In 1638, Kempegowda III or Mummadi Kempaveerappa Gowda, whose grandfather Kempegowda had made Bengaluru the capital of his territories, was forced to shift to Magadi by Dilavar Khan of Bijapur. According to local tales, Kempaveerappa’s mother expressed her desire to visit Kashi but her failing health didn’t allow her to do so. Her son then took on the task of building a temple dedicated to Shiva in the new capital, Magadi.
The Prasanna Someshwara Temple is located atop a hill just outside the town. It is actually a temple complex with one main shrine, couple of smaller ones and a few pillared halls. It was in complete ruin till it was restored a few years ago.
However, it is only partially restored as one of the gopuras and the shikhara above the main garbhagriha were destroyed by lightning. The temple has two entrances, one in the north-east which is connected to the main road and another directly opposite to it which opens into the rocky terrain.
As you enter through the north-eastern gateway, you will pass through a nandi shrine and three-pillared halls before setting foot into the antarala (vestibule) which connects the halls to the garbhagriha. There is another nandi placed in the antarala and the garbhagriha houses a linga. There are some noteworthy sculptures on the pillars in the inner-most mantapa and there’s one of Kempaveerappa as well.
There are also photos of the templetaken before and after the restoration work and only on seeing them does one realise how badly the temple was damaged. Attached to the main temple is a pillared hall with a pedestal in the middle. This must have been a place where rituals were conducted or was used for dance and music programmes. There is a particular pillar which when struck with a metal, produces a metallic sound!
There is a separate shrine dedicated to the consort of the main deity just next to the main temple. Though it is smaller in size, the temple has almost all of the traditional temple elements and has a complete shikhara. The garbhagriha houses a life-like idol of Parvathi as Bhramarambika in a standing posture with two hands holding up lotus buds and the other two offering blessings and protection. Just outside is the pillared hall in which Kempaveerappa held court. The hall seems to have been painted but only a few patches of paint remain and the details have been lost.
Opposite to the Bhramarambika Temple is a smaller temple dedicated to Vishnu as Sathyanarayana. What is unique is that there is a Vishnu temple within the compound of a Shiva temple and that too, dedicated to Sathyanarayana (as there not too many temples dedicated to this form of Vishnu)! This idol is exquisitely carved and has a life-like appearance. There are four small gopuras held up by pillars at the four corners of the outer compound wall apart from a yagna shala (a hall for performing rituals) and a kalayanothsava mantapa. A few metres from the temple, outside the compound wall is a nandi mantapa built atop a rock and is very similar to the four mantapas built by Kempegowda I.
Magadi, today, is a dusty sleepy town and though it is quite close to Bengaluru, it remains largely devoid of tourists. The Prasanna Someshwara Temple and Thirumale Ranganatha Temple are the main temples here. Apart from these, one can also visit Thippagondanahalli Reservoir and Savandurga Fort that are close by.