Showing posts with label Bellary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bellary. Show all posts

A Unique and Rare Chalukyan Temple, Angur/Angoor, Ballari

Sri Kalleshwara swamy temple, Angur
Sri Kalleshwara Swamy Temple, Angur

Angur/Angoor, a small nondescript village on the banks of the river Tungabhadra is home to an obscure and rare Chalukyan temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Reaching this temple in Angoor was as difficult as reaching the village itself. During our road trip of exploring the hidden gems on the banks of river Tungabhadra, we made a point to visit this temple dedicated to Sri Kalleshwara Swamy. We had to do some off-roading to reach this village from Magala and some search to reach the temple. To our shock and surprise, we found the entrance to this temple being locked for eternity. After inquiring with a few locals, we were advised to jump over the gate and enter if we wished to see the temple. I was a bit skeptical in doing so but with no option left, I forced myself and jumped over the gate to gain entry into this temple. However, it was only later that I found out about the conversion of one portion of the fence into a makeshift gate for the care taker's to entry into the temple premises.
Nine Banded Chalukyan Door Jamb
Beautifully Executed Seven Banded Door Jamb
Unique and Rare Chalukyan Temple
Note the Kirtimukha on the Vestibule of the Temple
Sri Kalleshwara Swamy Temple is a south facing trikuta temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga, and Lords Janardhana and Surya built during 11th century by the Kalyani Chalukyas. Though not very impressive from outside as compared to the other temples built by Kalyani Chalukyas in the neighborhood, this temple has the distinction of being very unique owing to the presence of rare murtis of Lord Alingana Chandrashekaramurti, Daksha Mahaprabhu with his consort Prastuti and the god and goddess of eternal love, Rathi-Manmatha. The sheer presence of these murtis are itself very rare and their occurrence together is extremely significant. Daksha Mahaprabhu or Daksha Prajapati is one of the many Manasaputras (wish born sons) of Lord Brahma and is the father of Rathi (goddess of love) and Sati (one of the wives of Lord Shiva).  As per vedic beliefs, Daksha Mahaprabhu was allotted the work of developing/expanding the universe by Lord Brahma. Daksha Mahaprabhu is depicted with a Ram (male goat) head most commonly alongside with Lord Veerabhadra. There are very few temples dedicated to the love-god couple Rathi-Manmatha, but hardly any  dedicated to Daksha Mahaprabhu. Even the occurrence of Alingana Chandrashekaramurti is quite interesting since Lord Shiva is rarely worshipped in this form.
Lord Kalleshwara Swamy
Lord Kalleshwara Swamy
Lord Surya
Lord Surya
Lord Janaradhana
Lord Janardhana
Alingana Chandrashekaramurti
Beautiful and Rare Murti of Alingana Chandrashekaramurti
Rathi-Manmatha God and Goddess of Love
Lord Daksha Mahaprabhu with Consort Prastuti
Sri Kalleshwara Swamy Temple is thus very unique and must have been built to please these Lords in order to increase the population. These beautiful murtis along with those of Lord Ganesha, Goddesses of Saptamatrikas and Mahishasura Mardini, and Nandi are seen in the sabhamandapa. All the doors of this temple are finely carved. The door jambs of the garbhagriha consists of five sakhas (bands) decorated with various  flowers, creepers, animals, and musicians and that of the Mukhamandapa  consists of seven sakhas decorated with (1) lozenges (2) creeper-scrolls (3) flying mithunas (4) pilasters (5) square flowers (6) ropes and (7) petals. The outer wall is plain with the kapota having padma moulding on its underside and a curved top with semi circular designs. Above this is a plain course, a simple moulded course with blocks with another kapota having a sloping top and dentil projections carved with figures. The figures carved here include those of Lords Veenadhari Shiva, Bhairava,  Ganesha, Madhava, Narasimha, Goddess Saraswathi, the Ashtadikpalas, dancers, musicians, and others. While the history behind the construction of such a temple still  remains a mystery, deciphering the same will definitely add a lot more value to the current and future generations.  It is sad that this temple today is in oblivion and remains locked. Though the ASI has done a significant job of restoring this temple, it has failed to maintain and give it the respect it deserves.
Five Banded door frame Chalukyan style
5 banded Door Frame of Garbhagriha
Nandi Murti
Veenadhari Shiva
Mahishasura Mardini in Chalukyan Architecture
Mahishasura Mardini
Places to Visit Around Angur: Hampi, Galaganatha, Chaudayyadanapura, Bellary, Sanganakallu, Haveri, Haralahalli, Magala, Ambali, Rangapura, Kurugodu, Gudekote, Bagali, Nilgunda, Havanur, Harihara, and many such.

1. A book " Temples of Karnataka" by Dr K M Suresh

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2. Sri Kalleshwara Swamy Temple, Hire Hadagali
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Kurugodu Sri Dodda Basaveshwara Temple and Panchamukhi Veerabhadraswami Temple

Sri Dodda Basaveshwara Temple, Kurugodu
Sri Dodda Basaveshwara Temple, Kurugodu

'Sri Dodda Basaveshwara Temple' of Kurugodu is the most revered of all temples here. One of its kind murti of lord Panchamukhi Veerabhadraswami is found here and is considered to be the most unique. After visiting various temples of Hale Kurugodu, we reached the Dodda Basaveshwara temple around noon. After seeking blessings of the Lord, we were served with Anna Prasadam  which happens here on a daily basis to all the devotees during the noon time. This temple is believed to have been constructed during the rule of the Vijayanagara kings. The temple complex is quite big, with a recently constructed Shikara and is dedicated to Lord Nandi or Basavanna, the vahana of Lord Shiva. The murti of Lord Basavanna is about 12 ft tall.The recent findings have revealed that the 'Bhavana Sangama', father of Harihara and Bukka (founders of the great Vijayanagara empire) belonged to Kurugodu.
Sri Dodda Basaveshwara Temple, Kurugodu
Nandi Pillar at the Entrance of Dodda Basaveshwara Temple
History of Kurugodu
Information About Kurugodu
Hereon, we visited the Panchamukhi Veerabhadraswami temple which is located in the by-lanes of Kurugodu town.  This temple is completely renovated into a new structure. We visited the Sahasralinga complex besides the Veerabhadraswami temple. Though the main temple remained closed, we were able to have the darshana of the Lord, thanks to the grilled door . The Lord looked  divine with five faces and 12 hands, with Daksha Mahaprabhu standing besides him. It is rather an unusual depiction of the Lord Veerabhadraswami. There is a small murti of Lord Ganesha in the same garbhagriha. This temple is hardly known to many outside the town of Kurugodu.
Sahasralinga, Kurugodu
Rare and Unique Murti of Panchamukhi Veerabhadraswami, Kurugodu
Rare and Unique Murti of Panchamukhi Veerabhadraswami
How to Reach Kurugodu: Kurugodu is about 30 km from Ballari/Bellary. Take NH150A which connects Siriguppa to Bellary and then  take a  right turn at Dammur cross to reach Kurugodu. 
Accommodation: There are not many options available for accommodation in Kurugodu. However,  the best would be to find a stay in Bellary overnight. Our usual place of halt is Hotel Ashoka Residency with an affordable budget.
Places to Visit Around Kurugodu: Sandur, Kudatini, Sanganakallu, Bellary, Hampi, Nittur, Sirigeri, Siriguppa, Kenchanagudda, Kampli, Hirebenakal, Gudekote and many such. 

Temples of Hale Kurugodu, Ballari

'Hale (Old) Kurugodu' was earlier a village of Kurugodu during the rule of Sindhs, which later got shifted from here to the east, in its current location. This place today stands a mute spectator to its history and the events that took place here. There are many temples here, most of which are in ruins today. It is hard to imagine the grandeur of this town in the bygone era. The majestic hill fort, the grand temples and cave temples here serve as a testimony to what a small yet significant dynasty could achieve in a short time. There are more than 10 temples built during their period that have survived the test of time, significant among them are,
1. Chikka Basavanna Temple: This temple is located about 2 km from the main village and is dedicated to Lord Basavanna (Nandi). This murti of Basavanna is facing  Lord Shiva, located on the hill of Kurugodu. This temple was built in 12th century, with only garbhagriha and a part of the Navaranga remaining today. This temple is located in a calm and serene location and we spent quite a good time here.
Chikka Basavanna Temple, Kurugodu
Chikka Basavanna Temple, Kurugodu
2. Sri Veerabhadra Cave Temple: Sri Veerabhadra cave temple is located in the interiors of  the hills. We had to drive across a few quarry vehicle routes to reach these isolated caves. There are 2 caves here, one dedicated to Sri Veerabhadra with Sri Daksha Maharaja and the other to Lord Shiva. There is a Kannada  inscription in front of these caves.
Lord Veerabhadra Swamy With Daksha Maharaja
Lord Veerabhadra Swamy With Daksha Maharaja
Cave Temple, Kurugodu
Inscriptions in front of  Veerabhadra Swamy Cave Temple, Kurugodu
Inscriptions in front of  Veerabhadra Swamy Cave Temple
 3. Jain Cave Temple: A small cave probably dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras and remains incomplete due to change of rule here. These carving date to 9th - 10th Century, before Kurugodu Sindhs taking over this place.
Jain cave, Kurugodu
Incomplete Carvings of Jain Tirthankaras
4. Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple: Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy temple was built by Kurugodu Sindhs in the 12th century. It is now in a ruined state with all the vandalizing done by our generation. The temple consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala and an open sabhamandapa.
Sri Mallikarjuna swamy temple, Kurugodu
Sri Mallikarjuna swamy temple, Kurugodu
5. Sri Sangameshwara Temple: Sri Sangameshwara temple is the grandest of all the surviving temples here. This huge temple was built in the 13th century, with later additions by the Vijayanagara kings in 16th century. This temple consists of garbhagriha, an antarala, a pradakshinapatha, an open 60 pillared mahamandapa and a mukhamandapa. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga. It was good to see that this temple was live and people were performing pujas and offering prayers here. 
Sri Sangameshwara Temple, Kurugodu
Sri Sangameshwara Temple, Kurugodu
6. Srisaila Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple: Srisaila Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple was built in 12th century by the Kurugodu Sindhs. This temple consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, a sabhamandapa and  a mukhamandapa. There is a beautiful pillar in front of this temple. 
Srisaila Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Kurugodu
Srisaila Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Kurugodu
7. Sri Siddeshwara Temple: Sri Siddeshwara temple is close to Kurugodu town, probably hinting this to be the earliest village site. We found many pieces of pots and stone tools. This was a Jaina temple, but later converted into a Shiva temple during the 12th century by Kurugodu Sindhs. The temple consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, a sabhamandapa and a mukhamandapa.
Sri Siddeshwara Temple, Kurugodu
Sri Siddeshwara Temple, Kurugodu
8. Sri Rachamalleshwara Temple: Sri Rachamalleshwara temple is a trikuta temple built  in 1177 AD by the Kurugodu Sindhs. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, housing Lingas in all its three garbhagrihas and are named Gavareshwara, Mallikarjuna and Muddeshwara. The temple was renamed as Rachamalleshwara due to the belief that the strongest of the Kurugodu Sindhs, Chief Rachamalla transformed into a Shiva Linga post his death, here in the temple. It is a pity that this temple today is in ruins. 
Sri Rachamalleshwara Temple, Kurugodu
Sri Rachamalleshwara Temple, Kurugodu
Lord Rachamalleshwara
9. Murugudi Temple Complex: This temple complex comprises of 4 temples, all of which are dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga. Two out of these temples are live with regular worships, while the other two are in ruins. The main temple here consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, a sabhamandapa and a mukhamandapa. 
North Temple, Murugudi Complex
South Temple, Murugudi Complex
10. Dodda Ganeshana Bande: There are two stone carvings of Lord Ganesha here, one of which is 10 ft tall and  the other is 20 ft. The carving of the 20 ft Dodda Ganesha was amazingly beautiful!
Dodda Ganesha, Kurugodu
Dodda Ganesha

To be continued...

Kurugodu, Bellary - Fort, Prehistoric Paintings and Ancient Temples

Kurugodu, Bellary - Fort, Prehistoric Paintings and Ancient temples
A Panoramic View of Kurugodu Fort, Town and Hills
Though traveling to Kurugodu was fairly regular when I was in Bellary, we could never manage to make enough time for exploring this place. The 'Hill Fort of 'Kurugodu' has always been inviting and many of our travel and historical books speak in volumes about it. The level of eagerness to explore Kurugodu reached its highest at one point and culminated with us planning a road trip to Bellary during the holidays of Deepavali, last year. Trust us! This place undoubtedly exceeded our expectations. Our previous day was quite exciting, with the highlight of the day being the prehistoric anthropomorphic sites of Kumathi and Hulikunte. This day, we planned to explore the prehistoric sites of Sanganakallu and Kuppagallu and in anticipation of a really hot day, we started quite early and reached Sanganakallu. As Mr. Ramadasa, our guide for the day who knew every stone of Sanganakallu was held up with other work and promised to meet us the next day, we decided to go ahead to the next place on our list, Kurugodu.
Shiva Mandapa, Kurugodu Fort
A Bird's Eye View of Shiva Mandapa 
History of Kurugodu and Kurugodu Fort: Kurugodu is believed to have been a part of the Kishkindha kingdom ruled by the monkey brothers Vali and Sugreeva during the Treta Yuga (period when Lord Rama ruled the earth). Later in the Dwapara Yuga, this place became the capital of the Kuntala kingdom ruled by the great king Chandrahasa. The town of Kurugodu, surrounded by many small hillocks, proved an ideal environment for the then prehistoric settlement. There is ample evidence given by archaeologists in the form of artifacts to prove that this site was once occupied by prehistoric men. A few cave paintings found here can be traced back to the Bronze Age, with the others belonging to the Iron Age. Though there are no records of Kurugodu's association with the Mauryan empire, findings from the Ashokan edicts at Nittur and Udegola which are in close proximity to Kurugodu confirm that Kurugodu was once under the rule of the Mauryan kingdom. An inscription found here dated to around 2nd century AD confirms that this place was also under the rule of the Satavahanas between 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Subsequently, it came under the control of the Badami Chalukyas after which it gave rise to one of the lesser know dynasty, the Sindhs of Kurugodu. The Sindhs ruled Kurugodu from 7th century till the end of the 12th century, with their descendants seen living even now at Kurugodu. King Ariballi Dagra established the Kurugodu Sindh Kingdom followed by Udayaditya, Chokarasa, Rachamalla I (the most successful king of this dynasty), Rachamalla II and Veerakalidevarasi. The fort of Kurugodu was built by the Sindh kings way back in the 10th century and was later improved by the Vijayanagara Kings. This fort is four tiered, with its bottom most tier of fortification encircling the entire town of Kurugodu and its surrounding hillocks. At a later stage, Hyder Ali captured this fort and post the death of Tippu Sultan, it was left abandoned.
Kurugodu Fort
Kurugodu Fort Walls
Bird's Eye View of Hale Kurugodu
Tungabhadra canal
Tungabhadra Canal Traversing Across Paddy Fields
Kurugodu Fort
Kurugodu Fort
Having been to Kurugodu many times and hence being familiar with its surroundings, we easily found a decent place to park our vehicle and reached the base of the hill. Hereon, two men volunteered to accompany us and guide us along. They informed us about the presence of two routes, one laid with proper steps and the other with a rough path through thorny shrubs, which turned slippery at times. For us, taking the the tougher route was quite an obvious choice. The climb was slightly difficult, though a short one and we reached the first tier of fortification from where there were two diversions, one leading to the Shiva mandapa and the second to the next level of fortification. Reaching Shiva mandapa was quite tricky. It is a small mandapa housing a beautiful Shiva Linga, installed by the Sindh kings who were staunch followers of Veerashaiva dharma. The climb from here towards the second tier was quite easy. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya with an inscription carved on stone, of the Vijayanagara Kings. From the top of this hill, we were able to spot many temples on the other side of Kurugodu, and upon inquiring, our guide informed us about Hale Kurugodu or Old Kurugodu, which was once a prosperous town under the Sindhs, but now is in ruins and shambles. They gave us all the details of the temples there. We explored the remains of the fort, most of which were still intact. There are many interesting balancing rocks here. Our descent was quick and we asked our guides if they were also interested in showing us around Hale Kurugodu. Their response was negative and they also went on to advise us not to explore that side of the place as it had turned into a drunkards den and would be unsafe. We thanked our guide and bade them good bye. We stopped by a small shop to buy some snacks and prepare food for our little one. We bought a few fruits here for which Kurugodu is known for. Kurugodu and its surroundings are well known for the excellent quality of Pomegranate, Fig and Papaya they grow, most of which are exported.
Kurugodu Fort
Balancing Rock inside Kurugodu Fort
An Inscription Outside Lord Anjaneya Temple 
Lord anjaneya inside Kurugodu Fort
Lord Anjaneya
Balancing Act by Rocks
Kurugodu Fort
Lord Anjaneya Temple and Fort Walls
Lord Shiva, Kurugodu Fort
Lord Shiva
We decided to explore the temples which we saw from atop the hill and proceeded further. We found ruins of many temples here and a little further on a rock we spotted some red colored paintings. We parked our vehicle to investigate the place and to our surprise, they were indeed prehistoric paintings. We were able to identify the paintings of hyena, bulls, people and many other worn out paintings. So excited we were! It seemed for a second like it was our own discovery! We explored more around this area with an expectation of finding other paintings, but no luck. There was a person working nearby this site and on inquiring him about the presence of any other such paintings around, he looked blank and admitted of being totally unaware about them. HeyI requested him to come along to the rock where we saw the paintings to know if he could recollect having seen similar paintings elsewhere, but his answer was negative. He went on to confess that he never knew about these paintings and its significance, but will keep in mind the same from now on. He suggested us to see a cave temple with some carvings of kings a little further. We thanked him and carried on with our explorations.
Prehistoric Rock Shelter, Hale Kurugodu
Prehistoric Rock Shelter, Hale Kurugodu
Prehistoric Cup-marks , Bellary
Prehistoric Cup-marks 
Prehistoric cave painting, Kurugodu, Bellary
Painting Depicting Hyena 
Prehistoric cave painting, Kurugodu, Bellary
Unidentifiable Cave Paintings
 To be continued….. 

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