Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kotilingeshwara Temple, Kolar

The only picture I took... from the outside.
After an energy sapping trek to Anthargange, we were back on the road, towards Kotilingeshwara Temple. Tired and thirsty we entered the first hotel we saw at Bethamangala. Though shabby-looking, we ate whatever was on the menu. The intake of food finally lifted our spirits for the road ahead. The Kotilingeshwara Temple (here on referred to as KT… yes I’m that lazy) resides in a little village called Kammasandra. It is about 6 kms from famous erstwhile Kolar Gold Fields (KGF).

Now, KT is famous for two things – One crore Shivalingas and the world’s tallest Shivalinga, standing at 108 feet. KT is spread across 15 across and dotted with Shivalingas of every imaginable size and shape, so much so that you doubt if it will be qualified to be called as a “shivalinga”. Inside KT you can also find eleven temples devoted to different deities.

But despite having so many “attractions”, this is one temple I would never come back to or even recommend to others to visit. Reasons? Here are a few:

- The KT is highly commercialized. Entry fee to the temple is Rs 10. Cameras are charged Rs.100!!! And yet there are instructions written all over the temple campus saying “Photography Prohibited”. I didn’t even bother carrying my camera!

- The priests of the eleven temples can easily give the fish-market sellers a run for their money. They literally stand outside the temple asking to devotees to walk-into their temple and of course get an “Aarthi” done. This will of course benefit the Priests in a wicked way. We didn’t bother to enter any of the remaining 10 temples!

- Inside the temple complex there are umpteen number of stores, selling everything from cool-drinks to toys to slippers to music CDs. All have their own blaring loudspeakers and hawkers who want your attention, time and money.

- If you feel, the temple authorities, priests and shopkeepers are all after your money, wait till you come across the beggars! That’s right, beggars right inside the temple!

- Oh, and did I miss to mention the dogs and their kin?

- None of the temples are aesthetically done. Well, almost all structures lack any kind of symmetry. Even the 108 Ft Shivalinga has been clumsily built. In fact it can easily be mistaken for badly-done commercial complex.

- Almost all of the 1-crore lingas are badly maintained. And a majority of them lie on the ground and take abuse from visitors and nature in equal measure.

- The Basava (Nandi) in front of the 108 Ft Linga looks utterly malnourished. Ok, I guess I’m going overboard, but then that’s what it is. You don’t get to feel the devotion of being in a temple, right from the time you step foot here.

The perceptions of KT might vary from person to person. And this is just the way I saw KT. I didn’t feel blessed coming to this temple, nor did I get to watch any work of marvel. The only take-away from this trip was that I could strike-out one more item from my must-see list.

Getting-there: 6 kms from KGF and couple of kms from Bethamangala.

Must-Do: Avoid visiting, if you can.
Must-Don’t: Carrying a camera inside. It’s not really worth spending Rs 100.

My Rating: 2/10.


  1. Experienced the same before 3 years...

    Must-Do: Avoid visiting, if you can.

    I feel watching the movie "Sri Manjunatha (Kannada)" rather than going there...

    and i like below song..

  2. good info...i had a list of must visit place including this the list becomes lighter after reading this...

    Antaragange is better than KT i guess..Even Antaragange is crowded with is less harmful if you are hands are free..

    I will strike out KT from my list..thanks for opening my Koti eyes in my heart...

  3. The KT experience was not very pleasant for me. It could be different for others. But if you are the kind of person who likes to strike down items from your Must-Visit list, then you can go there, just to feel happy about it. :)

    For me I did not feel any devotion being in that temple. And I hate commercialization of temples. One reason I did not go back to Tirupati after my first visit a long time ago.

    You might consider going to KT only if you are visiting other places in and around Kolar, but not worth an exclusive KT trip.

  4. And better to go to Anthargange after the rains - August or September.
    Also, I heard it has become a spot for night-trekking.

    And yes, in my last visit (which I did not cover in the blogs) we spotted a Peacock there. Unfortunately, my 18-55 lenses were not good enough to get a good zoom on it. :(
    We went looking for it for a long time, but no luck...

  5. Yes, very true. But you can say similar things about most of the temples - including Tirupathi. We visit temples only as a tourist attraction, not out of devotion! Devotion happens at home!!

  6. Most of the temples are becoming commercial in terms of trying to extract funds from the tourist. Their logic is that if you can 1000's visiting the place you can afford to part with 100 s as donation or fees.

  7. Interestingly, when I was there, I got this strange business model. Take an unkown and under-developed village like Kammasandra, which may or may not be reeling under drougths and famines. And then somebody thinks of reversing the trend and bringing prosperity to the village.
    ANd then comes the idea of having a temple with Crore shivalingas. All you need is few acres of deserted land around a small temple.
    The religious people that we are, the news will spread like wildfire. People from all parts come here. These devotees can have their "own" linga installed. Those 1 Crore devotees will feel truly blessed. The condition would be that all the lingas will be made by the village artisans only. So there's income for the villagers. Add to that the income from tourists. This is definately reverse the trend for the living conidtions of the people.

    But I guess the seer who thought of KT might have had the same plan in mind :)

  8. Thanks for sharing your views. Could you provide the route to AntaraGange and Kotilingeshwara from Bangalore? I am planning to visit and ready for everything you faced there :)
    I feel it is good of the seer to come out with this idea at least it helps the villagers to make a living. But fleecing people not a good idea. Greediness kills the attraction of a place.

  9. Chetu,
    You are right. Greediness will kill the attraction of the place. I for one will never go back. It's one thing to resurrect a village and another to become greedy about it.

    To reach Anthargange take NH4 out of Bangalore (via Old Madras Road). Your first landmark will be a Kamat 10km before Kolar Town. When you reach Kolar take a left deviation and ask for directions. Its abt 3kms from here.
    To reach KT, instead of left deviation, you should take right deviation and go for abt 20-odd kms (or more) towards Bethamangala.