Thursday, July 2, 2015

Karnataka's Khajuraho - Bagali


Bagali, Davangere
The Kalleshwara Temple Complex
 Bagali is a small village located in the Harapanahalli taluk of Davangere district. The Kalleshwara temple here is considered to be one of the rare temples of India. Unique in its style and appearance, it is popularly regarded as Karnataka's Khajuraho. There are very few temples in India where the goddess and god of love (Rathi and Manmatha) are carved as Dwarapalakas. Here one can see the beautifully carved images of them guarding the temple. This temple was built during  the 9th century AD by the Rashtrakutas which later underwent modifications under the reign of Chalukyas and the Hoysalas.  
Kalleshwara Temple, Davanagere
Pillared Alley
Lathe Turned Pillar
Heavily Decked Door Jamb
Exquisitely Carved Lintel 
Temple Priest Feeding the Royal Elephant
Dwarf Drummer
Lord Bramha,Vishnu and Maheshwara
The Goddess and God of Love (Rati and Manmatha)
  Bagali is referred to as Baguli and was one of the capitals during the  rule of Hoysala King Ballala II. However, to a large extent the credit of building this temple goes to the Western Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI. The main temple of Kalleshwara is extensively carved and has been built to perfection. The open Sabha mantapa/ Natya mantapa of the temple has 59 exquisitely carved pillars and none are similar. The four central pillars are the most beautiful with the detailing on them being parallel to none. While the ceilings of the mantapa are beautifully carved, the door-jambs are very skillfully executed and go on to serve as the perfect examples of Chalukyan architecture. 
Kalleshwara Temple Bagali
Sundari
  • Lord Ganesha
    Lord Ganesha
Killing of King Hiranyakaship
 Lord Shiva in the form of a big Linga is worshiped here even today. Many small shrines  dedicated to various gods are present around this temple. While major portion of the temple exteriors remain simple, the upper portion is adorned with reliefs of erotica. Though the erotic carvings beat that of Khajuraho in number (in depicting the various postures), they are far from being as perfect. With 62 carvings, it stands proudly as one housing the largest collection of erotica images. The prototypes of these images were taken to Paris for further examination as  a part of study and are now a part of the Paris Museum.
Erotica
The Water Source
Extensively Carved Hero Stone
The Temple Complex

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Temples of Udri, Shimoga

      The village of Udri is located on the border of Soraba taluk of Shimoga district. Also known by various names such as Uddhura, Uddhare and Uddharapura in the inscriptions found here, Udri is described in the inscriptions as the principal defense and treasure house of the chiefs of Jiddulige-Nadu, one of the territorial divisions of Banavasi province of the Hoysala period. Udri houses a few temples belonging to that period.

Dwarapalaks Hoysala
Life Size Dwarapalaka
Udri Shimoga
Lord Veerabhadra Swamy Temple
     The first temple we visited was dedicated to the couple god Lakshmi Narashima. Though the temple was simple in architecture, the idol  of the deities were quite intricate resembling Hoysala style of artwork. The other temple dedicated to Lord Ishvara had simple exteriors with a Nagari Shikara while the Vestibule housed beautifully carved Jaina figures in a sitting posture being attended to by the chamara bearers. The interiors of the temple were quite exquisite with beautiful lathe turned pillars and well carved ceilings. Interestingly, the lintel over the Sukhanasi and the entrance of the temple have carvings of seated Jaina figures, suggesting this very likely to be a Jain temple which in due course of time may have been converted into Ishvara/ Shiva temple. A number of Sati stones were found around the temple. These stones are referred to Sallekhana, one of the practices of Jainism.

Lakshmi Narashima Temple Shimoga
Lord Lakshmi Narashima Temple
Lord Lakshmi Narashima
Lord Ishvara Temple or Jain Temple
Lintel with Jaina Figures  
Inscriptions and Sati Stones
      Hereon we moved on to another Shiva temple which was almost in ruins, giving it a very rustic look. The carvings on the temple were much more intricate and detailed than the above two, suggesting that this could have been built much later. The last temple we visited was dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra and had been completely renovated. The life-size idols of Shaiva Dwarapalakas present here were truly a masterpiece of art. There were also a few unique hero stones around this temple in which the images of  heroes were similar to aliens. 

Lord Shiva Temple
Exquisitely Carved Lintel

Sati Stone
Weirdly Carved Hero Stone  

Information credit : Archaeological Survey of India

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Roadissi - "Sisupalgarh The Oldest Fort"

 Sisupalgarh, supposedly the oldest fort of India was discovered during the 80's and is believed to have had the capacity of accommodating more than 20000 people. Thus making it one of the largest settlements of that age, probably even bigger than the city of Athens which housed a population close to 10000 people. We ensured to make an attempt to visit this place when in Bhubaneswar during our road trip to Orissa. After visiting the state Archaeological Museum, we decided to visit this wonderful site.
A Model of the Fort @ State Museum  Bhubaneshwar
   The book we referred to gave us a brief idea about the location of this fort. Following these directions, we realized we had come close to this place yet we were far away since none of the locals were much aware of this place to guide us through. Finally a police man came to our rescue and gave us the right directions. We were greeted by a notice board put up by the A.S.I, signalling that we are on the right path and very close to this fort. With nobody around, finding the site became quite difficult and at one point we noticed  another A.S.I board which took us to the entrance of the fort.
Sisupalgarh, Orissa
Entrance to Fort Sisupalgarh
Remains of the Fort 
Oldest Fort of India
  Researcher B B Lal describes the history of Sisupalgarh as follows , "This was the most celebrated fort during 3rd Century BC and was bigger than Athens". We were the only ones present  around this part of the fort. Unfortunately, we could sight a big township developing adjacent to the fort site making it vulnerable to extinction and crying for help. Sadly what was once the Queen's Palace  has been reduced today to a marshy area. The pillars here have survived for 2000 odd years and today are in a state of pity due to the nasty real estate business, luring the government against taking any effective measures for preserving this historical site.
Remains of Queen's Palace
   It is very disheartening to know that many such historical sites in India have vanished due to greed of the current generation and many more are falling prey to the same. We only hope that a day comes when man realizes that such historical sites have to be preserved for the betterment of the society. 

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