Saturday, October 29, 2011


Keladi in Sagar taluk of Shimoga district was the capital of the Nayakas identified by their capital Keladi. They were the feudatories of the Vijayanagara rulers and subsequently became independent and began to rule Keladi. The Ramesvara temple is in their capital Keladi. No inscription has been useful to date this temple but according to the work Keladi Nripavijaya the Grabhagriha of this temple was built Chowdappa Nayak the founder of this dynasty (1500-1530 A.D.) and his son Sadashiva Nayaka added the Rangamantapa. According to a legend, Chowdappa Nayaka found a lingam buried in an anthill on which his cow was shedding its milk everyday. It is said that the Keladi temple was built around this sacred Lingam.
On entering inside the complex you notice transformation into a very old structure. The temple houses three deities, Lord Rameswara (Linga and Nandi), Lord Veerabhadra and Lord Ganesh. The pillars are superbly adorned with legendary gods as well as animals. At the ceiling you can find the legendary (imaginary) two headed bird called Garudabande.
The Ramesvara temple consists of a Garbhagriha, Pradakshinapatha, Antarala a Navaranga and a Mukhamantapa in east-west axis. The square Garbhagriha has no decorations it has a Ramesvara linga of black stone on the Peetha. Garbhagriha doorway has Ramesvara with other decorations. The Antarala provides space for circumambulation and pillars which have bas-relief sculptures of lotus, lion-face etc.
The outer walls rise over the horizontal friezes or round moldings and the uppermost one is decorated. The walls and plain expect for a pilaster and a bas-relief sculpture. This is repeated on all the sides. Over this is broad eave at angle over which is a molding with a parapet. Over and above is the Sikhara of the Chalukya-Vesara type. The architecture of the temple is unique and has influences of Kadamba, Hoysala and Dravidian styles. Stupi is slightly elongated.
The Navaranga has fine pillars almost similar to later Chalukyan or Hoysala pillars with a square base. The Mukhamandapa has series of pillars with Kakshasanaa, which are broad and convenient to sit and watch the rituals and dance. TheMukhamandapa has three entrances at north, west and south with flight of steps with balustrades on either side. And also I found the statue of Rani Channamma.. Underneath Lord Ganesh, Rani Chenamma is paying respect accompanied by her consorts.
There are many sculptures which adorn this temple among which mention should be made of Bedara Kannappa, Garuda, amorous couples, Harihara, musicians playing on instruments, animals like monkey,camel,elephant,serpent, and dancers etc. At the back of the temple complex that is more or less facing the entrance a picture of Vaastu sketched on full wall panel. There exists a massive Manasthamba at the backyard of temple. This indicates the temple could have been altered subsequently in accordance with Vaastu guidance.
The interiors of the Keladi temple can surprise the visitor as it looks rather nondescript from outside. Popularly known as the Keladi Rameshwara Temple, the temple complex encloses a Parvati shrine, a Rameshwara shrine and a Veerabhadra shrine. The roof and pillars of the Parvati Temple have intricate carvings on wood. Thus the Ramesvara temple is a structure built at the beginning of the Nayak rule and hence it occupies an important place in understanding the Kealdi style of architecture. This is a popular temple and attracts devotees from all over Karnataka.