KOTILINGESHWARA is a portmanteau word formed from KOTI, LINGA, and ESHWARA. The word Koti in Kannada means One crore. Kotilingeshwara Temple is in the Kolar town of Karnataka. Therefore, the Kannada name KOTI. The word Linga or Lingam is an aniconic representation of Lord Shiva.
ESHWARA is another name for Bhagwan Shiva. Thus, the word KOTILINGESHWARA implies that the temple has one crore LINGAs. Justifying the name temple has one crore consecrated lingas! According to Hindu mythology, consecrated linga is more divine and powerful than ordinary linga sculpted in local temples. The primary linga of the temple is the largest in Asia.
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Kotilingeshwara Temple History
Samba Shiva Murthy built the temple in 1980. However, the temple’s history dates back to the 8th century AD. Bhakta Manjunatha, born in this era, consecrated (install or prathishta) the first linga.
Manjunatha was born in Dharmasthali (now Kammasandra in Kolar) to a Shaiva Brahmin couple. He was an atheist and insulted Lord Shiva since his childhood. Instead of joining the family business, Manjunatha ran a wrestling school and was involved in vigilantism.
One day, Manjunatha visited a local Shiva temple along with his family. During his visit, every lamp in the temple became unlit. People started blaming him for the bad omen. But the local viceroy Maharaja Ambikeshwaravarma calmed the mob and lit all the lamps again, proving Manjunatha was innocent.
Blessed by the happenings in the temple, Manjunatha perceived Lord Shiva. He started singing the MAHAPRANA DEEPAM song composed by Vyasa Maharishi. The incensed lamps glowed brighter and brighter with every verse. After the miracle, Manjunatha changed to become the greatest devotee of Lord Shiva. To acquit himself from the sin of insulting Lord Shiva a million times, Bhakta Manjunatha consecrated one crore Linga with the help of Maharaja Ambikeshwaravarma.
Shivling in Temple
The primary Shiva Linga of the temple, also called the Moola Vigraha, is the largest Linga in Asia. A statue of Saint Basava and a beautifully sculpted Nandi accompanies the Linga.
The Shiva Linga is 108 feet tall. The Nandi statue is 105 feet tall and stands on a 60 feet tall platform. The height of the other linga is in the range of 1 foot to 3 feet.
Kotilingeshwara Temple Timings
Shree Kotilingeshwara Swamy temple opens at 6 in the morning. Abhishekam starts at 6:10 AM. Mangala Aarti and Naivedya offerings are at 7 AM. Darshan starts at 7:15 AM and continues till closing (9:30 PM).
Temple is open all 365 days. All seasons are ideal for visiting the temple as it is in the Tropics. Carry an umbrella if you are planning to visit during the monsoon months (June to September).
How to reach Kotilingeshwara Temple?
Shree Kotilingeshwara temple lies in the Kammasandra village of the Kolar district.
The nearest airport to the temple is Kempegowda in Bengaluru. However, Kotilingeshwara temple’s distance from the airport is 100 km, and it takes two and a half hours to reach.
Bengaluru is the best roadway to reach the temple. The drive from Bengaluru to the temple is beautiful. Lush green farmlands, streams, and trees on either side of the road make the drive scenic and pleasant.
Coromandel is the nearest railway station to the temple. Kotilingeshwara temple’s distance from the station is 6 km. Unfortunately, no direct trains are running between the station and major metropolitan cities like Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Kolkata.
However, you can board trains from these cities to nearby places like Mangalore, Bengaluru, Hubli, and Hassan; and take a taxi to Kotilingeshwara temple.
Fee Structure of Kotilingeshwara Temple
- Temple Entry Fees per person: Rs 20
- Parking: Rs 30
- Camera charges: Rs 100
- Installation of Linga: Rs 6000
Kotilingeshwara Linga Prathishta
Anyone can install or consecrate a linga in their name at the Kotilingeshwara temple. The temple allows Linga Pratishta all 365 days. Timings for linga pratishta are between 6 AM and 6 PM. Consecrating linga blesses the family with good health, prosperity, happiness, and long life. Moreover, it removes evil effects, Brahma hatya dosha, and other doshas related to death.
Auspicious Days for Linga Prathishta
Purnima days (Full Moon day), Somavara (Monday), and Shivaratri are the best days to do linga prathishta. You can also do it in the month of KARTHIKA, that is, during November-December.
Religious men prefer to enter the temple with a bare chest without a shirt or vest and may wrap ‘ANGAVASTRAM’ (a long white cloth usually worn on the upper body). However, temple authorities allow the tourist men to enter with their shirts on.
Ensure you wear a decent half-sleeve or full-sleeve formal shirt. Men shall not enter the temple premises in baniyan, lungi, or sleeveless shirts. Similarly, women should wear a saree or salwar kameez with a dupatta. Devotees wearing jeans, T-shirts, frocks, gowns, sleeveless, and other informal dresses shall not enter the temple.
Overview of the temple
Shree Kotilingeshwara temple spreads over 15 acres of land. It has a big water tank, and priests use it for performing daily poojas and Abhishekam (holy baths to the deity). In addition, the temple has a meditation hall, rest house, exhibition center, and marriage hall.
Apart from this, the temple also has eleven small temples of different other gods like Lord Vishnu, Lord Ram, Goddess Annapooranai, Lord Ganapathy, Lord Venkata Ramani, Goddess Karumari, Lord Panduranga, Goddess Kannika Parameshwari, etc.
Apart from these temples, there is a small market in the temple premises selling pooja materials, shiva lingam, and knick-knacks.
Other places to visit near Kotilingeshwara Temple
The government of India recently declared the temple a tourist spot and developed the commute to the holy place. Since then, the temple has started attracting tourists from different parts of India and the world. Other places to visit are Antara caves, Antharagange caves, Markandeya hills, M Visweswaraya Museum, Dodda Ayur (Chota Ladakh), etc.
Festivals and Rituals
Mahashivaratri is the major festival celebrated in the temple. During the celebrations, loud drums echo in the air. People from different parts of the world visit the temple during the Mahashivaratri festival.
Holy Trees in the Temple
There are two holy trees in the Kotilingeshwara temple: the Nagalinga tree and the Cannonball tree. The flowers of the tree are highly sacred for their shape. Naga linga Pushpa or Cannonball flowers bloom to form a Shiv Ling and a Snake.
Lord Shiva has a snake called Vasuki on his neck. Even in Ling forms, Hindus worship Lord Shiva along with Snake Vasuki. For this reason, the two cannonball trees in the temple are sacred. Women tie holy threads to the tree to receive boons from the lord.
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