I have visited many tourist places in Benguluru and this place tops the list always. I keep it a point to visit 65ft Shiva idol in Kempfort whenever i visit Benguluru. But, my recent visit disappointed me to a great extent that I advice my friends to avoid visiting this place altogether now.
Let me tell you good things first.
This place is near Kempfort mall in old airport road in Benguluru, Karnataka. 65 feet tall Shiva idol surrounded by Himalayan setting and small pond is serene to look at. It was the best place to spend a peaceful evening. Exhibits of 12 Jyothirlingas arranged in a cave is another attraction.
Now, things that can irritate you in this peaceful place:
1. No transparency in entry fee:
There is no board which mentions the entry fee. Don't get cheated by paying special entry fee ticket of Rs.100/- This wont save at least 10 mins of your time. In order to show some advantage for special ticket people, they stop normal people and send them slowly even though there is no crowd ahead.
There is a separate ticket after crossing Giant Ganesha idol, Rs.30/- They don't inform it before, so that we will be struck in the queue in the middle of crowd and won't have any option than to say 'YES' and pay.
Charges wont end there yet. There is another ticket of Rs.30/- to visit Cave with 12 jyothirlingas set.
Rs.5/- per pair to store footwear and Rs.35/- for camera are the other tickets that they charge. I think, there are very few who doesn't have camera in their phone now a days. So, they wont leave any chance by asking if you want to use your phone as camera or not. If they give that option, they might lose money right as the ticket is only for camera?
Forgot to tell you.. they mention one pooja package ticket worth Rs.100/- at entrance, I am not sure if they cover both entrance to cave and visiting the idol in that. When i rejected to take that ticket, that lady threatened me that same ticket will cost Rs.250/- inside. Don't get cheated at this point. It is only Rs.60/- inside, so, Iam not sure what she was referring to. I think, they collect money to pray, put coins in the pond and lighting incense stick. Not sure, but please note that everything is commercial here.
2. Suffocating Queue way :
The path for queue way is completely covered, so there is no space for light and air also to enter.They might have set this to keep people not drenching from rain, but it's too much suffocating. It's even dangerous to go with children. The path to enter jyothirlinga cave is very dark and its difficult to walk as steps are also there. They might have arranged lights inside. By the way, they have lights and they didn't switch them On :-)
3. End result?
Yes, the idol is awesome. But, when we went in the evening at 6 Pm, there is very dim light on idol, even though there are focus lights arranged around. All those high focus lights are off adding to inconvenience. You saw the photo right? you can imagine how dim it is. At last, we didn't even get satisfaction of having a good Darshan.
So, end result will be full of negative energy and frustration. On the top of it, they ask you if you can donate to temple while leaving.
My strong suggestion would be to avoid this place for sure if you are going with kids. If not, it's your wish, tolerance, ability to spend, bhakthi and patience.
Anyone of you visited this place recently? would love to know your thoughts :-)
Until next time,