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Sri Gavi Gangadhareswara Temple

This ancient temple demonstrates the amazing architectural and astronomical skills of its sculptors and artists. On the festival of Makara Sankranti, which occurs on the 14th or 15th of January every year, the Sun's rays always pass through the horns of Nandi the bull, and light up the sacred Shiva Lingam. This unique phenomenon can be witnessed only for one hour, between 5:00 and 6:00 pm on this particular day.

Sri Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple was cut out of a rock somewhere around the ninth century. It was later renovated by Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore. The temple houses a unique image of Agni, the God of Fire, probably the only one of its kind in all of Southern India. To the left of the main entrance is a splendid image of Shakti Ganapathi, with 12 hands. There are four monolith pillars in the courtyard, which represent Damaru, Thrishula and two fans.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is situated in Gavipuram Guttahalli, about 3 km from KR City Market.

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Jawaharlal Planetarium

Established in 1989, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium counts among the popular tourist attractions of Bangalore. There is a sky theater inside the planetarium, with a huge dome fifteen meters in diameter. It has a seating capacity of 225 and serves as the venue for two astronomy shows daily, 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm, with the exception of Mondays.

The shows held here are both enjoyable and informative, with a great deal of facual knowledge about astronomy. All seats provide a good view. There is also an observatory inside the planetarium, with a professional six-inch code refractor telescope. The main aim behind establishing the planetarium was to promote an understanding of astronomy amongst students as well as others. A sightseeing tour of Bengaluru must include a visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, located on T. Chowdiah Road.

—L. R.

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Bannerghatta National Park

Declared a National Park in 1974, Bannerghatta National Forest is situated 22 km south of Bangalore. From the center of Bangalore, the journey takes nearly one and a half hours. Bannerghatta Park is a huge patch of lush cover where Bangaloreans and visitors alike can feel close and personal with Nature. Part of the park has been converted into a picnic and recreational spot.

The park is one of the safest elephant corridors in the country and is home to several hundred Asian elephants. Sambhar, spotted deer, wild dogs, leopards, jungle cats and monitor lizards also reside here. There are about 250 species of birds, 20 species of snakes, 150 species of butterflies and 220 species of plants and trees.

Special attractions include the Thamin deer, hog deer, king cobra, Himalayan black bear, and more. The Karnataka State Transport Department conducts Tiger and Lion safaris, and Grand Safaris which include herbivores. The safaris aid in funding the reserve and are a major attraction.

Bannerghatta National Park Rescue Centre is one of the largest in South India and is famous for its conservation work. Rescued tigers and lions are rehabilitated here. The Bannerghatta Tiger and Lion Reserve has a reserve of Indian tigers including white tigers, lions as well as other mammals.

For more reading, visit Wikitravel.

—Shobhana

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