

Bahá'í Faith and Bahá'ís

Zoroastrianism was founded by the prophet Spitama Zarathustra. The religion asserts that there is one god, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), other gods being manifestations of his qualities. The people who practiced Zoroastrianism and who fled from south-west Iran to India (initially came to the west coast of India and subsequently moved to other parts of India) due to persecution by Muslims in 642 AD (when the last Iranian empire was conquered by the Arabs) are called Parsis. The only possession they had when they came to India was nothing more than the sacred fire from their temple. Under British rule they prospered immensely. It is estimated that there are 130,000 Zoroastrians in the world; majority of them, about 100,000 live in India. They have retained their distinct identity and have contributed richly to India's progress in all sectors of development. The members of the community emerged as successful businessmen, lawyers, and doctors and have worked largely in the service sector. In the early 20th century retired bankers, accountants and businessmen moved from west coast and established themselves in Bangalore, as in those days, Bangalore was considered a retirement paradise. The early settlers to Bangalore built the fire temple on Queen's Road in 1926 with the help of Dinshaw Cawasji, a contractor from Mumbai and called it the 'Baidhanmai and Cawasji Dadabhai Dar-E-Meher', which caters to the small group of Parsis, about 700, residing in the city. An eternal fire burns in the inner sanctum fed by sandalwood, as the symbol of the life cycle and eternal recurrence. The temple has carvings of bulls on its many pillars. Only the priests are allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum where the eternal fire burns. A Parsi is one who is born into the religion since Zoroastrianism is a non–proselytising religion. Their Holy Book is known as the Kordeh Avesta along with the Vendidad, lists prayers and prescribes tenets to be followed. The Bangalore Parsi Zoroastrian Association (BPZA) and the Bangalore Zoroastrian Anjuman (BZA) hold regular meetings to discuss the issues concerning the community.(also refer external link)[47][48]

Parsi fire temple Agiari in Bangalore

Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Agiari

Thubten Lekshey Ling [1] is a Nyingma Buddhist Study and Meditation Centre established in 2008. Nyingma Buddhism is the ancient school of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism that preserved and nourished all aspects of Buddhism as it existed in the period of great universities of India like Nalanda, Vikramasila, etc. Nyingma corresponds to the original transmission of Buddhism from India to Tibet in the 8th Century, the pinnacle of the golden era of Buddhism in India, by Guru Padmasambhava, Acharya Shantarakshita, Mahapandita Vimalamitra and many other great scholars and yogis. In this form of Buddhism rational study, mystical practices and non-conceptual meditation are equally emphasized. Mahayana and Vajrayana practices are emphasized in this tradition. Dzogchen (Mahasandhi-yoga) is its uniqueness. Thubten Lekshey Ling was founded by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. Thubten Lekshey Ling conducts teachings, meditation programs and advanced study groups in every weekend.

Choe Khor Sum Ling Centre, located in Domlur Layout, is a centre for the study and practice of Tibetan Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. This Centre was set up in 2003 at the initiative of HH Dalai Lama by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The name of the center means 'The Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma'. Buddhist meditation techniques and teachings on the various aspects of the ‘Graduated Path to Enlightenment’ are taught here. In addition to regular teachings, every few weeks the Centre also invites senior Lamas to give talks on important aspects of the Buddhist path, which are followed by instructions into different meditation practices.[45] Ahimsamaya, a magazine devoted to vast heritage of the Pragya Paramita Buddhist tradition of Indian thinking in philosophy and spirituality is also brought out by the Centre.[46]

Buddha idols inside the Vihar

The Maha Bodhi Society (MBS) was established by Acharya Buddharakkhita in 1956 at Bangalore with the objective of propagating the teachings of the Buddha and to provide the inspiration and facilities for putting that teaching into practice through spiritual, social, educational activities. The first act of the Acharya was to plant a sapling of the holy Bodhi Tree from Bodh Gaya at the premises of the proposed Society. This tree has grown with the Society and is venerated. The Maha Bodhi Society Temple, a relatively new structure, was then built with the main shrine replicating the historic tower at Bodh Gaya. Temple as built is a brick structure with a central tower of 55 m (180.4 ft) height. The Stupa that represents a basic factor in the teaching of the Buddha has also been built at the entrance to the Temple which is made of granite and it enshrines a relic of the Buddha. The temple, the stupa and the Bodhi tree in the temple complex now form a unique landmark in Bangalore. It is a place of worship and meditation, a center of pilgrimage for people from all over India and other countries.[42][43][44]

While under the Mauryas and Satavahanas Buddhism prospered in Karnataka, the influence of Hinduism expanded as it subsumed most of the teachings of Buddha and Buddhism and thus Buddhism lost its distinct uniqueness in the state. However, in the 20th century, Buddha viharas have been established in the State with many monasteries coming up in the state. Bengaluru has many centres of Buddha dharma today as there is a revived interest in the Buddhist approach that combines logical thinking and spirituality.[41]

A view of Buddha Vihar in Bangalore

Buddhism and Viharas

Guru Nanak, the Sikh guru, was the first Sikh to visit Bengaluru. On his way back from Sri Lanka he halted at Bangalore. Kempegowda met him and sought his blessings. Gurunanak not only blessed Kempegowda but also told him to develop the place. [40] But it took many more years for a Sikh Gurudwara to be built in Bangalore. There are now three Gurudwaras in Bangalore. The first Sikh Gurudwara and the largest in Bangalore near the Ulsoor Lake on the Kensington Road, is an elegant and white structure (pictured), which was opened on April 13, 1946. It has been renovated recently with marble floors. The large prayer hall accommodates about 500 devotees at a time. Special prayers are offered every Sunday. The temple wears a colourful look as special prayers are offered and more than a thousand people from all religions come here to worship. The Sri Guru Singh Sabha which manages the Gurudwara also runs a school, a medical centre and a function hall also provides accommodation (a day's stay) to the tourists.[23]

Gurudwara on the bank of Ulsoor lake in Bangalore

Sikhism and Gurudwara

Shri Adinath Digambar Jain temple is a new temple built in Jayanagar, a suburb of Bangalore. The construction of this temple started in the early part of this decade and was completed in 2007. The temple is built in white marble with colourful shades. The entrance gate is a nicely sculpted. Two white marble elephants are at the foot steps of stairs to reach the main temple (pictured - Sri Rajasthan Jain Svetambara Murthipujaka Sangha and not the Shri Adinath Digambar Jain temple).[38] Well-known Svetambara derasars are located in Gandhinagar and Sajjan Rao Circle, and Jaya Nagar in Bangalore.[39]

Sri Mahavira Digambara Jain temple, located in the Dewan's lane of Chickpet area (of the Bengaluru Pete) has an idol of Mahavira in the Kayotsarga posture peculiar to Jainism. The temple constructed in 1878 has undergone many renovations and even now is under renovation. But the entrance arch to the temple is intact (pictured). The idols of Parshva, Bahubali, Vimalanath, Anantanath and Brahma Yaksha are seen in this temple. A guesthouse for pilgrims, Mahavira Bhavan, Ahimsa Derasar (House of non-violence) and a well equipped library containing the books on Jainism are part of the temple complex.[35][37]

New Jain temple in Jayanagar, suburb of Bangalore

Jainism, traditionally known as Jainadharma, is an Indian religion and philosophy originating in Ancient India. The Jains follow the teachings of the 24 Tirthankaras and Mahavira, accepted as the founder of the faith, was the 24th and lived in the 6th century BCE. Jains have significantly influenced the religious, ethical, political and economic spheres in India for over two millennia. They are best described by the adage that "Business is in their blood. Peace is their badge."[35] The combination makes them an extraordinary community in India and so is their case in Bangalore. Of the 40 odd Jain temples in Bangalore, Digambara-affiliated ones are fewer than the Svetambara-affiliated ones. Digambara and Svethambara are the two living schools of the Jain community. Digambara monks do not wear clothes since they believe that clothes are like other possessions, increasing dependency and desire for material things, and desire for anything ultimately leads to sorrow. Svetambara monks and nuns wear white, seamless clothes for practical reasons and believe there is nothing in the Jain Agamas that condemns wearing clothes.[36]

View of the entrance to One of the oldest Jain temples in Chickpete in Bangalore

Jainism and Jain derasars

St. Mary's Orthodox Church located in Gangamma Circle, is a parish belongs to the Bangalore Diocese of the Indian Orthodox Church. The parish was founded in 1961 and considered as the first orthodox parish in Bangalore.

Shelter House Church located in Arekere main road, Bannerghatta Road is a boon for people staying in and around the Bannerghatta Road area. The service is conducted in English and starts from 9:30 am.You will enjoy the worship music and the inspiring motivational word. more details can be seen in [32]

Holy Trinity Church located at Trinity circle is an exquisite landmark at the east end of the MG Road, built in 1848–51 in the English Renaissance style, and was designed by Major Pears, foundation was laid on February 16, 1848 and consecrated on July 25, 1852. The church can accommodate 700 people and is considered as the largest "military" church in South India.[32]


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