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.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Aghoresvara temple is a rectangular structure built of stone. It is built on a platform. The temple consists of a Garbhagriha, Open Sukhanasi and a Mandapa. The basement itself is six feet height and contains five different moldings of Kirtimukhas and lion faces with indented shape with projections here and there. This remains us of the Hoysala style. Over the platform with some space all round rises the wall of the temple with Devakoshthas containing sculptures of gods and goddess. The large number of pilasters makes the temple wall very attractive. Near the roof is a decorated eave. Over the Garbhagriha is the slender Sikhara which has decorated moldings of various types.
The kings of Keladi who were the subordinates of the Vijayanagara empire, became independent at the end of 16th century and ruled as independent kings till the last part of 18th century A.D., in parts of Malenadu and coastal Karnataka. Ikkeri was their capital for sometimes and they built the Aghoresvara temple here.
The Keladi kings followed a distinct style of architecture combining the elements of Hoysala, Vijayanagara and Sarcenic features. This is well known as Ikkeri style and the Aghoresvara temple built in about 1520 A.D, is a good example of this style. Today Ikkeri is a small village wit ruined buildings, forts, temples and palaces. During the period of the Ikkeri Nayakas it was a prosperous city.
The walls of the Mandapa also have friezes which contain decoration of monkeys, swans, amorous scenes and series of miniature Gopuras. The series of shallow niches on the walls at the upper level makes the walls attractive. The niches contain Dikpalas, Vishnu, Bhairava etc. The doorways also are highly decorative. There are flights of steps with elephants as balustrades. There is Pradakshinapatha from the Sukhanasi.
The pillars of the Mandapa show a variety. There is a Sivalinga inside the Garbhagriha called Aghorescara a form of Shiva. To the west is the shrine of goddess Parvati. The doorways and windows have pointed arches which perhaps is a Islamic influence. The Nandimandapa has a finely carved Nandi. Thus Aghoresvara temple is a good testimony to the architectural and sculptural tradition of the rulers of Keladi at their one-time capital Ikkeri.
There is an interesting play of colors in the temple as it exists today. What I am not sure about is if this was always like this or the temple was of Red or Green or brown beige color and the heavy rains in this region have played their part. There are sculptors that carry a distinct deep red color, beneath them a panel has a dark green color and then the usual brown beige. On the first look you are tempted to think that it is red or green stone, but when you go closer you realize that the single stone probably can not have all the three colors. Probably the stones were colored and I again have to bank on my wild imagination to think what color it would have been conceived by the original makers of this temple.
I am also intrigued by the technique that would have been used to color the stones, as the color still stands bright and alive even after centuries of heavy rainfall on it. Sometimes the images give an impression of being cast in metal and its only when you touch them that you know that they are stone. The carvings are intricate, the curves proportionate and the expressions dedicated.
There is an interesting myth engraved in this temple. On the left hand side outer wall, there is a Scorpio and two lizards engraved. Between the two lizards is a line dividing them. It is said that when the lizards cross this line are able to touch each other, the world would come to an end. Though cast on stone, I must say that the lizards are not too far apart. This may or may not have been a part of the original temple as it does not gel with the rest of the fine sculpture and is very raw as if carved by a novice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Journey into Amazing Caves... Part-2

Ballalana cave was a natural bunch of extraordinary rock formalized caves group connecting with myth and historical background. Some legend says that Hoysala king Ballala built few steps in front the cave entrance and ruled this surrounding places and one fine day got disappeared in cave, evidence of this still we can see the exterminated forts and ruined construction in various parts of the Shola-Grasslands. The dread of the supernatural which preserved this cave from outer disturbance even local villagers also frighten to wander around this place so still this place is enrich and hygienic.
I scared to enter this atrocious cave also I heard past experience from our guide he told nobody knows the profound of the cave even few years back he tried to explore this cave with some guys with adequate equipments but he frightened to climb down further downward levels. Lack of time& information we forgot to bring Torch, rope and enough foods, I dint expected to face such a strange cave without any preparation. So I dint show much interest on look into the cave.
My friend Ashok already had climb down the first level without any help from the 3rd cave entrance. It boosted me to do cave expedition so I too find the way from 2nd cave to reach him and I joined him at 1st base after a very risky hard attempt.
With some difficulty for it was very dark and the whole place seemed so strange to us on dark we dint find any way to further level except the dipping water such a silence it was. I felt strange ambiance on that. . Rest of my teammates tried to join us but they couldn’t succeed they returned back..
We find an abrupt narrow approach from our left side but in dark we couldn’t see how deep it was. We throw some stones on deep and heard the reverberation back on few seconds. After wavering discussion once again Ashok got ready to go further downer level with helping of Camera flash and my job had to wait his reply so I stand on the cliff edge on 1st base.
Slowly he went down and after few minutes later he reached the 2nd base but I was not confident even my shoes was not suitable for slick wet rocks. So I gave him moral support and looking his safe arrival.
Waiting and wishing for his safe return on a strange place was very frustrated task ever. After a great adventure he returned back and encouraged me to go down with him. As the true nature of the caves gradually revealed itself strange vigor in myself so I also followed him step by step hand by hand support. One more very deadly attempt I reached the 2nd base which almost 100feet deep from the top. I got wonder the beauty and the shape of the cave.
There was a long passages which connected to another part of the cave. The cave themselves ramify in the same irregular fashion and are to be viewed merely as the capillaries through which rain fall passes to join the main channels. Certain rocks composed of gypsum also certain caverns of the same sort as those in the lime-stones. It was the home for bats hanging on the caves wall all over.
After a few minutes walk in narrow passages journey end-up with one more deep narrow-mouthed way and we we decided to back. This cave is impossible to navigate without any light or rope and its not travel able for next level so we head for the exit took another rout which connected to 3rd cave and did life long memorable rock climbing with my broken shoes and returned back into the wonderful sunlight!. I like to Thanks Ashok and God at the same time which made this cave expedition successful.
Kallugundi waterfalls-Long Shot
Alekan Waterfalls
On return the rugged terrains would endurance for each step of the way and it’s always blanketed in lush greenery. The variation in landscape allows the scope for both an arduous as well as a leisurely trek. All of it, all of the jagged rock, the incredible cliff bands, the outrageous climbs and drops,Undiscovered natural caves all of that it was an exotic getaway, nestled in the midst of Shola forests in Western Ghats.