KempFort – Where Divinity meets Commercialization !
KempFort Shiva Temple in Bangalore ( Bengaluru) is one of the beautiful marvels that this city has witnessed. Standing at a height of 65 feet, the statue of Lord Shiva is elegance personified. Ask any Bangalorean who has lived in the city during the initial few years of this temple opening, and they would tell you how beautiful the view from the outside and the main road was !
Over the years , this place has seen commercialization just rising over its head. First a toy store came in front of the temple blocking the view from the road , then the shop was renovated into a mall and continues to be the same at present. Today the entrance to the temple is dotted with tunnel style pathways with different lighting and pictures/ words of wisdom dotting the walls and the exit is lined up with shops selling all sorts of things from clothing, jewellery, food, idols and prayer related stuff.
Nevertheless, the sheer presence of the beautiful idol attracts one and all from locals to tourists all year long.The idol is blissful , mesmerizing and replicates ganges falling of the hair of Lord Shiva. There is also a status of Lord Ganesh closed to the entrance and though it is not as huge as that of Lord Shiva, but it has its own charm !
There are also different sections for people to offer milk , light diya’s (lamp), light incense sticks, dropping coins in a wishing well and drop offerings in Havan which is considered as a sacred fire and a means to communicate devotee’s prayer to deities. To avail these is not free and needs to be purchased at the dedicated counter’s setup.
What is disappointing about this place is that it has become more of business oriented centre rather than being a place of spiritual elegance. Locals know that the entrance to the temple is free but tourists don’t and starting from the main entrance till the Lord Shiva statue , there are ticketing counters setup in such a way that they block the path way that people walk forcing them to listen what they have to say and the only thing they say is the ticket cost , buying this ticket entitle’s one to visit these artificial cave’s that has been constructed replicating how Lord Shiva’s idol or temple’s look across the famous temples in India, which is good to some extent but not worth the ticket price that is charged , so if one wants to skip visiting the tunnel which can be little difficult to squeeze through for small kids or elderly, better avoid and just keep walking to the main idol.
There is also a special entrance ticket that helps one to bypass the queue but it doesn’t help much if there is no crowd. There are also photographers who would be roaming inside the temple offering to take snaps with the status behind for a cost. There used to be a fee charged for personal camera’s which now a day is not there and people can take photo’s as they please.
With all this commercialization, there is still a sense of spirituality and divinity surrounding this place which brings in some peace and solace to the devotee’s and the huge idols are just enchanting which brings in a big smile on the face.and inner happiness.
Overall, a place that must be visited but only if one can ignore the surroundings and look straight up to the Lord Shiva statue and be spell-bound !