Friday, February 17, 2012

Temples of Karnataka 6 - Nagareshwara @ Bankapura

Bankapura, a place of historical importance is famous for Nagareshwara Temple and the Peacock Sanctuary. The temple and peacock sanctuary both are located within the fort area of the town. The fort which covers a large area of 139 acres is in absolute ruins. The name ‘Bankapura’ was derived from ‘Bankeya’, who was a renowned general of Rashtrakuta emperor Amoghavarsha I (Nripatunga).

Bankapura was ruled by Western Chalukyas initially. In AD1140 Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana made this place as the capital of his northern territories. It is also believed that Vishnuvardhana breathed his last here. Post AD1550 Muslim rulers took over this place until it was annexed by British in the year 1802.


  • The temple consists of Mukhamanatapa, Navaranga, Antarala and Garbhagruha (Sanctum).
  • This temple is also known as ‘Aruvattu Kambagala Gudi’ (Sixty Pillars Temple) after the sixty beautiful Chalukyan style pillars in the Mukhamantapa.
  • There is a beautiful carving of lotus in the middle ankana of the Mukhamantapa.
  • The Mukhamantapa can be entered from 3 sides and has Kakshasanas (seating arrangements) all across its border. One can find miniature Gopuras (towers) and delicately carved miniature sculptures all along the outer wall of the Mukhamantapa.
  • The temple was subject to attacks on its discovery and many sculptures have vanished including that of the main deity.
  • Navaranga is connected to Mukhamantapa via a beautiful Mantapa which has seating arrangements on either side. The 2 pillars in this Mantapa are full of rich carvings and are main attraction of this temple.
  • The door of Navaranga has beautifully carved five band decorations with attractive Gajalakshmi motif on the lintel.
  • Navaranga originally had 2 entrances on either side with beautiful Mantapas, now only one remains. We can find beautiful and crafty work on the right side entrance. The one on the left was severely damaged by muslim attackers and is now permanently closed by constructing a wall.

Bottomline: The Nagareshwara temple which stands below the ground level is a marvelous structure built in Western Chalukyan style. How it withstood the attacks of muslim marauders is a mystery. Popular belief is that the whole temple was buried under mud by the villagers before they left the town fearing muslim invasion. This in fact is also the reason why we find the temple below the ground level today.

Source: ASI

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Temples of Karnataka 5 - Harihareshwara @ Harihara

The temple was built in the year 1224 by ‘Polalva’ a minister of Hoysala King Veera Narasimha II. It is believed that the consecration of Lord Harihara, a fusion of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu was carried out later in the year 1268 by ‘Soma’ who was a commander of Hoysala King Narasimha III.

The temple stands on the banks of river Tungabhadra and is affected to a great extent by encroachment. The road leading to the temple is very narrow and crowded.


  • The temple consists of an attractive Sabhamantapa, Navaranga, Antarala and Sanctum.
  • The Navaranga has 2 more entrances on either side. These entrances have attractive Mukhamantapa but remain closed always.
  • The Mukhamantapas on either side of Navaranga have attractive carvings on outer sides similar to those on the Sabhamantapa.
  • The doorjamb of Antarala is of Trishakha type consisting of perforated windows and a Gajalakshmi motif on the lintel.
  • The door of Sanctum has simple decorations.
  • The original Shikhara (Tower) has collapsed long back.

Bottomline: According to a legend, a demon named Guhasura once lived in these parts. He successfully appeased Lord Brahma and obtained a boon, by virtue of which, it would be impossible for either Hari(Vishnu) or Hara(Shiva) to kill him. In order to eliminate Guhasura, Vishnu and Shiva together took the form of Harihara and killed the demon.

Source: Wiki

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Temples of Karnataka 4 - Someshwara @ Kodikoppa

This temple is 'whitewashed' in full by the devotees of Kodikoppa. Apart from that the temple is intact. Kodikoppa is referred to as ‘Kirunareyangal’ in the 2 inscriptions found here dated AD 1121 and AD 1144.

Colourfull Door!


  • It is a simple structure consisting of Mukhamantapa, Navaranga, Antarala, Garbhagruha (Sanctum) and a Shikhara (tower) of Kadamaba Nagara style.
  • The temple though now called Someshwara was also known as Brahmeshwara temple and also by the name of Mallikarjuna Temple.
  • Small Shivalinga is in the sanctum.
  • Door of Navaranga is of Panchashakha type consisting of various creeper designs which are now defaced due to the red and green paint.
  • Antrarala door consists of Jalandhras (perforated windows) on both sides and top.
  • There are six Devakoshthas (niches) in Navaranga and all are empty.

Trademark Western Chalukya Style Pillars
AD 1144 Inscription
Bottomline: There is no information regarding exact year of construction. But the mention in the AD 1144 inscription that one ‘Molleya Brahmaiah’ as the person who constructed this temple indicates that the temple was constructed some time before AD 1144.

Source: ASI