Showing posts with label Aihole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aihole. Show all posts

Hoysala: Viranarayana Temple, Belavadi, Chikmagalur -II

 Though millions of visitors throng Belur and Halebidu (Mecca of Medieval Indian Temple Architecture) every year, very few curiously visit the other Hoysala temples in its surroundings. Truly speaking, the surrounding temples prove better places to study as well as enjoy the Hoysala Architecture. According to Gerard Foekema, who has carried out extensive research on Hoysala temples, “There are many small yet complete Hoysala temples which give a clear picture of Hoysala Architecture than Belur and Halebidu”.  Without any doubt, though Belur and Halebidu are the finest surviving masterpieces of Indian art and architecture, there is more about Hoysala architecture. After having explored Belavadi (just 10 km from Halebidu) , we personally felt that the temple of Viranayana reveals a lot more about the Hoysala architecture, as this temple is an amalgamation of two different stages of Hoysala style of temple construction. The temple also shows the influence of the Badami Chalukyan Architecture, thus proving that Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal were the learning centers for South Indian Temple Architecture. It is believed that many sculptors visited Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal often, to get inspiration for building beautiful temples in order to impress their kings. The Viranarayana Temple of Belavadi is probably the only Hoysala temple that houses three different plans for cells in a single temple.
Hoysala Temple Belavadi
The Temple Complex Belavadi
The interiors of this temple are excellently executed, with each of the 54 lathe turned pillars of the Mahamandapa  and the other 27 pillars of the Sabhamandapa (Viranarayana Temple) being unique in its design. The Mahamandapa, built with a provision for seating, resembles a Natyamandapa (dancing floor). There are 96 elephant carvings below the seating provided, indicating that the entire Mantapa is being carried on the elephants backs. There are 23 unique ceilings in the Mahamandapa and Sabhamandapa, out which a few are classical examples of the influence of Badami Chalukyas. The skill and perfection exhibited in constructing these temples can be even witnessed even today if one visits any of these during sunrise. The temples are constructed in a manner that the first rays of the sun fall on the main idol, even though the idol is placed about 150 meters inside the temple.
Entrance to The Viranarayana Temple 
Pillared Alley of Mahamandapa
Heavily Carved Pillar
Ceiling No.1 
Ceiling No.2
Ceiling No.3
Ceiling No.4
Ceiling No.5
Viranarayana Temple 
Lord Venugopala on the Ceiling 
Elephant Carvings 
    Long ago (pre- TGS period), like many travelers, we too were unaware of any Hoysala temples other than Belur, Halebidu, Shravana Belagola, Somanathapura and Melukote. It was a visit to the temples at Hosaholalu, Basaralu and Kambadahalli that changed our mindset for the better, making us research more on the surviving Hoysala temples, live, renovated or ruined. Ever since, our list of Hoysala temples has been growing just like the tail of Lord Hanuman. This is the 125th Hoysala temple we have explored in our pursuit of rediscovering the lost Hoysala temples. 
Lord Venugopala Ceiling  inspired by the Ceiling of Badami  Cave Temple 

ASI Museum , Aihole

            The 'Archeological survey of India' (ASI) is the most important organization dealing with archeological researches and responsible for protection of India's rich history and heritage. There are 41 ASI museums all over India. One of the museums is located inside the main enclosure of Aihole,  opposite to the famous Durga Temple. The museum houses many stone sculptures that were found in and around Aihole. The museum has an open air gallery exhibiting the various master pieces (mostly idols of various gods and goddesses and hero stones) of the Chalukyan era. The inside of the museum displays stone sculptures, artefacts and photographs of pre-historic findings and of the Chalukyan period giving information about the place of find and its approximate period.
Varuna (Rain God) on Makara (Crocodile)
Hero Stone
Hero Stone
Lajja Devi - Fertility Goddess (in the centre)
Intricately Carved Pillar

Beheaded Mohini
Lord Vishnu with his Consorts
 Pillar Base
Nataraja
Sapthamathrikas
Sapthamathrikas
Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha
Hero Stone
Hero Stone
Hero Stone
Ruins
Looks like ET
    Photography is limited to the open air gallery. The entrance fee to the museum  is as low as it can get with only Rs 2 per head. It proves a worthy place to get a quick insight into the history of Aihole and its significance during various periods including the pre historic period.
References:
1 ASI .

Meguti Temple, Aihole

   "Meguti Jain Temple" is another remarkable temple of its kind. Located in Aihole on the Megutigudda, this temple exhibits Dravidian style of architecture. The temple stands on a hill and thus named as "Megana Basadi", meaning the The Upper Temple, which in course of time was corrupted to Megudi or Meguti.
    The temple has a pillared hall in the front, and an antarala  and a sanctum in the back. On its outer walls is the famous Aihole inscription dated back to the 6th century (634 AD) which gives records of the temple construction by Ravikeerti, the commander and minister of Pulikeshin II. This temple has resemblance to the Lad Khan temple .
Meguti Temple
Magnificent Entrance
Door Frame
Jain Tirthankaras
Upper Structure
Roof
Hero Stone
Hero Stones
Fort Walls
Related Posts:
1. Melgudi Jain temple, Hallur
2. Jain temple complex, Budhi Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh
3. 100 lesser known Temples of Karnataka


Ravana Phadi Cave Temple, Aihole

     "Ravana Phadi" is the most interesting rock cut cave shrine in Aihole. This rock cut cave shrine belongs to the 6th century AD.  The cave consists of a hall with two pillars in the front and an antechamber behind. On either side of the hall are two chambers containing beautiful life size sculptures.
Ravana Phadi Cave Shrine
     It was late evening when we were walking back to our shelter after exploring Aihole. This cave from far looked very intriguing and since it was already dark and we had no energy left in us we were in doubt whether or not to find out what's in this cave. We met a person walking in the opposite direction to us and on inquiring he felt sorry for us telling the cave might be closed at this time but it is very beautiful inside. As a matter of chance, looking back and seeing the gate keeper just about to lock the gate to the cave he told us to rush over and shouted loud to the keeper making him aware of our presence and wanting to see the cave.  Luckily, the gate keeper cheerfully waved at us (meaning we are welcomed) and there we were, as though destined to see this place. Though we were very tired, our efforts were worth while and for sure, this turned out to be one of the most beautiful cave temples we had ever seen. 
Shiva Linga
     The inner sanctum houses a Shiva Linga. There are many life size carvings of Lord Shiva in  his various forms.  The most beautiful of them all is the ten armed Shiva in a dancing posture and to  his left is a small figure standing, which we thought could be of Lord Shanmuga (Shiva's Son). Next to him stands Goddess Parvathi  and on the right side of Lord Shiva is an interesting short figure of Lord Ganapathi engaged with his favorite food , 'the modakas'.
Ten Armed Dancing Shiva and his Family 
   The other side of the hall has figures of 'Harihara - the combined  form of Lords Vishnu  and Shiva'. There is a wonderful carving on the ceiling. The small vacant room on the side of Sanctum could have been the kitchen. The drainage system also seemed to have been well developed inside the cave. Carvings of many dwarf  musicians are also seen on the raised platform. 
Harihara
Ceiling Carving
Varaha
Sage Agasthiyar, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi
The Kitchen
Dwarf Musicians
Another Set of Dwarf Musicians
Lord Vishnu with his Consorts
Water Drainage System
 'The ASI has done a fair job in restoration of this place though they can never the match the original work. But that's not their mistake either, we have to blame our ancestors for building so complicatedly' says the watchman with an ironic smile on his face. Our ancestors were the true geniuses in every aspect of life.
The Pillars - Old and New Look


To read more about Aihole, click here

Related Posts:
1. Melgudi Jaina temple, Hallur
2. Meguti Jain Temple, Aihole
3. 100 temples of Karnataka