In Search of Kanakagiri's Ashokan Edicts -2

While researching about this place, our inquisitiveness about King Bindusura (Father of Ashoka) increased. To our surprise, sadly, very little has been found out about him or documented as compared to king Chandragupta Maurya (Father of Bindusura) and Ashoka himself. Though Bindusara was the key person responsible for the consolidation of the Mauryan empire post Chandragupta era, it seems somehow the life story of Bindusura is missing. It is also quoted at many places that Sushima (elder brother of Ashoka) was the choice of Bindusura as the next heir of Mauryan empire. But Ashoka killed him and 5 other brothers to gain the throne. King Ashoka's life may be divided into two phases, that during pre Kalinga war and post Kalinga war, the war being the turning point.. Ashokan edicts give us the insight of Ashoka's second half of his life, the Buddhist way of life. The edicts are present even today across India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There are 9 such documented Ashokan edicts in Karnataka, all of which have been visited by and written about by a fellow blogger. (Link: Ashokan edicts).
Major Rock Edicts of Ashoka, Dhauli Orissa
Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka at Gavi Matha Koppal 
In continuation with our previous post, our perseverance was finally rewarded with a piece of information being disclosed by people at the temple about a rock inscription near Kattle Basavanna temple, though it wasn't sure whether  it was the same one we were looking for. They also gave us directions to this temple. We reached the temple and searched for the inscription, but found none. A person directed us to a few stones close by the temple. On close observation, we found one of them to be inscribed and poured water for further investigation that revealed inscriptions in Kannada language.
Kannada Inscriptions Near Kattle Basavanna Temple
 We closely checked all the rocks around the temple but found nothing. We went back and inquired  with people at the temple regarding the edicts. The same person who showed us an inscription near the temple also told us that there are some inscriptions atop a hill located close by. This information gave us goose bumps since Ashokan edicts are located on/close to hills. On asking him for more details about the same, he accepted our invitation to join us in our quest. Hereon, we headed towards the Lakshmi Narasimha hill, situated about 2 km from Kanakagiri. And our search for the edicts continued!....
Lakshmi Narasimha Hill 
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In Search of Kanakagiri's Ashokan Edicts

Our quest to find the surviving Ashokan Edicts in Karnataka took us to the elusive Ashokan edicts at Kanakagiri. Probably there is no Ashokan edicts here or the information on the internet is incomplete regarding the same. 'Kanakagiri', translated as 'Hill of Gold' is located about 30 km from Gangavathi in Koppal district. After visiting a friend's place at Gangavathi, we got a chance to go in search of the edicts. Early next morning we headed towards Kanakagiri. From various sources of information, we had learned that the Ashokan Edicts are placed inside the temple though unaware of its exact location.
The Main Entrance
Kanakagiri is referred at many places as "Ashoka's Swarnagiri". Our task of finding the edicts began as we entered the the first temple which was the Kanakachalapathi temple. This temple was built during the Vijayanagar period by the Nayakas of Kanakagiri. While our eyes were eagerly in search of the edicts, a room in front the main Gopuram caught our attention. On carefully inspecting the room interiors for the presence of any edicts, we found none. A beautiful stone slab depicting a scene involving the king and queen was placed in front of the room.
Shri Kanakachalapathi Temple , Kanakagiri
Shri Kanakachalapathi Temple 
The Stone Panel Depicting a Scene between King and Queen
As we entered the temple we sighted three big inscription panels, a close examination of them revealed that they had nothing related to emperor Ashoka. This temple is dedicated to Lord Kanakachalapathi, a form of Vishnu. The Sabhamantapa has beautiful pillars and stories from Ramayana etched at the top of the wall. The temple has been maintained very well, but no one here had any idea about the Ashokan edicts. The priest was not all in the mood to discuss about Ashokan edicts and the temple manager along with others present around too confirmed that there is no such edicts present here.
The Stone Inscriptions 
The Sabhamantapa
The Dwikuta Temple
A Scene from Ramayana

On showing them the book we referred to on Kanakagiri that spoke about the edicts, they remained unconvinced, until one among them finally gave in.....
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The Panchalingeshwara Temple, Govindanahalli, Mandya

The Panchalingeshwara temple of Govindanahalli is one of the few surviving Panchakuta (Pancha-five; Kuta-shrine) temples built during the Hoysala period. Govindanahalli, an obscure village in the Krishnarajpet taluk of Mandya district was once a flourishing town under Hoysala rule and is believed to have been a part of the ancient Kabbahunadu. The temple was built in the 13th century during the reign of the Hoysala king  Veera Someshwara.
Sri Panchalingeshwara Temple, Govindanahalli
Sri Panchalingeshwara Temple, Govindanahalli 
Originally, this temple was a Chatushkuta (four shrined) built in dravidian style. However, there was an addition of another garbhagriha on the eastern side categorizing the temple under panchakuta type. Each garbhagriha has a separate antarala, opening into a common navaranga. There are two north facing entrances with Mukhamantapas and Nandimantapas. Unlike other Hoysala temples which possess platform as a common feature, this temple is devoid of the same. The five Shiva Lingas here are named Ishanyeshwara, Tatpurusheshwara, Aghoreshwara, Vamadeveshwara and Sadyojateshwara, attributing them to the Pandavas of Mahabharata.
The Five Shrines
Demon Ravana Shaking Mount Kailash 
Narashima, Vamana, Parshurama and Rama (4th,5th, 6th and 7th of the Vishnu's Dasavatara)
Matsya, Kurma and Varaha (1st,2nd and 3rd of Vishnu Dasavatara)
Lord Vishnu and  his incarnations 
The shikharas of all the five shrines are richly decorated in dravidian style. An intriguing feature of this temple is that though the temple is dedicated mainly to Lord Shiva, the outer walls of the temple carry images of various forms of Lord Vishnu as a majority, similar to the Malleshwara temple of Aghalaya. This may be due to the fact that the temple was built during two different phases of Hoysala rule. There are some beautiful sculptures inside the temple, that of Shanmukha, Ganesha, Mahishashuramardini and so on. The lady care-taker in charge of the temple had maintained the temple clean and tidy though she was unaware of any history or information related to the temple. This temple is probably the only Panchakuta temple surviving today which is in good shape compared to the others, namely the Panchalingeshwara temple of Somanathapura and the Panchalingeshwara temple of Halebidu, which are in complete ruins.
The Little Guide
Saiva Dwarapalaka
Nandi Mantapa
The Ground plan of Panchalingeshwara Temple (From S Shettar The Hoysala Temples)
The Ruined Temple
References:
1. The Hoysala Temples - S Shettar
2. The temples of Karnataka - Dr. K M Suresh
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Shri Yathiraja Swamy Betta, Ramanagar

Our hunt for a place to trek around Bangalore along with our one year old led us finally to Shri Yathiraja Swamy Betta, a hillock located off the Ramanagar - Magadi state highway. As we were aware of the presence of steps in order to reach the hill-top, we chose to climb this hill keeping in mind our little team partner. We drove to the hill base comfortably and after parking our vehicle in a mango orchard under a big tree, proceeded towards the hill. The hill looked bald, devoid of any kind of vegetation.
Shri Yathiraja Swamy Betta 
  The presence of rock cut steps have always inspired us to climb with more enthusiasm. The climb was fairly easy and we reached a point which is supposedly believed to have been the place where Ramanujacharya gave the  Vishwaroopa (Omniform / Universal form) darshana. A short descent hereon leads us to a small temple dedicated to Lord Yathiraja. The legends goes, "This hill was inhabited by saints who were doing penance for a long time in the caves. One day, it so happened that Ramanujacharya came to this place in the form of Yathi (Saint) and on asking the residing saints for a place to live in, they obliged by allowing him to stay with them. As days passed by, Ramanujacharya advised all the other saints to leave this place and go away. But the saints refused to do so and it was at this moment that Ramanujacharya exhibited the Vishwaroopa darshana. On witnessing this, the saints feared Ramanujacharya and were forced to leave this place".
The Rock Cut Steps
Hills around Ramanagar
Hills and More Hills
Remains of Fort 
Place Where Ramanujacharya gave Vishwaroopa Darshana 
  It is believed that the idol of Yathiraja here in the cave temple was installed by Ramanujacharya. Unfortunately, the cave temple was locked and there were no signs of the priest of this temple anywhere. There is a perennial spring besides the temple whose flow has reduced off late owing to this year's enormously hot climate. The spring water was clear and cold. We spent a good time resting under the shade of  the very beautiful tree of Plumeria.
The Spring 
Spring Water and Reflections
Shri Yathiraja Swamy Temple
Plumeria Trees
Directions - Bangalore - NH275 - Ramanagar - Right Turn at Ramanagar Traffic Signal - 8Kms - Take Left towards Koonumuddanahalli - 1Km Right side is the hill.

Reference - Ramanagar District (Book in Kannada) written by Prof. M. Shivananjaiah

The Mahadeva Temple, Itagi , Koppal

Ittagi/Itagi/Itgi, situated in Yelburga Taluk of Koppal district is well known for its 12th century Mahadeva temple belonging to the later Chalukyan period and is regarded as one of the finest of temples in the country. An inscription in medieval Kannada present inside the temple premises states that the temple was built by Mahadeva, a Dandanayaka (army general) of the Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI in 1112 A.D. The temple has been rightfully described as “Devalaya Chakravarti”, meaning ‘Emperor among temples’.
The Mahadeva Temple, Itagi
The Mahadeva Temple, Itagi 
The Mahadeva Temple Complex
 The temple facing east is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a garbagriha which houses the Shivalinga and an antarala (ante-chamber). In front of the ante-chamber is a closed navaranga having porches with doorway and mantapas, towards its north and south. The ceilings are exquisitely carved. An open navaranga or pillared hall at its front is huge, having about sixty pillars out of which twenty six large pillars stand on the floor supporting the main roof, and the remaining shorter pillars stand on the stone bench (kakshansana) around the hall supporting the sloping overhangs of the roof. The pillars are sculpted at its base and carry various designs while the central four are geometrically carved exhibiting angular patterns throughout. The original shikara of the garbagriha is partly damaged at the top and has been replaced by a modern element. The outer walls of the temple are almost plain, devoid of any sculptures and carry niches and pilasters with geometric designs, and friezes with minimal carvings.
Pushkarni Right Opposite to the Temple Complex 
Stepped Well
Entrance 
Murthinaryana Temple 
Opened Pillar Porch at the Front 
Nine Banded Door Frame
 There are two shrines dedicated to Murthinarayana and Chandraleshwari, the parents of Mahadeva and 13 small shrines having a Shivalinga each, surrounding the main temple. The temple has a pushkarni (theertha) in its front and behind the temple is an open stepped well which has an entrance, and sloping walls on its other three sides. It was a treat to see them both filled with water.
Intricate Carved Ceiling
Decked Lintel 
 The Mahadeva Temple of Ittagi is magnificent and stands as a proof to the greatness and grandeur of the Chalukyan style of architecture.  
Inspiring Traveller
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