The history of Banashankari temple in Bangaluru

 

Sri Banashankari amma temple was constructed with only family sources of  Basappa Shetty as per the wishes of the goddess.

The origin place of Bangalore’s Banashanakri Devi is Badami, the erstwhile capital of Chalukyas. Karnataka’s Rajyalakshmi, Sri Banashankari Devi is a goddess who came and established in Bangalore from Badami.

Badami, now a part of the Bijapura district of Karnataka, was the capital of the great Chalukya dynasty centuries ago. Chalukyas who ruled between 500AD and 760AD had ruled over the entire Karnataka and beyond and were renowned for able and brave leadership. It encompassed most parts of today’s Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra and some parts of Orissa and Tamil Nadu states. The kingdom of Pulikeshi 2nd stretched from the Narmada river in the north to Kaveri river in the south.

Banashankari is the family deity of the Pulikeshis. In the puranas, Banashankari devi has been worshipped by great saints like Agastya. The journey of Banashankari devi from Badami to Bangalore has the history of the worship and prayers of a great devotee.

Many years ago, there was a wealthy and famous merchant named Basappa Shetty in Bangalore’s Cubbonpet. He was great friends with a Brahmin family of Sarebandepalya. Both their families were great worshippers of Banashankari devi of Badami. Every year without fail, they used to visit Badami for offering prayers to the goddess. Gradually both Basappa Shetty and his friend become old and travelling to Badami in those days become extremely difficult. Once both the friends decide to forego their annual trip to Badami to offer prayers. However, the Brahmin’s wife is not supportive of the idea and insists that the annual visit to Badami must happen. Basappa Shetty and the Brahmin finally relent and set forth to Badami.

Meantime, goddess Banashankari devi appears in the dreams of the priest of the Badami temple and instructs him “Basappa and Brahmin’s family who is arriving from Bangalore are my ardent devotees. Give them my panchaloha (made of five metals) idol when they return to Bangalore”.

Basappa and Brahmin families complete their prayers in Badami without any inconvenience. Devi also appears in the dreams of Basappa and Brahmin and tells them that “I will come to Bangalore and establish herself there to bless the devotees in Bangalore and will accept your prayers there. In due course of time, establishing the city as the capital of the state, I will reside in Bangalore”.

As per the instructions of the goddess, the priest gives the panchaloha idol to Basappa and the Brahmin when they return to Bangalore.

Upon returning to Bangalore, Basappa Shetty begins the construction of a temple for Banashankari devi. Local devotees lend their hand to Basappa in this divine purpose. Sculptors from Devanahalli sculpt the beautiful idol of goddess Banashankari. On a vast land parcel on today’s Kanakapura road, the idol of Banashankari devi gets established. A Shri Chakra is kept in front of the idol of the goddess. On this chakra the panchaloha idol brought from Badami is kept and prayers are offered to the idol.

Since arriving in Bangalore from Badami, Banashankari devi has been blessing and protecting the devotees and has been the mother of all Bangaloreans. The uniqueness of this temple is that the Pooja here is performed during “Rahu Kaala”. Rahu Kaala is considered inauspicious and no good deeds are initiated or performed during this time. And pooja at such time is not performed in any temple. However, upon the inspiration of the goddess Banashankari devi, today’s priest Sri Chandramohan’s grandfather Sri Suryanarayana Shastri started this ritual of pooja during Rahu Kaala over 60 years ago. This is a special and simple ritual anyone can perform. Devotees facing difficulties in life can perform this Pooja and rid themselves of all the difficulties. The Rahu Kaala pooja that began due to inspiration from the goddess has become a means to many devotees to surrender themselves to the goddess and get her blessings.

The unique and special Rahu Kaala pooja that is performed on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday attracts thousands of devotees. Devotees pray and get the protection and blessings of the goddess. Bangalore continues on the path of progress and glory and the capital of Karnataka under the watchful protection of the goddess Banashankari devi.

Uniqueness of Banashankari Temple

The unique features of the Banashankari temple in Bangalore is of the fact that Goddess is worshipped and prayers are offered during Rahukala time, Rahukala is believed to be an unfavorable time as per Humanity. Of which it is believed that devotees worshiping Goddess Banashankari in Rahukala to overcome all the hardships as well as paucities of life. This temple attracts huge number of devotees, particularly on Tuesdays, Fridays as well as Sundays. The prayers to Goddess Banashankari are offered by lighting many oil lamps in semi cut lemon peels, whose pulp have been removed.

 

A folklore behind this tradition is, once three "Muttaide"s (married women) visited the temple and asked the temple’s priest to perform Puja in Rahukala. Though the priest initially refused to perform the pooja, the women insist and make him perform the Pooja. After completion, the priest comes out to offer them the Prasadam, but finds that they have Vanished. The very fact made the people believe that, the visited "Muttaide"s were Goddesses and offering prayers during Rahukala brings happiness and good things to life.

The way of offering prayers at the temple is also very interesting. Devotees create lamps from lemons by cutting them half and removing the inside pulp. Then they  put oil inside and light them to perform Arathi to shakambari and banashankari devi.

Tuesday, Friday and Sunday are considered as the most auspicious days and huge number of devotees offer prayers on these days.

The temple celebrates 4 main festivals. Banashankari Jaatre on the day of Pushya Shuddha Hunnime, Temple's Anniversary, Dussehra and Banashankari Janmotsava on Baadrapada Shuddha Hunnime.

The Banashankari temple in Bangalore at currently comes under the administration and management of the Muzrai department of the Government of Karnataka.

Sanidhi’s at Sri Banahankari Temple:

  • Sri Shakambari Devi
  • Sri Chowdeshwari Devi
  • Sri Maha Ganapathi
  • Sri Parvatha Malikarjuna Swamy
  • Sri Anajaneya Swamy
  • Nava Gruha
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