Saturday, August 20, 2011

Manoli, Panchlingeshwara Temple.

After a comfy journey we had reached Manoli village at 2A.m. Manoli or Munavalli is a beautiful ancient city with religious and historical background. It was also a famed center with some famous Saints (Munis) were lived and faith guided in different activities. Evidence of this still we can see some status of Sages inside the Panchalingeswara Temple and also can see several old spiritual institutions (Muth's) on this village. It was not mere religious tolerance but active religious co-existence.
Nature has been gracious in Manoli of the land with supporting Malaprabha river. The Panchalingeswara temple is assemblage of Ten antithetic temples under one huge temple complex . As inscriptions dated 1145 & 1174A.D., the temple and nearest fort belongings to the Devagiri ruler Singhandeva.
Various dynasties that ruled here were patrons of art and architecture. As result of their efforts Manoli has been dotted with beautiful temples and forts.
The main temple dedicated to lord Shiva. This is a Ekakuta temple having with one Garbhagriha, Navaranga and beautiful Mukhamantapa. In Sanctum 5 Lingas situated in one Peeta (basement). The sculptures of Ganesha, Kali and Saptamatrikas were carved uniqueness of art tradition inside the main temple.
The outer wall, Shikara and inner ceilings and pillars were not much ornamented in these temples but sad thing is that whole area was painted badly and rubbishy without any sense. I saw 4-5 Hoysalas symbols on the top of the few temples in the same temple complex. We visited each temples and had spent enough time and enjoyed calmness of this area.
I impressed by the beauty of Devi and Kalabhairava sculptures with its great jewelery decoration and ornamentation. The sculpture of Kalabhairava is a great beauty, charm, ornamented and magnitude. The excavations of the Kalabhairava gave me a glimpse into the architecture and sculpture of that period..
This trip has made us to bring back to ancient times and its reflected Hindus traditions and arts and the remembrance of artists and sculptors of the past who have made us worthy inheritors of great culture. After visiting this glorious temple we headed to explore few more historical places in limited time.
Photos By - Me and Ashok SB

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Panchalingesvara Temple, Hooli.

After Saundatti visit we headed to the grand temple complex of Hooli. Hooli or ancient Hoovalli (Village of flowers) in Belgaum district has great antiquity going back to the se venth century A.D., as evidenced by Badami Chalukya epigraphs.
It was ancient Agrahara and a great educational center where different subjects were taught by famous scholars. The education center was so big that it had many streets where lived separate groups of people including scholars. It was also a renowned Kalamukha center with some famous saints of that faith guiding the socio-religious activities.
The Panchalinga temple is most famous at this place. As the name itself signifies it is the holy abode of five Lingas with five Garbhagrihas. Actually Panchalinga temples are rare in Karnataka. The temple consists five Garbhagrihas, Sukhanasi, a Navaranga and an open Mukhamandapa.
Actually the three Garbhagries are in a row at the back and one Garbhagriha each on the other two sides, thus making a total of five sanctums. This is the uniqueness of this temple. To the right of the central Garbhagriha are Mandapas which have the images of Ganapathi and Vishnu. The five Grabhagries have small Sikharas of the Kadamba Nagara Type, popular in this region.
The outer walls of the Garbhagriha are indented and plain without decorations. But the indented surface itself is pleasing. At the bottom is a plinth of thick horizontal moldings of dentil ornamentation. Above the wall are found two horizontal ornamented bands over which rises the Shikara.
The open Mukhamaqndapa is a highly elegant structure with Kakshasanas inside. Square based octagonal pillars are a great attraction in this temple. The outer pillars are placed on parapet with moldings with low-relief sculptures. This Mandapa is highly conspicuous by its large inclined eave made up of stone slabs, placed in an angle. Over this is a roundish molding with a flat roof. Inside the Navaranga are found Saptamatrika slab and images of Vishnu, Bhirava, Ranganatha, Varaha, Siva etc.
The temple has many inscriptions which throw light on the history of the temple. The Navaranga of the temple has an inscription dated 1181 A.D., belonging to the Kalachuri ruler Ahavamalla, son of Bijjala which records the gift of watershed to the temple. Hence this temple should have been built 1181 A.D. Another inscription is of the time of Chalukya Vikramaditya VI.
Thus this is an elegant Kalyana Chalukya temple in Hooli. This temple stands as evidence to what once must have been a great center for temple architecture and hints at what the other ruined temples would have looked like when they were still standing in their original glory.
Off we go bare footed in the by lanes by village we come across a little structure in complete ruins. A little distance we are greeted by the awesome site many temples scattered around on the hillock across the stream. The many other temples scattered around the village are in dire need of restoration and protection. I heard that most of the temples have their floor dug up for the hunt for treasure so much is lost and stolen.
Other than Panchlingeswara temple Hooli has many other old temples are – Andakeswara temple, Bhavanisankara temple, Kalmeswara temple, Kashi Vishwanatha temple, Madaneswara temple, Suryanarayana temple, Tareswara temple,Sangameswara Ajjanavaru temple, Beerdevar Temple. Even at remotest location on the hills has couple of temples.
Lack of time we left Hooli fort and rest of all beautiful temples and we headed to Sirsangi Kallika temple. After a small journey we reached one of the very popular temples belongs to one community. Outer was renovated so not much to see but inner part of the temple once can amazed by the sculptures and carvings on the stone.
Here Photography is restricted but still we manage to take few beautiful snaps of a couple of statues. After having a grace of Goddess Kali we headed to explore few more beautiful places with new spirit.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Saundatti - Sanctified Pearl of North....

The whole trip was planned in a short time by dividing all responsibilities among each team member and finally by everyone’s support it became a beautiful and memorable trip. Keeping in mind with our hectic schedule, we left Hubli. On the way we had breakfast hastily and after about 90 minutes of uneventful journey, we reached Saudatti one of the oldest town in Belgaum district.
There was a beautiful Fort welcomed us at the entrance of the village which is about 5 kms before reaching Yellamma temple. The road was being unsealed in sections. The History says Saundatti fort was actually built by Jayappa Desai of the Navalgund Sirasangi Samsthan in between 1743-51 with 8 bastions. Later the fort was designed by Hyder Ali of Mysore and the Desai had to transfer his allegiance over to him.
Saundatti fort is one of the biggest fort in north Karnataka. The outer walls and bastions of the fort are still intact after all these years and are a testimony of its strong construction. First we visited Kadasiddheshwara temple which situated at the middle of the fort, surrounded by four bastions. Around the Kadasiddheshwara temple in the inner Prakara there is a row of beautiful carvings of geometrical patterns with over two hundred designs, some painted.
The temple premises looks wonderful and the view of the village from the top is breathtaking and its worth the effort spent in climbing around 20 steps. We explored every bit of the temple and had the aarti done by the priest. There are lawns and gardens created at every corner of the fort. There is also a playground created for children. We explored every nook of the fort watching Saudatti city from top of the fort was eye-catching.

Later we visited Satyamma temple & Siddarakolla a dry waterfalls on the way to Yellamma temple.The century-old temple is situated atop Yellamagudda, amidst picturesque Ramalinga Hills about 5km from Savadatti. I always avoid crowded places, temples included, but I do not know what made me visit Yellamma temple. We got Devi's Darshana, and went around the temple and car-street.
Yellamma is a very popular and potent goddess in North Karnataka and south Maharashtra, and majority people visiting are devout followers. Trance women, men and even kids are a common sight. A large number of folks also appear to be festival time. There is also a dark side to it. A lot of young girls are married off to gods. Devdasi is the term used to describe them. It means female servant of God. Unfortunately, a lot of these girls end up doing prostitution.
Worse, on the festival day, young girls used to be dedicated as Devadasis, a practice which used to drive them into prostitution. With a ban on the practice imposed two decades ago, the dedication has now gone underground, away from the gaze of the law and disapproving non-governmental organizations.
In the recent past, activists tried to persuade the devotees not to follow these superstitious practices and check Devadasi system and even succeeded to a certain extent, in cajoling the women to wear the bangles, instead of breaking them. However, the practice was resumed with vigor.
The rituals, including the dedication of young girls are observed on the sly. We missed few places like Puradeswara and Ankeswara temples Naviluteertha dam, Parasghad fort because of several reason. After completing the Saudatti we forwarded to our next holy destiny point...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chennakeshava Temple –Hullekere

A small village in Arasikere Taluk has a dilapidated Channakeshava Temple. A neat structure and fine specimen of Hoysala architecture was built in 1163AD. Chennakeshava temple here stands majestically bearing testimony to the skills of architects of Hoysala era. When we reached the village the temple was closed and there was no entry to go inside the temple.
Though we enquired some villagers but to our bad luck priest and his family were away from home and they forgot to give the Temple Key to their Neighbor’s house. Already we had wasted enough time so our teammate Ashok found one small Ladder & he climbed the compound with its support and I also followed him and we climbed the compound which was 10 feet height.
Against our strong will and great enthusiasm all problems turned as ecstasy. We were able to get some great rare shots of the temple which was never taken before. We succeed to capture beautiful upper panel arts in very clear and close distance.
The height of the ladder was a problem for Rajesh Sir but he succeeded by bring another bigger ladder from the villagers with the help of our driver and finally he also joined us with great effort and it helped us to climb-down to the inside part of the temple. We pulled up the ladder and laid it on the other side of the compound wall; all descended inside the compound.
The temple was smaller in size but with full gem of arts. Some statues faces were damaged but upper part and the ceiling design was pleasing to the eye. At the main entrance there are two mammoths and a huge inscription in stone.

The Garbagriha doorway is beautiful carved. The Navaranga has eight elegantly carved niches with Dwarapalakas at the sides. All the ceilings of the temple show elegant workmanship. The ceiling panels inside the temple are a treat to watch, especially the central one. There are also fine figures of Vishnu alternating with well executed turrets and pilasters.
Even though the sculptural features on the surfaces of the outer walls are not much, there are 12 forms of Vishnu on the southern side and the 12 remaining forms on the northern side. On the west there are the sculptural works of Dharani-Varaha. Over the head of the temple there is an attractive Shikhara. In the Shikhara the special feature of Sala's brave posture is incorporated as the main symbol of the Hoysalas.
The architecture of this temple is superb in every way the fertility of the design, the thorough finish, the richness of ornamentation and the elaboration of details are unparalleled. It appears as though the hard stone had turned out to be pieces of vax in the hands of these master craftsmen.
The village also has historical temples of Saptamatrikes, Iswara and Anjaneya but we missed them.