Showing posts with label Cholas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cholas. Show all posts

Monday, February 22, 2021

Sri Kalleshwara Temple, Bethuru, Davanagere

Sri Kalleshwara Swamy Temple, Bethuru, Davanagere
Sri Kalleshwara Swamy Temple, Bethuru
Having read about a beautiful Kalleshwara temple probably built by the Cholas in the district of Davanagere, it was always in the back of our minds to visit this interesting temple. There are quite a few temples in this region and Northern Karnataka built by the Cholas in the post Badami Chalukyan era. Earlier this year, we got a chance to visit Sri Basaveshwara temple at Hallur of Bagalkot district, also built by the Cholas around 8th century. Thus, it was quite intriguing to explore more Chola temples in the heartland of Karnataka, which otherwise is dominated by the Art and Architecture of the Hoysalas and Chalukyas. Bethuru is a small village lost in oblivion, and the was evident as many of my local friends were totally ignorant and uninformed of its location and whereabouts. Though this village popped up on the google map, we were surprised that the locals were unaware of its existence owing to its close proximity to Davanagere.
Places to visit near to Davangere
Sri Kalleshwara Swamy Temple
Places to visit around Davanagere
Chola temple, Davanagere
Front View of the Temple

We reached the village of Bethuru which is located at a distance of about 4 km without much difficulty and found the temple quite easily. However, we were displeased to witness such a beautiful temple in a sheer state of neglect, without any care or maintenance. While we were moving around, a person came by and introduced himself as the caretaker of Sri Kalleshwara temple, though an unofficial one. He visits the temple daily to do the necessary cleaning of the temple and decks up the god here with the flowers he collects. Though there are no daily pujas/rituals being performed here, he tries his best to keep the temple alive by lighting deepas (lamps) everyday. He shares his personal experience about how doctors gave up hope on his survival due to his chronic diabetic condition and that he would survive only for a few days. But ever since he started visiting this temple daily, he has only felt better, without facing any major health issues. He went on to explain that nobody in the village is interested in the upbringing of the temple and its maintenance, and whatever little money was raised to restore the temple was taken off by a few greedy people who ran away from the village and never returned. A lot of snakes happen to visit this temple regularly and embrace the Shiva Linga here, with one such incident having occurred recently during the Dasara festival. He showed us the remains of the shed skin of a snake inside the temple as a proof. He has carefully preserved it and shows it off to visitors with pride.
Snake Skin
Lord Kalleshwara
Murti of Goddess Saraswathi
Goddess Saraswathi

This temple was built either by Rashtrakutas or Nolambas between the 8th and 9th centuries. Later between 11th -13th  century, this temple under went a few additions/renovation under the Kalyana Chalukyas/ Uchangi Pandyas/ Hoysalas. Many hero-stones found here which are now kept near the temple belong to these dynasties. The most pleasing sight here is that of a beautiful carving on the ceiling panel of 'Gajasura Samara/ Gajasurasamhara' (depiction of Lord Shiva slaying the elephant demon Gajasura) in the central portion, surrounded by the Ashtadikapalas. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga, with murtis of goddesses Saraswathi and Sapthamatrikas and Lord Subramanya kept in the Navaranga of the temple. The Shikara of the temple is a perfect example of early Cholan architecture. This temple definitely needs and deserves more care and maintenance in order to be preserved for future generations.
Lord Gajasurasamhara Murti
Lord Gajasurasamhara Murti
Guardian of Directions - Asthadikpalas
 Lord Ishana and Parvathi Riding on Bull  (the Guardian of the North East Direction)
The Typical Rashtrakuta Shikara
How to reach Bethuru: From Davanagere, take the road to Jagalur and travel for about 4 km to reach Bethuru.
Accommodation: Owing to its close proximity to Davanagere, accommodation is not very difficult, with one having a wide range of options suiting all budgets. Our preferred place for stay here was Hotel Anand Residency, situated besides the KSRTC bus stand.
Places to visit nearby: Anekonda, Harihara, Bagali, Unchangidurga, Unchangipura, Kanakuppa, Bankapura, Haveri, Ranebennur and many such.

1. Puratattva

Related Posts:
1. Top 100 Lesser Known Temples of Karnataka
2. Chola Temples of Vagata
3. Chola Temples of Binnamangala

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Sri Panchalingeshwara Swamy Temple, Bettahalli, Magadi

"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations", so do the wrong ones too! Many a time leading to unknown beautiful destinations!
Information Board 
We were headed for a trek towards Hulikal near Kuduru in Magadi taluk of Ramanagar district. Little did we know that missing the turn that would take a deviation from Kuduru towards Hulikal would lead us to such a beautiful lesser known temple. Still unaware about the turn missed, we drove about 5 km ahead and reached a village named Bettahalli. Only then did we realize we were heading in the wrong direction and decided to make a U-turn. While driving back, a sign board directing towards Sri Panchalingeshwara temple caught our attention and as usual, we were curious to go ahead and explore! And so we did. At the outset, the temple looked new, but we ensured that we explore its interiors. Words are not enough to describe the great work being carried out by Shri Dhramasthala Manjunatha Trust in renovating/restoring beautiful but forgotten historical temples. Kudos to the team for their continuous and self-less support in preserving our rich heritage and history.
Temple Inauguration Details
Never judge a book by its cover. True to this, as we stepped in we found this temple that seemed new from its outlook to be an ancient historical temple indeed! It underwent restoration only to preserve most of its originality. The temple is believed to have been built in 7th Century  by the Cholas, although there are no evidences pointing towards the same. No inscriptions of any kind have been found here. The temple architecture and murtis inside resemble the Chola style of architecture though this place was under the rule of Gangas during the 7th Century. This makes it difficult to assign the period of its construction. However, it can be safely confirmed that the temple was built/renovated by the Cholas sometime during the 11th Century, owing to its stye of architecture.
The Navaranga
Sri Panchalingeshwara temple at Bettahalli is a Panchakuta temple  dedicated to Pancha (5) Shiva Lingas namely - Sri Mahabaleshwara Swamy, Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy, Sri Pathaleshwara Swamy, Sri Vaidyanatheshwara Swamy and Sri  Arkeshwara Swamy. There are 4 devakosthas in the Navaranga of the temple housing Sri Umamaheshwara Swamy, Sri Veerabhadra Swamy, Sri Durga Parameshwari, Sri Ganapathi and Sri Shanumuga.
Lord Arkeshwara
Lord Mahabaleshwara
Lord Mallikarjuna
Lord Pathaleshwara
Lord Vaidyanatheshwara
The murti of Sri Umamaheshwara looks very beautiful and the divine couple are depicted to be seated on their Vrishabha vahana. The lady caretaker was more than happy to give us details about the renovation of this temple and the annual jatre/fair held here. It was quite interesting when she also informed us that during restoration, the entire temple was dismantled but somehow they were unable to dismantle the Nandi murti placed in the Navaranga. Therefore they had to cover the murti and proceed with the restoration work. We spent  sometime going around the temple and later we moved towards Hulikal as per our original plan.
Lord Nandi
Sri Umamaheshwara seated atop Vrishaba
Dwarapalakas at the Entrance

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sri Basaveshwara Temple, Hallur, Bagalkot

Sri Basaveshwara Temple, Hallur, Bagalkot
Sri Basaveshwara Temple, Hallur
'Sri Basaveshwara Temple' is another beautiful temple located in the village of Hallur. After visiting the Melgudi Jain temple, we proceeded towards the Basaveshwara temple located in the center of the village. It was good to find this temple live with daily worship of the deity. I was startled by fact that not many people were aware of this wonderful temple including the locals, and also the person who accompanied me. He was thankful to me for bringing him along to this beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Basavanna (Nandi). We inquired the priest about the temple's history, but he was only aware about the temple being at least 1300 years old.
Hallur Basaveshwara Temple
Full View of Sri Hallur Basaveshwara Temple
Chola Temple in Karnataka
Nandi Mandapa
As per the pre-independence Bombay Gazetteer (Bijapur was a part of Bombay State), this temple was built during 9th century by the Cholas. However  the book 'Temples of Karnataka' mentions this temple being built by the Rashtrakutas during the same period. Nevertheless to me, the temple seemed to exhibit more of the later Badami Chalukyan architecture. The original name of this temple was 'Vishvesvara Swamy Temple' which over time got transformed to Basaveshwara Temple. The temple consists of garbhagriha, an antarala, a sabhamandapa, mukhamandapa, Nandi mandapa and a prakara with a Rajagopuram. There are two colorful life-size sculptures of Shaiva dwarapalas guarding the entrance of the sabhamandapa. The Nandi mandapa houses a big and beautiful murti of Lord Basavanna.
Lord Basaveshwara, Nandi
Lord Basaveshwara
Life Sized Shaiva Dwarapala
Shaiva Dwarapala
Dravidian Shikara
Historical Temple near Bagalkot
The external walls of this temple are plain and decorated with pilasters. The lower potion of the walls carry carvings of various gods and goddesses like Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, Varaha, Narasimha, Durga, and Mahishasuramardini to name a few, with most of them being in a damaged state. There are many houses around this temple, thus cramping the temple space. Though this temple is well maintained with prayers being offered and pujas being performed on a daily basis, it surely deserves more publicity to attract devotees seeking blessings of the Lord. The annual jatra is held during the months of December - January in reverence of the Lord. Also, the festival of Mahashivarathri is celebrated here in a grand manner.
Inscription Stone Slab
Bhu Varaha Swamy carved on temple wall
Bhu Varaha Swamy
Forms of Shiva
Ardhanareshwara and Gajasurasamhara Murti
Places to Visit Around Hallur: Kudala Sangama, Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal, Banashankari, Bewoor, Mahakoota, Shivyogi Mandir, Gudur and many such.  
How to reach Hallur: Hallur is located of f the Bagalkot - Kudala Sangama State Highway and is about 18 km from Bagalkot. 
Accommodation: There are no options for accommodation at Hallur. It is better to treat Bagalkot as the base which offers various options to suit one's budget. 
1. Book on 'Temples of Karnataka' by Dr K M Suresh
2. Bombay Gazetteer of Bijapur

Related Posts
1. Top 100 Lesser Known Temples of Karnataka 
2. Melguti Jain Temple, Aihole
3. Kalleshwara temple, Bethuru 

P.S: Nothing changes except our web address! We are moved from to

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Melgudi Jain/Jaina Temple, Hallur, Bagalkot

'Hallur' is a nondescript village located in the district of Bagalkot, off the Bagalkot - Kudala Sangama highway and can undoubtedly be considered as unusual and unique. Bagalkot, the Badami Chalukyan heart land is home to numerous temples built by the Cholas and Rashtrakutas around the 8th and 9th centuries AD. During one of my visits to Bagalkot, I got an opportunity of visiting the ancient temples of Hallur town. It was fascinating! The two prominent historic temples among them are those dedicated to Lord Basaveshwara built in 8th century by the Cholas and a Jain temple (popularly called Melgudi Jaina temple) built in 9th century by the Rashtrakutas. Hallur is located about 18 km from Bagalkot. Reaching this place was an easy task and as we reached, both the temples were easily visible.
Melgudi Jain Temple, Hallur
First Look of Melgudi Jain Temple, Hallur
Melgudi Jain Temple, Hallur, Bagalkot
Melgudi Jain Temple, Hallur, Bagalkot
We chose to visit the Melgudi Jaina temple at first which is located atop a small hillock, thus giving it the name Melgudi. The temple is built on similar lines with the Meguti Temple at Aihole (7th century, Badami Chalukyas) with the only difference being that the navaranga here is a closed one. The Melgudi Jain temple was built around 870 AD during the reign of the most famous Rashtrakuta king, Amoghavarsha. This beautiful sandstone temple consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala and a navaranga/sabhamandapa, with an interesting stone ladder leading to the first storey that housing a small garbhagriha. The garbhagriha is originally believed to have consisted of a murti of a Jaina Tirthankara. However the temple now enshrines a Shiva Linga and Nandi along with a damaged inscription at its entrance which probably carried details of the installation of the same. The temple having been dedicated originally to a Jaina Tirthankara even now houses a murti of the same which is  kept in the sabhamandapa. But with no details with regards to why and when the original Jain temple was converted into a Shiva temple, the temple's history still remains a mystery. However, the  inscriptions may have carried information regarding the same, but it sadly remains damaged.
Inside the Garbhagriha
Typical Rashtrakutas Ceilings
Three Lotus Carving on the Central Ceiling
Murti of Jaina Tirthankara in the Navaranga
I climbed the small stone ladder that opens to the first storey only to find an empty garbhagriha. Being awestruck witnessing this small gudi (temple), I could only imagine as to how grand it would have been back then, during its full glory. That said, I strongly believe that my imagination would any day fall short of its true glory. After coming back to reality, I got down the ladder and decided to explore the external features of this temple. There are a total of 8 life-size carvings of various Jaina Tirthankaras on the outer walls of the temple. There are different kinds of Jalis (perforated stone windows) fixed in the outer walls. The details of the kutas (miniature shrine motifs), salas (oblong members with a wagon shaped roof), panjaras (shallow niches formed by pilasters) and makara toranas  are unfinished.
Small Gudi on the First Storey
A Jali Window/ Perforated Stone window of Rashtrakuta period
Jali Window
Life Sized Jain Tirthankaras are Carved on the Outer walls
Life-size Jaina Tirthankaras are Carved on the Outer Walls 
Historic Temple to visit near Bagalkot
Another View of the Melgudi Jain Temple
Detailing on the Outer walls
While closely observing the outer walls, I was dumbstruck to sight prehistoric kind of carvings on them! They were quite intriguing! Although I was able to identify many carvings such as those of the bulls, people and scenes of hunting, I have never witnessed something like this before and was unable to believe my eyes. The carvings here were pretty much similar to the ones at Sanganakallu. On further visual investigation as to whether these carvings belonged to the prehistoric period or not, I tried to trace the carving between two stones of the wall and found them to be discontinuous. Thus revealing that the carvings were made much before this temple was built. Sadly, a few insensitive idiots have tried to disfigure these carvings by their senseless graffiti. Thanks to god that some of these carvings have remained intact. I was unable to find much of literature/details about this temple. Once I was back in Bangalore from this trip, I re-looked at all the photographs taken by us during our previous visits to Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole. On careful observation and with a keen eye for detail, I found one of the pictures of Pattadakal having similar carvings of bulls and the only feeling I got was 'Wow'! Probably back then in October 2010, we were not versed with the prehistoric times and hence did not go ahead with the search for such carvings around with interest. However, may be during our next visit to this place, we would end up finding more about these carvings and many such! It is truly mysterious to have found such carvings on the temple walls and to further ascertain whether they are really prehistoric or not is very difficult at present. However the same can be achieved and confirmed by a thorough  and proper investigation and documentation. 
Southern Wall of the Temple
Prehistoric carving on Historic temple
Carving of a Bull
Proof of All the Vandalism and Ever Vanishing Evidences of Our  History
Bull Carving from Pattadakal
 To be continued...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Paparajanahalli Fort, Antharagange Kolar

Though the fort of Paparajanahalli was within a striking distance from the hill range of Antharagange, we missed exploring it every time we were around Antharagange. Thus one day, I finally decided to explore this place and started early in the morning. A vague estimate of distance to this place would be around 8 km from home, which would make it a 16 km trek on completion.  The initial walk from home was across the national highway which then merged with narrow winding roads leading to Antharagange. A kilometer's walk hereon took me to a hiking trail to this hill and I promptly took a deviation towards this route and continued my climb. After an ascent of around 15 minutes, I reached the Therahalli temple, a very beautiful temple indeed which we had visited earlier during one of our journeys around this place.
Antharagange, Kolar
Elvis Stone
Mahagopuram, Therahalli
Lord Shiva Temple, Therahalli
Lord Shiva Temple Complex, Therahalli 
Without spending much time here, I headed towards Paparajanahalli, still following the hiking trail and reached a place from where the route seemed to vanish. Fortunately, a shepherd who passed by informed me about the Pandava caves located close by and gave directions to reach Paparajanahalli. After paying visit to the Pandava caves, I got down and started walking along the roadway to reach Paparajanahalli. On inquiring about the fort at Paparajanahalli, a joyous lady directed me towards the fort. The real trek had just begun. As I gradually gained elevation, portions of the fortification became visible.
Interesting War Sculptures with Elephant and Horses
Green Locust 
Probably the Fort Entrance
Fort Walls 
Ruined Rampart
On my way to the hill top, I met a shepherd who engaged me in a conversation and found me stupid as I had come all the way and all alone to this place. I smiled and moved on. Though not much of  the fortification remains, it is quite evident that a big and grand fort once existed here. After a thorough exploration covering all parts of the hill, I rested for a while at a nice spot and satisfied my hunger with the food I carried in one go. The views from atop the hill  were enchanting. I had to get back home as the weather got warmer. The whole experience was worthwhile.
Skillfully Executed Stone Umbrella 
A Water Pond Atop of the Hill 
Hills of Antharagange Hills 
Bird's Eye View of Kolar 
Click here for location 
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