Friday, May 1, 2015

Lakshmi Lingeshwara and Jain temples, Lakshmeshwar

Lakshmi Lingeshwara temple close to the Someshwara Temple at Lakshmeshwar is another interesting monument. As the precise date of the temple is not known on stylish grounds it has been surmised that this temple should have been built in the early part of the 10th century AD.
It is one of the largest neglected temples at Lakshmeshwar, it is a Trikuta or temple with 3 Garbhagrihas. The pillars of the Mandapa are lathe turned, round and polished. It has a Shiva linga on a pitha in the sanctum. The walls o this temple was not much interesting.  

 There are two ancient Jain temples (Sannabasadi and Shankabasadi) in the town, as well as a notable Jamma Masjid. Lakshmeshwara is also home for many smaller shrines, the Kodiyellamma temple, the Mukha Basavanna shrine, and a gigantic idol of Suryanarayana.
The Shankha basadi built in the seventh century A D is the oldest Jain shrine here. The temple received continuous patronage from the Badami Chalukya kings from Pulakesi II to Vikramaditya II. The god is referred as Sankha-Jinendra in an inscription of the Badami Chalukya king Pulakesi II (610-642 CE). The temple seems to belong to Mula Sangh monastic order of Jainism which is synonymous with Digambar Jain order in today’s parlance. Dhruvadevacharya was the main priest of the temple during the time of the Badami Chalukya king Vinayaditya (680-696 CE). He is said to belong to Mula Sangh and Deva Gana. Deva Gana is one among the four different ganas organized and defined by Acharya Arhadbali. Wikipedia mentions that Deva Gana traces their lineage from Acharya Akalanka Deva who lived in eighth century CE. However, inscriptions at Lakshmeswar take back the Deva Gana time to the last quarter seventh century CE at least.
 The present structure is the result of recent conservation and renovation. Now it is known as Neminath Basadi, conch (sankha) being Neminath’s symbol therefore it was known as Sankha Basadi in earlier days. It is entered through a big hall, in front of which a high dipa-stambha is erected. This hall seems to have been constructed during the Western Chalukya time. All around the hall is a low parapet wall, which instead of being open is closed on top with pierced window panels.
 This large hall is connected to another hall which is smaller in size. This smaller hall would be contemporaneous with the original temple. At present this is reconstructed with original material wherever possible. This hall is connected to the sanctum with an ante-chamber. Inside the sanctum is an image of Neminath, the 22nd Jain thirthankara.
 It is said that Pampa (the first Kannada writer) wrote his famed works (Adi Purana) in this basadi.  He was born in 902 CE. His father abandoned Brahmanism to adopt Jainism. Pampa became the court-poet and a minister under a prince named Ari-kesari whose court was situated at Lakshmeswar. Ari-kesari claimed to be a descendant from the early Chalukyas but was then a feudatory under the Rashtrakutas. It is here in Lakshmeswar that Pampa composed his two poems which made him eternal in the history of the Kannada literature. These two compositions were Adi Purana and  Vikramarjuna Vijaya or Pampa Bharata.
 From its earliest inceptions to the last few, Lakshmeswar was all painted in the Jain color. One of the earliest Kannada dynasties, the Badami Chalukyas, patronized several Jain temples at this site. The earliest one seems to Sankha Basadi which has an inscription dated to the reign of Pulakesi II (609-642 CE). The priesthood at that time was in the hands of the priest hailing from Deva-gana of Mula Sangh.
 Sankha Basadi received continuous patronage under the Badami Chalukyas till the time of Vikramaditya II (733-746 CE). It is also said that the sister of the Badami Chalukya king Vijayaditya constructed a Jain temple, Anesejjeya Basadi. The priests of this temple seem to hail from Surastra Gana as evident from an inscription of the Western Chalukya time. The inscription mentions nirvana of two priests by observing sallekhana.
 The Jain temples of Lakshmeswar regained the impetus under the Western Gangas.During the times of the Western Gangas, Ganga-Kandarp-Jinalaya was patronized along with Sankha-basti. Ganga-Kandarp-Jinalaya might have been constructed by Marasimha II. The priesthood was put into the charge of priests hailing from Balakara-gana of Mula Sangh. There are evidences of the presence of Sena-gana priests of Mula Sangh in Lakshmeswar. An inscription of the time of the Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI mentions Jain cult in Lakshmeswar where the grants were entrusted to Narendrasena belonging to Sena-gana. During the Vijayanagara times, disputes were reported between the Hindus belonging to Someswara temple and Jains belonging to various basadis.
 An inscription of the Vijayanagara period mentions a dispute over land between the Someswara temple priest Sivaramayya and Sankha-basadi priest Hemadevacharya. The dispute was settled by Mahapradhana Naganna-dandanayaka. The judgment was in favour of the Jain priest of Sankha-basadi. A little time later, another dispute is mentioned in an inscription of sixteenth century CE tells that the dispute was between the Jains headed by Samkhanacharya and Hemanacharya of the Sankha-basadi and Kalahastideva and Sivaramadeva of the temple of Dakshina-Somesvaradeva.
 Anantanatha Basadi  is a trikuta (triple celled) structure which can be assigned to the Western Chalukya period. The shikhara is constructed in the Chalukya Phamsana style. An standing image of Anantnath, fourteenth Jain tirthankar, is put in the sanctum. The other cells have Parshvanath and Jina.

 Ankush Khan, the governor under Ibrahim Adil Shah II, constructed the beautiful Jamia Masjid in 1617 A D.  The main entrance has two tall, graceful minarets.  It is also popularly called the Kali Masjid. The other mosques as well as the tomb of Malik Sadat represent grand, ornate Adil Shahi architecture.  Ankush Khan, a saintly person, was buried on the outskirts of the town at Manjalapur. 

 He had constructed a mud fort which is in ruins now. The mosque's architecture is similar to mosques in Bijapur built during Adil Shahi's rule. Also, the town is said to have been home to a Muslim saint, Shishunala Shareef Saheb, who migrated to India from Baghdad.

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