Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Mallikarjuna Temple, Mahakuta
My first visit was to the famous Mahakuta temple which is surrounded by hills and cool atmosphere, located 14 kms away from Badami, in Bagalkot District.This place is famous for the Mahakuteshwara Temple, the temple dedicated to Shiva.
It was built in the Dravidian style, In the courtyard, there are 15 small temples with intricate sculptures. The temples, built by Chalukyan dynasty, are dated to the 6th or 7th century. This place is often called Dakshina Kasi because of its religious importance.
Mahakuta was once a great center of shaiva cult. Now only in one temple poojas are performed.Here,the principle temple is devoted to Shiva of Mahakuta, or Mahakuteshwara, and another to Mallikarjuna - another aspect of Shiva.
There is also a natural spring pond called Vishnu Pushkarni near the Mahakuta temple. This restored temple complex of about two dozen Shrines dedicated to Shiva, is built around a large spring-fed tank which is within an enclosed wall. On the old gateway to the south-east, one can see figures of Bhairava and Chamunda.
There is a Lingam in the sanctum, surmounted by a storeyed tower with an octagonal domed roof. The best carvings can be seen on the basement frieze, which has fine scroll work and figures from the epics. In the wall niches one can see large figures of Shiva, including that of Shiva as Ardhanarisvara (half man and half woman).
On the other side of the tank one comes across the Mallikarjuna Temple which has a similar structure. It has fine specimen of carvings at the entrance and on the ceiling of the columned Mandap inside, depicting Hindu Gods and Goddesses and Mithuna Couples (couples in love).
Inside the enclosure, there are various smaller shrines, with fine wall carvings of Shiva with Parvati, Brahma and flying couples with lotuses. This is a worth visiting place.