AN ADVENTURE CALLED JATINGA RAMESHWARA Part - II


   For a while, we were absorbed in witnessing the place that had connections with one of the greatest of emperors of India and the last ruler who ruled the entire Bharatkanda. Hereon, we moved towards the Rameshwara temple complex. As per the legend and one of the inscriptions present here, this place is believed to have been the place where Jatayu, the bird that courageously fought against the demon Ravana to save Goddess Sita from his evil hands was killed. Lord Rama installed a Shiva Linga in memory of Jatayu and hence the name Jatinga Rameshwara. According to an ASI official whom we met later during our journey, there is a grave on the hill top made of big bricks, probably of the same bird. 
Lord Anjaneya
Elephant Carving at the Entrance
Entrance to Temple Complex
   According to another inscription, this temple was a ruined brick structure with beautiful Shiva Linga in it, which was later renovated in AD 962, using stone by a person named Lingshivaji, who was responsible for building the other temples in the complex. Lingshivaji supposedly was a beggar. Later in AD 1064, the Kalyana Chalukyan King Vijayaditya made more improvements to this temple. There are at least 5 stone inscriptions present here that describe stories relating Jatinga Rameshwara to the Ramayana, Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Nolambas and Palegars.   
 
Rock Inscription
Rock Inscriptions

 The most important temple in the complex is the Jatinga Rameshwara temple. There are many small temples dedicated to Lords Virabhadra, Ganesha, Parushurama, and Mahisasuramardhini. The most striking feature of the temple complex for us was the Keerthistamba (Pillar). The pillar stands tall and is beautifully carved.   

Jatinga Rameshwara Temple
Temple Complex
Keerthistamba




According to the book ‘Bramhagiri’ by Dr. S.Y. Somashekar, enough evidence exists to confirm its association with pre historic times.
 The real adventure had just begun…………….   

Asoka's Edict, Jatinga Rameshwara


     One Saturday, we planned to visit Chitradurga and explore Brahmagiri and its environs the next morning. Brahmagiri is one amongst the most ancient places in Karnataka and is located in Chitradurga district and also very close to Bellary. The three sites of archaeological importance here are Brahmagiri, Asoka Siddapura and Jatinga Rameshwara. All the three sites house minor rock edicts of Emperor Asoka of the Mauryan period which were first discovered and reported by Sir Benjamin Lewis Rice in the year 1892. Our plan was to explore Brahmagiri, Asoka Siddapura and finally Jatinga Rameshwara. But while traveling towards Brahmagiri as per our plans, we missed the cross that turned right towards Brahmagiri and proceeded further. On inquiring, we realized we had come too far and had to make a U turn to return.  While returning we found a board directing us towards Jatinga Rameshwara and hence decided to explore this place first and later move on to the next site.
Good Morning
  Jatinga Rameshwara is a hillock located off the Bangalore - Bellary highway. It houses a fort and Asokan minor edict. As we approached the hillock, we realized there was none around and so we ruled the hill. The place covers a vast expanse and viewing this wide stretch of hill range, a momentary doubt arose in our minds of whether a complete coverage of the place would be possible. We set our time limit as we had two more sites to explore and started our ascent. Steps are laid up till the first tier of the fort and hereon, the terrain turns flat making our walk easier. As we walked on, we found a shelter and a little further was a temple complex.
Climb Up to Jatinga Rameshwara Hill
Old Rock Cut Steps V/s Recently Laid Steps
First Sight of Shelter and the Temple Complex
   We headed towards the shelter in search of the Asokan edicts. We entered the room and started examining the rock for the presence of any edicts. Finally we found a few letters etched on the rock that remained intact while most of the letters have been rubbed away and erased due to wear and other various natural activities. The efforts of one British Officer Sir Mortimer Wheeler who was solely responsible for building a permanent shelter in order to preserve the rock edicts is worthy of mention and much appreciated. From here, we moved towards the temple complex.
Plumeria tree and Shelter
Asokan Edict


Continued here …..