Kotilingeshwara Temple




Kotilingeshwara Temple is a temple in the village of Kammasandra in Kolar district, Karnataka, India. The presiding deity of the temple is lord Shiva. The temple has one of the largest lingams in the world.

Before Kammasandra village was known as “Kammasandra” it was known as “Dharmasthali” and was where Manjunathasharma (CE 788-827) or Bhakta Manjunatha lived. Bhakta Manjunatha was born in Dharmasthali to a family of Shaiva Hindu Brahmins and was always a man of good character, but was an atheist who insulted Sri Manjunatha ever since he was little. He ran a local wrestling school and participated in local vigilantism instead of working in his family’s catering business and participating in religious traditions. Later in his life, he realized the divinity of Sri Manjunatha and became an ardent devotee of Sri Rudradeva. Then, one day when Bhakta Manjunatha and his family visited the local Sri Manjunatha temple a few bad omens occurred and every Deepa became unlit. The other devotees accused Bhakta Manjunatha as the cause. Maharaja Ambikeshwaravarma, a local sub-ruler for the ruling Rastrakuta Dynasty and another Shaiva devotee, happened to be there at that place. He asked Manjunatha to prove his innocence by making every Deepa glow again. Bhakta Manjunatha sang the devotional song Mayakaya Deepa by Maharshi Veda Vyasa and made them glow brighter than ever before. Everyone realized that Manjunatha was a changed man and was the greatest devotee of Sri Maheshwara. He is believed to have insulted Sri Manjunatha ten million times in his lifetime, therefore, to acquit himself of his past sins, Bhakta Manjunatha, under the patronage of Maharaja Ambikeshwaravarma and help of his family, created ten million lingas, hence the name “Kotilingeshwara” where ‘Koti’ means ‘crore,’ and installed them in the area now known as Kotilingeshwara Temple. The temple structures themselves were built by Swamy Sambhashiva Murthy in 1980. The entire story of Bhakta Manjunatha was captured into a critically acclaimed bilingual feature film titled Sri Manjunatha by producer Nara Jayasridevi and director K. Raghavendra Rao.

The main attraction of the temple is a huge linga measuring 108 ft (33 m) tall and 35 ft (11 m) tall Lord Nandi idol, surrounded by lakhs of small lingas spread over an area of 15 acres (61,000 m2). The Lord Nandi idol is installed over a platform which is 60 feet (18 m) in length, 40 feet (12 m) in width and 4 feet (1.2 m) in height. There are eleven small temples constructed within the premises for various deities. A water tank is set up close to the Linga, used by the devotees to perform Abhisheka. The idols vary between 1 foot (0.30 m) and 3 feet (0.91 m) in height. There is a rest house, marriage hall, meditation hall and an exhibition center attached to the temple.

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