Showing posts with label Chalukyas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chalukyas. Show all posts

Raichur Fort / ರಾಯಚೂರು ಕೋಟೆ

Raichur Fort /  ರಾಯಚೂರ ಕೋಟೆ
Raichur Fort /  ರಾಯಚೂರು  ಕೋಟೆ
A visit to Raichur was pending for a long time and had remained as one of the districts which was less explored by us in the state of Karnataka. Hence we decided to visit the magnificent fort of Raichur at the least. This time we chose to travel by train in order to reduce the driving load and more importantly, to test our ability of having to travel with our little partners!! Raichur is one of the blessed districts of Karnataka in terms of it geographical positioning owing to its location between the two mighty rivers of Krishna and Tungabhadra, making it one of the most fertile regions of Karnataka. Raichur today is most famous for its Thermal Power Station at Shakthinagar situated about 18 km from Raichur and is also known for trading of cotton. This place is of considerable antiquity, right from the prehistoric period to the period of struggle for Independence. The village of Maski is very well known for the Ashokan edicts found here which is believed to have been inscribed in the 3rd century BCE. This is one of the rare edicts where King Ashoka has been referred to as Devanamapriya and Priyadarshi. Also, the Hatti Gold Mines is the only operational goldmine in India and is located in Raichur.
Raichur Fort /  ರಾಯಚೂರ ಕೋಟೆ
Bala Hisar and Fortifications
Raichur Lake
While 'Raichur' was earlier known by the names of 'Rachavoor' or 'Rachanoor', it was later called as Rayachooru. The Fort of Raichur was in existence much before the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana captured this place in 1150 CE. The fort was built by the Kalyana Chalukyas and later expanded by Raja Vitthala under the able leadership of Kakatiya Queen Rudramma Devi in 1294. The same has been documented in the long inscription found near the second doorway of the fort, inside the Mecca darwaza.
History of Raichur Fort
Telugu Inscription Describing the Construction of this Fort
While most of the fortification was built by the Kakatiya and Vijayanagara Kings, a few later additions and repair works were undertaken by the Bahmanis and Adil Shahis. Though Malik Kafur captured this fort in 1312, it was subsequently captured and strengthened by the Vijayanagara Kings. Post the fall of Vijayanagara kingdom, the Bahmanis occupied this place and was later ruled by the Bijapur Sultans, Mughals and the Nizams.
Raichur Fort /  ರಾಯಚೂರ ಕೋಟೆ
Top Most Fortification
Fort Wall and Raichur Town
Exiting the Dragon
That Sunday morning after having a  good breakfast at Hotel Udupi near the railway station, we took a rickshaw up to the base of the fort.  The driver dropped us behind the fort which was a slum like colony that slowly crept into the fort area. The ascent from here was quite easy along the well laid steps built during the 15th century. Within no time we reached the first entrance of the fort and a short trek from hereon took us to the top most portion of the fort. The Bala Hisar (citadel) situated here, which is occupied by the durbar hall which is a double three arched and triple domed strucutre. There is a big damaged cannon in the premises.  There is also a small mosque built in Bijapura style, with a single arch and two slim minarets. Besides this is a structure that seems like the remains of a small Mantapa associated with a temple, though no traces of any temple were found around. Behind the durbar hall and amidst the rocks is a beautiful carving of Lord Nandi in a seated position. It was very disheartening to see that only the lower portion of the Bull remained intact with no trace of it's head.
The Cannon
Raichur Fort /  ರಾಯಚೂರ ಕೋಟೆ
Bala Hisar
Small Mosque built in Bijapura Style
History of Raichur Fort
Broken Nandi Murti
We started our descent in the other direction, towards the Mecca Darwaza. On reaching the bus stand, we stopped by for a tea break. While we were walking towards the Mecca Darwaza, I spotted a few carvings on the walls inside the recently built Indira canteen campus. I decided to go ahead and check them out only to find inscriptions in Telugu which speaks about how the large boulders were hauled by buffaloes for building the fort walls. It then struck to me that the official website of Raichur district gave a description similar to what I had witnessed.  It quotes, "A little distance to the right of the above epigraph, is depicted the process by which the large inscribed slab was brought from the quarry to the site, laden on a solid-wheeled cart drawn by a long team of buffaloes with men driving and cudgelling the animals and applying levers at the wheels to push the cart forward. The artistic treatment in delineating the line of buffaloes in perspective, and the lively and graphic expression of the strain on them as represented by means of depicting some with tongues lolling out of their mouths, some with bent waists, and others with tails curled and lifted up as is usually seen when these animals are put to extra strain, is indeed a marvel of the art of drawing, particularly when the age of the work is taken into consideration. Further to the right is carved a procession scene of six chariots, drawn by humped bulls with decorative collars round their necks, and a little distance to the south is carved a forest scene with palmyra trees. On various other slabs in the same wall are incised floral and foliage designs as well as numerous figures of men engaged in various activities, and also animals and birds, like bulls, elephants, boars, jackals, cocks, peacocks, geese, etc., all executed in the same delightful manner".  Hurriedly and with excitement, I went back to bring my wife and two little partners to witness this marvel. My wife was stunned after looking at the carvings! It surely was an amazing experience for all of us to see these beautiful and unique carvings that gave us a clear picture of how the huge sized stone slabs were actually laid one above the other and how the fort wall was really built.
Long Team of Buffaloes Pulling the Rock Slab on a Solid Wheeled Cart
6 Chariots, drawn by Humped Bulls
Notice the Huge Size of the Rock Slabs used for Constructing the Fort Wall
Close up of the Solid Wheeled Cart
Hereon we reached the Mecca Darwaza which has been neatly restored by the ASI and has 2 two security personnel in charge of taking care and maintenance. After entering the necessary details in the visitor's book, we proceeded further. The entire gateway and the fort wall of Mecca Darwaza was built during the reign of the Vijayanagara kings, which is quite evident by the presence of carvings such as elephants, peacocks, Lord Anjaneya and other gods/goddesses on its walls. There are a few cannons belonging to the later period kept for display. We explored further on the other side of the fort wall along the moat and found more Hindu carvings. Owing to the persian inscription found atop the fort entrance, some historians claim that the fort walls were built by the Bahmanis, although it is much clear that it belongs to a much earlier period than the Bahmani rule.
Cannon placed at Mecca Darwaza
Mecca Darwaza and the Moat around it
Elephant Carvings on the Wall of Mecca Darwaza
Lord Garuda
Lord Bhikshatana Murti with various Mystical Animals
Our next destination was the most beautiful fort entrance named 'Navarang Dwara' or 'Navarang Darwaza'. This is probably one of the most beautiful fort entrances we have seen till date. It is a classical representation of Vijayanagara Art and Architecture. However, this place now has been converted into a museum and photography has been prohibited. 
Navarang Dwara, Raichur Fort
Navaranga Dwara
Navarang Dwara, Raichur Fort
Interiors of Navaranga Dwara
Intricate Carvings
After spending some time here, we inquired about Gowdra Mane (the royal house) which supposedly houses many beautiful murals belonging to the 19th century. The ASI staff at the museum were kind enough to give us directions to this place. We managed to find an auto rickshaw with great difficulty and the driver agreed to drop us at the old house. Surprisingly not many were aware of such a place around. After many inquiries with the locals, we landed right in front of this beautiful royal house. The exteriors of the house seemed very grand and we were much excited to have a look at what was in store for us. However, the house was locked for interior repairs and we were informed that the family had shifted only recently to another house in the town. We met the neighbors and exchanged our phone numbers so we could try and visit the house the next time. After watching our curiosity to enter the royal house, the auto driver too turned equally curious about the entire situation! Unfortunately, we couldn't make it into the royal house that day. We had to catch our train and hence requested our auto driver to drop us back at our hotel.
Koti Darwaza 
The Royal House of Raichur
The Royal House - Gowdra Mane
Projected Balcony of the Royal House
1. Karnataka Tourism Gazetteer - Gulbarga
2. Raichur Official Website
3. Journeys across Karnataka

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Sri Tribhuvaneshwara Temple, Devagiri, Haveri

Sri Tribhuvaneshwara Temple, Devagiri, Haveri
Sri Tribhuvaneshwara Temple, Devagiri
'Devagiri' is a small village about 10 km from Haveri and close to the Bangalore - Pune highway. This place was called by different names by different dynasties such as Devingiri, Devageri and lastly as Devagiri. It is believed that a branch of Kadamba dynasty was ruling from "Triparvata" which is the oldest record name of Devagiri. Three copper records of the Kadambas were discovered in this village, two of which are dated to 455 AD  were issued by King Vijayasri Mrighesavarma and the remaining one was issued by the crowned prince Devavarma. All the three records speak about the construction and maintenance of  a Jain temple referred to as Arhat Bhagavata Chaityalaya. Though no Jain Basadi was found in this place, it is said that there is a mutilated murti of Lord Parshwanatha seated in padmasana posture behind a Mosque in a private land.
Ruins Scattered
Chalukyan Herostone
Veeragallu Belonging to Chalukyan Era
A stone inscription found here dated to 600 AD refers to a feudatory who was ruling this place from Banavasi. The other inscription dated to around 7th century AD speaks about the land grant given to a temple by the Badami Chalukyan Emperor Vikramaditya II. Another gives us information regarding a gift of one thousand cows by Amarakeerthy to the village temple in 8th century AD. Later this place was ruled by the Rashtrakuta king Govindabbe during 9th century AD as per a stone inscription here. The construction of the "Tribhuvaneshwara Temple" and a reservoir by Tribhuvanasingi is recorded in a 1102 AD inscription belonging to the Kalyani Chalukya King Vikramaditya VI. The various inscriptions found here mention about the temples built here such as the Chaityalaya, Kankaleshwara, Govindeshwara, Chatmeshwara, Grameshwara, Tribhuvaneshwara to name a few. Except for the Tribhuvaneshwara temple, most of the rest are either untraceable or modified beyond identification. Sri Tribhuvaneshwara temple  is popularly called now as the Basavanna and Eshwara temple.
Sri Tribhuvaneshwara Temple
The Front View
Sri Basavanna Temple
Shaiva Dwarapalaka and a Stone Inscription
Although the Eshwara/Tribhuvaneshwara temple has undergone restoration, the original structure has been retained wherever possible. Remains of the temple and its ruins seen spread across gives a fair idea of the destruction by the Bahamani sultans here. The Eshwara temple consists of a Garbhagriha, an antarala and Navaranga pretty much similar to the Basavanna temple. A rare and unique feature is the presence of a Makara torana at the threshold (Hostilu in Kannada) of the door. The door jambs of Antarala have some beautiful carvings of the Gandharvas. Many inscriptions and broken murtis are kept in the temple complex. There is a huge tank besides the temple which today is in  a ruined state, with few murtis scattered across. There is a much revered Lord Hanuman temple in the center of village which is believed to have been built by a Brahman Dewan under the Nawab of Savanur.
Navaranga, Antarala and Garbhagriha of Sri Tribhuvaneshwara Temple
Lord Ganesha with Gandharvas on the Door Jamb
Central Ceiling Decked with Lotus Flower Carving
Makara Torana Attached to Hostilu of Mukhamantapa
Part of Makara Torana
Damaged Navagraha Panel with only 6 Remaining
Further excavations are necessary in order to explore more about the history of this village and to rediscover and restore the lost temples. 

1. Dharwad District Gazetteer - GOK

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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