Kotilingeshwara Temple - Karnataka
A Hindu temple in the Kolar district of Karnataka which presides Lord Shiva as the main deity. The Kotilingeshwara temple is about 100 km from the city of Bangalore and is very special and the only kind in the world. The temple has one of the largest Shivalingams in the world.
What is a lingam or Shivling?
As per Shiv Purana, there was once an argument between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu over who is supreme in the creation of this world. To test them, Lord Shiva pierced the 3 worlds in an endless form of light and asked both of them to find the ends. Both Brahma and Vishnu went in two different directions to search for the end of the light.
Brahma came back and lied that He found the end while Vishnu accepted His defeat and that he could not find the end. On listening to this, Lord Shiva cursed Brahma that He will not be worshipped in any of the ceremonies whereas Vishnu will be worshipped till eternity.
The lingam or Shivling thus denotes the endlessness of Lord Shiva.
History of the Kotilingeshwara Temple
In CE 788-827, Bhakta Manjunath or Manjunathsharma lived in Kammasandra village, earlier known as Dharmasthali. He was born in a Shaiv Hindu family but was himself an atheist who insulted Shiva. But later in life he realized the divinity of Lord Shiva and started worshipping Him. One day when he visited the local Sri Manjunath (Shiva) temple, there were a few signs of bad omen and the deepas (incensed lamps) were unlit suddenly. The villagers blamed Manjunathsharma for the bad omen due to his insults and disbeliefs in the Lord Shiva. However, the then viceroy of the ruling Rashtrakuta dynasty intervened and asked Manjunath to rectify his mistake of insulting the Lord and prove his innocence.
Manjunathsharma sang the Mayakaya Deepam song by Maharshi Ved Vyas which ligthened the 'deepaks' even more brighter than before. Manjunath also built ten million Shivalingas since it is believed that he had insulted the Lord the same number of times. Hence the name 'Kotilingeshwara' , since Koti in Sanskrit means crore.
The Shivalinga measuring 108 ft and 35 ft tall Lord Nandi idol and the lakhs of small Shivalingas that gives a spiritual and devotional feel.
How to Visit
It is about 83 km from Bangalore outskirts and is recommended to drive to the temple. The roads are decent and the view is beautiful, with rock filled hills in the journey.