Thursday, April 30, 2015

Someshwara temple, Lakshmeshwar

Lakshmeshwar a small city near Gadag represents the high point of an eclectic art which, in the 6th and 12th centuries under the Chalukya dynasty, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India. An impressive series of 4 Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary, can be seen there.
Somesshwar Temple flourishing religious center during the days of the Chalukyas. As per an inscription dated 1102 CE where god is referred as Muddesvara and later the god is referred as Svaymbhu-Somanatha or Dakshina-Somanatha. Earlier Lakshmeshwar was known as Purigere, Puligere, Hurigere, Huligere and Purika-nagarat. There are more than fifty inscriptions found in and around Lakshmeswar. The earliest reference of the city comes in an inscription of the time of the Badami Chalukya king Pulakesi II (610-641 CE). After the Badami Chalukyas, it came under the Rashtrakutas ruling from Manyakheta. One inscription of the Rashtrakuta king Dhruva (780-793 CE) is found here. After the Rashtrakutas, Western Gangas ruled over this region. Three inscriptions of their dynasty are found here, all belonging to king Marasimha II (963-975 CE). After the Western Gangas, Lakshmeswar came under the Western Chalukya dominion. An inscription at Annigeri informs that the Cholas invaded the Western Chalukya dominion during the reign of king Somesvara I and ravaged southern provinces and destroyed the city of Pulikara-nagara, (Lakshmeswar). The inscription asserts that the Chalukyas defeated the Cholas and stopped further incursions.
Lakshmeswar was the capital town of Purigere-300 division. First reference of Purigere comes in the Rashtrakuta inscription however it is not referred as Purigere-300. Its first reference as Purigere-300 is from the times of the Western Chalukya kings. The Kalachuris governed the region as the feudatories under the Western Chalukyas. A Brahmapuri was established during the reign of the Kalachuri king Bijjala in 1166 CE. After them it was the Suenas and after them the Hoysalas. Many Suenas inscriptions are found here but no Hoysala inscription is found. In the last the town came under the Vijayanagara sovereign. During their times, many disputes between the Jains and Hindus were reported. When the town came under the Mughals and other Muslim rulers, various Mohammedan buildings were constructed. The ratio of the Muslim population increased during this time however the harmony was probably maintained among all ethical groups.
History records that in the past it was the headquarters of 300 villages.  During the 11th century AD, a local chieftain, Lakshmerasa had constructed a Shiva temple dedicated to Lakshmaneshwara. Later, the town came to be known as Lakshmeshwar. The Someshwara temple is an important sacred structure here.  Built in the 11th century AD, it represents the ornate Chalukyan style of architecture with friezes of elephants and richly carved elaborate motifs.  There are 16 bell-shaped decorated pillars. The temple has the idols of Shiva and Parvati riding a Nandi (the bull) in the sanctum sanctorum.   It is interesting to note that it is the only temple in Karnataka with such a rare idol of Shiva and Parvati on the Nandi.

This east facing temple has a large Rangamandapa which has three entrances, west, south and north. With an ante-chamber, it is connected to another smaller Mandapa which also has entrance on south and north. These entrances are adorned with porches on outside. The ante-chamber also has entrances on either side. The external walls have suffered much deterioration. There would have been an arrangement of Ashta-dikpalas on the exterior, only few of these remain, that too in much damaged condition. The image inside the sanctum is unique as instead of Shiva represented in his Linga form; he is shown here riding over Nandi which is standing over a pedestal.
Unlike in other Shaiva temples, the Linga is outside the sanctum sanctorum.  The engineering skills of the builders of that time is evident, as on the day of Ugadi, (the new year), the sun’s rays fall directly on the deities.  There are 53 inscriptions kept in the premises of the temple which date back to the early seventh century AD to the 16th century AD. A legend has it that Adayya, a devout Shaivite had come to Lakshmeshwar from Kashmir.  He had married a Jain woman called Padmavati.  As a devotee of Shiva, he had vowed to bring to Lakshmeshwar an idol similar to the one in the famous temple of Somanath in Gujarat. Adayya undertook the arduous journey and returned after 22 days.  He got a replica of the idols from the Somanath temple. Made it and he installed the deities at the Someshwara temple.  It was the idea was to introduce Somanatha in Lakshmeswara hence it was referred as Dakshina-Somanatha.

One interesting feature in the complex is a deep open well behind the temple which is accessible by a flight of stairs. The well actually begins beneath the temple and extends outward. There is an entrance to the well just next to the temple. You could sit on the steps and spend an entire evening contemplating the universe. 
They lined the walls with blocks of stone and created stairs leading down to the water. This was because the base of the well provided relief from daytime heat, and more of such relief could be obtained if the well was covered.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Group of Chalukya Monuments at Lakkundi

Lokkigundi or modern Lakkugundi was a celebrated provincial capital of the Chalukyas of Kalyana and battles were fought here against the Sevunas and the Hoysalas. The mint at Lakkigundi was unique & the gold coins minted here were associated with the name of the name of the town itself (Lokkigundi gadyana). Its importance is attested by many inscriptions, temples and coins. It is also associated with the famous Attimabbe.
Nanneshavar is one famous temple of the later Chalukyas of Kalyana expressing architectural features of this dynasty. This temple is situated in the south of the town and close to Kasi Visvesvara Temple. The temple consists of a garbhagriha, antarala, navaranga and mukhamandapa in east-west axis. While the first three parts are covered the last one is open and gives the impression of later addition but the contrast it provides is highly pleasing and that is the uniqueness of this temple. The temple stands on a platform of four feet in height.
 The platform relating to the hind parts have carved mouldings over which the wall of the temple rises. There are niches along with pilasters as decorative motifs and at the roof level is decorated eave.
The sikhara over the garbhgriha has three tiers with a kalasa at the top and gives an elegant appearance. The Mukhamandapa has sixteen pillars each with a square pedestal and circular mouldings above. The square base has some sculpture decorations also. It has a lotus flower pattern in its ceiling.
 There are two inscriptions here and one of them is dated 1180 AD. On this basis this temple can be dated to the middle of the 12th century AD. The square Garbhagriha has a doorway which is full of decoration consisting of creeper and floral ornamentation. Gajalakshmi is found on the lintel. In the centre of the Garbhagriha is a pedestal on which is found a Shiva linga called Nanneshvara in the inscription.
On the ceiling is decoration of lotus flower. Through this is a small temple and does not consist of many sculptures as other Chalukyan temples do, its simplicity impresses the visitor. From this point of view this is one of the elegant temples of the later Chalukya period.

Basaveshvara temple
Basaveshvara temple is a beautiful temple and has a big Nandi inside the temple. Temple is maintained by someone living next to that temple. This temple is quite a big temple with ornate carving and in the door frame as usual found in any Chalukyan temples. It is quite near to Naneshvara temple.
Currently Lakkundi claims to have about 50 temples of various stature and antiquity. Some of the temples of note are Manikeshwara Temple, Suryanarayana Shrine (of Sun God), Kashivishwanatha Temple, Nanneshwara Temple, and Brahma Jinalaya. Most of them are dedicated to Lord Siva and his various aspects. 

 Lakkundi is also famous for its stepped tanks (Kalyani) most popular among them is the stepped tank at Manikeshwara temple called as Musukina Bhavi. Manikeshvara is a beautiful temple. It has a largest kalyani and step well in the Lakkundi. The Shiva linga is made from Saligrama Stone. It is black and lustrous and hence the name Manikeshvara.

Veera Narayana is one of the neglected temple in Lakkundi. It is strange for a temple to be in this state where ASI presence is very strong. This city has an ASI museum too and yet not maintained. There is a house inside the perimeter of this temple and has a toilet attached to the temple and that is pathetic to see.
Lakkundi has a beautiful Someshvara temple in a field and looks like a private property and still connecting road is closed. ASI has renovated this temple recently. Here we have temple view at the time of renovation and when almost complete. 
 Lakkundi has a hidden kalyani next to the museum. That kalyani houses a Rama and Hanuman temple. Of course Lakkundi is a dry area now and has no water in any of the kalyani.  The temples are a smaller shrine at the entrance to the Kalayni. Beautiful and not many people visit to that place.
 Naganatha temple
Naganatha is at the heart of the city and is almost attached to the neighbourhood houses. It is sad almost this beautiful temple is hidden between just few feet from the houses. Intricate stone work inside the temple.This temple used to be Jain temple and now has Shivalinga.