Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Muktheshvara Temple, Chaudadanpura

The east facing Muktheshvara Temple is one of the important monuments built by the Kalyana Chalukyas. Malla or Mallugi a feudatory of the Guttarasas of Jatacholavamsha datable to 1115-1120 AD., the temple was renovated by the Kalamukha Saint Sivadeva the Guru of Guttarasa in 1225 AD. According to an inscription o 112 AD, the architect of this temple was Ravoja.  Chaudadanpura would have been an important pilgrimage site in the medieval times however at present it is reduced just to a small village.
A local tradition assigns the present name, Chaudadanpura, to 12th century CE. As per the legend Shivadeva Wodeyar, who was living here, donated this place to Chaudayya who was a great devotee of Shiva and belonged to the community of boatmen. As the place was donated to him hence it was called as Chaudayyadanpura.
This temple consists of a Garbhagriha, an Antarala, and a Navaranga with two Mukhamanddapas in front. The sanctum has indented plan enshrines a Linga installed on a high pedestal. Navaranga has two doorways of which the eastern one is ornate. While the south an open porch with Kakshasana. The Navaranga has two Devakosthas. The doorways and Navaranga are flanked by elephant balustrade.
Mahishamardini is installed in one Kostha and another is found with a sculpture o Ganesh. Apart from these are the sculptures of Saptamatrikas, Parvathi and Surya with seven hooded serpent above. The centre of the Navaranga is embellished with four polished pillars.
The main attraction of this temple is the Adhisthana. The Upana moulding with relief of creeper scrolls and the Jagati has frieze of peacocks. The eastern entrance of Navaranga is flanked with the Dvarapalaka images, as well as sculptures of a devotee, A Shivayogi, female door guardians on south entrance. Ganesh, Maheshvara, Dancers, Yaksha, Virabhadra, Sarasvathi, Vishnu, Venugopala and Surya are among the noteworthy sculptures. Garbhagriha supports a tall Kadambanagara tower having loose sculptures of a nude Nagini, Ganesh,Surya,Kama,Yaksha etc.
There are few other shrines in the complex however none has any considerable style or architecture. All are small in proportion with their major features already lost. All are made up on a single cell having a Shivalingas inside. A permanent shed has been recently constructed where all the stele inscriptions are put at single place.
There is no proper foundation inscription about this temple. The earliest inscription found here talks about construction of a Shiva temple by Attiraja during the reign of the Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI. This inscription is not dated however the event would have taken place in between 1105 and 1115 CE. As the place mentioned in that inscription is Muktikhstera hence it is not very certain whether the temple mentioned in the inscription was the main temple or a subsidiary shrine
Another inscription dated in 1225 CE mentions that Shivadeva repaired a dilapidated temple from its base to top till finial. If this was the same temple built by Attiraja, was it possible that within 100 years it had to be repaired in such a large scale.
Chaudadanpura is located in Haveri district of Karnataka. From Ranebennur, take Guttal Road (SH57), you need to cross Devaragudda cross & Honnatti village. After travelling about 21 km, there is a small bus stop at the left, this is actually a bus stop for Chaudayyadanapura. Take right just after this bus stop & go for about 3 km, you reach the destination

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Holalu

Ranganatha Swamy (Anantha Shayana) Temple situated at Holalu village, which is situated 32km from Hovina hadagali and 4km from Mailara. This temple is assignable to the middle of 12th century A.D. in the region of Vijayanagara. The temple facing East and it is Ekakuta temple. The Ranganatha is enshrined in the main sanctum hall, surrounded by Lord Ganapathi, Lord Brahma and Maha Lakshmi.
 Approximately 2 feet tall, 12 feet wide and 15 cm thick, the Ranganatha is carved from a single slab of dark green chlorite schist. Such fine grained soft metamorphic stones became the medium of choice of Karnataka’s artisans from the 11th to the 14th centuries, driving an aesthetic revolution in both sculpture and architecture.  
An elaborate ornamental archway springs from columns behind the attendants and encircles the principal figure. The fertility of the design the through finish the richness of ornamentation and the hard stone had turned out to be pieces of vax in the hands of craftsman of that bye gone era. The Ranganatha Swamy image is exceedingly handsome and the sculptor has reached his pinnacle here the perfectly carved is awe inspiring.
Beautiful idol of Lord Brahma
Recently the temple has renovated by the villagers. After seeing the wonderful temple of the Lord Ranganatha Swamy feeling blessed we started our return journey.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Narasimha Swamy Temple, Rangapura

Another beautiful ancient Kalyana Chalukyas temple is found in a small village called Magala in Huvinahadagali Taluk. Narasimha Swamy Temple situated on the bank of Tungabhadra, this temple is assignable to the middle of 11th century A.D. in the region of Chalukyas of Kalyana. The temple facing north and it has two Garbhagrihas, each with an Antarala connected to a common Navaranaga and a Mukhamanadapa. The walls are plain on the exterior.
The superstructure over the Sanctum is built in Brick and Lime rising in octagonal configuration of five tires in the typical Maratha style in receding order. Except first tier which is plan the remaining five tiers have arches. Only one arch has a stucco image.
The temple is known for the sculpture of six armed ferocious Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu. Mahalakshmi, Surya, Ganesh and Dwarapalas are kept in Antaraa and Navaranga.
Six armed ferocious Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu
The chirping of the birds and the gurgling of the river are soothing to the ears. The greenery surrounding the riverbanks is breathtaking. All these put together was the picture perfect. The sanctum (west faced) has a small Linga and one can feel the powerful vibrations from the lord.
A short neck is succeeded by ribbed finial. An austere pillared hall Pakashaa is located in the west of the temple which is further divided into two chambers. A Vijayanagara period Mahadvara with a flight of steps towards north leads one to the River Tungabhadra.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Siddheswara temple, Haveri

The Haveri district dates back to the pre-historic era. There have been evidences about civilizations that existed on the Varada and Tungabhadra river basins. The Siddhesvara temple boasts of 1300 stone carvings. These carvings clearly reflect the style of the rulers then the Rastrakutas and the Chalukyas.
Haveri has been associated to the legendary king Nala of Krtayuga. According to an inscription Nala excavated a tank but a snake came up as an obstruction to the running water. Nala tried to control the snake. When the latter came on the surface of water, the king said ‘Pav-eri’ (Pav = snake, eri = mounting up) and the snake climbed up. Following this event, the town came to be called as ‘Pavari’ which later became ‘Haveri.
Haveri was also known as Nalapuri according to inscriptions. According to a legend, it is said that king Nala, dreamt a dream in which the local tank burst into flood and the whole town was about to be swept away. At that time a large snake came and lay against the flood forming a bund and stooped the flood. Therefore, the town came to be known as Haveri (Havu + keri = place of snakes).
Haveri was situated inside Banavasi-12000 during the times of the Western Chalukyas and Kalachuris under them. The town was very much patronized by the Suena rulers as many inscriptions of theirs are found here. Surprisingly there is no Vijayanagara inscription found here
The Bombay gazetteer mentions the sprawling cardamom trade in the town. No cardamom was grown locally, but it was brought from Kanara uplands, washed here at Haveri and then sent to Dhundshi, Hubli and Mysore. In Haveri, was a small well of brackish water impregnated with lime and possessing bleaching properties, the bales of cardamom imported from Kanara were washed in this well. When dried, the husks become of a light cream color. This trade flourished till the early fifties, but industrial advancement rung the knell of cardamom trade.
 The prime aspect of the Siddheswara temple is that it faces westwards instead of eastwards. Most of the temples erected during the Chalukyan era face eastwards and it is strange how the Siddhesvara temple was constructed in this particular manner. This west facing temple is a Ekakuta (single celled) structure.
 The temple is comprised of Garbhagrha, Aantarala and Rangamandapa. Around the temple, over the Vimana, are carved various sculptures such as Varahi, Lakshmi, Kali, Bhairava, Surya, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Ganesha etc. Presence of various matrikas suggests the probable Shakti affluence over the temple.
It is still not very clear as to which deity was worshipped here. It is presumed that the principal deity that worshiped was Lord Shiva. As per accounts given by historians, the temple would have previously been a Vaishnava temple and later became a Shaiva temple. This is clearly evident from the various architecture and stone carvings within the temple.
Henry Cousens tells that it is possible that the temple was built as a Vaishnava shrine, later moved to Jains who chipped away all the images, and at last it fell to Lingayats in whose control it is at the moment. The god is referred as Siddheshvara in all Chalukya inscriptions. Since the Suenas, the god is referred as Svayambhu-Siddheshvara. The earliest inscription mentioning the temple is dated 1109 CE however this is not the foundation inscription; therefore it can be safely assumed that the temple was constructed in last quarter of eleventh century CE.
Antarala is as big as sanctum and is square in design. Its western doorway has Hindu trinity, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu on its lintel. Besides them are shown Ganesha and Kartikeya on either side. All these five gods are enclosed inside a Makara Torana. Two perforated stone slabs are on either side of the door jambs. No Dvarpalas are found on the jambs. Inside the Garbhagrha is a small Shivalinga. Its small size reflects the Svayambhu (self-emanated) character as it does not protrude much from the ground level.
Ranga mandapa is supported on eighteen pillars including four central pillars. Benches with slanting back rests run across the Mandapa. The fourteen pillars are in form of half-pillars supported on these banches. The Mandapa has three openings, on north, south and west, all supported by Bhadramukhas (porches). The Mandapa would have undergone major changes as inscriptions talks about gifts of pillars in about thirteenth century CE.

The ceiling of the Rangamandapa is divided in twelve parts and each part divided into twelve compartments. All ceilings are decorated with hanging lotus buds except north-western part. That part of ceiling is decorated with a sculptural panel depicting Ashta-matrikas and Shiva as Gajantaka in center. Ashtamatrikas are Brahmi, Kaumari, Indrani, Lakshmi, Maheshvari, Varahi, Chamunda and Yami.
In the same complex, on south of the Siddheshvara temple is another temple dedicated to Narasimha incarnation of Vishnu. An exquisite image of Narasimha adorns the Garbhagrha. The temple Mandapa has varied sculptures of Shiva and Parvati (Umamaheshwari. Shiva is superbly depicted with four shoulders holding the attributes like a bean chain, Trishul and Damaru.
 The architecture of the Siddhesvara temple is quite unique and exclusive. Soapstone was used for the construction of this temple. The exclusive work done in the temple is evidence of the Chalukyan rulers who encouraged artisans.