Saturdays or Sundays I meet Erappa Madiwali, the washer man from Benakatti which is on Dharwad-Haliyal road, about 12km from Dharwad. One of the days I asked if there were any ancient temples in Benakatti. Erappa suggested Ranganatha temple of Devarahubballi, said its a temple built by Jakanachari. Almost immediately I planned a trip, date & time fixed.
May 14, 2011. I left home by 6-30AM, with barely any traffic I was in Benakatti in less than 20 minutes. I found Erappa near the bus-stop. Soon we were negotiating the narrow streets of Devarahubballi towards Ranganatha temple. I was expecting a stone structure but I saw a house like structure. The only door was locked. Erappa went to fetch the Pujari. While I waited I checked out the front yard; a well, a Tulsi Brindavan. The temple is situated on the village border.
A half done sculpture.
The temple pujari's wife got the keys and unlocked the door and showed us in. Yes, it's an ancient temple. Turned columns and grilled walls. Unfortunately most of the artwork is under a thick layer of paint. The idol in the sanctum sanctorum was stone finish, no paint.
Floral art on floor adjoining the sanctum doorway.
Absence of decoration allowed a clear view of the idol. The idol is highly decorated with plenty of delicate work.
Shankha and Chakra are eye-catching. The object in the Lords left hand reminds me of a cross in Jesus Christ's hand seen at a church in Goa. The Lord's crown is also eye-catching, the design is unique.
The Lord has four female companions. Garuda sitting close to the Lord's right foot. lord Hanuman's image on a separate slab.
This image is so much similar to the image in Parasgad fort.
The pedestal makes me think if this temple was a Shiva temple before.
Pooja utensils made of copper. The temple is pretty well maintained. Neat and tidy.
Nagappa on the left side.
That's Erappa and the pujari's wife. I asked if there's any inscription. No. The lady locked the temple door and left. Erappa and I went around the temple.
The white painted structure is the sanctum. The front portion is an extension added recently.
The mound of dirt is supposed to be the remains of a wall which ran around the village. I asked if it was a fort wall. Erappa said it was a fort with just one gateway. Local people plundered it for stones and this is all left. In fact as we drive out of the village, I could see a trench at the village border, that must have been the moat.
The temple's compound is used for various activities. During this time of the year its convenient for folks to dry leaves used to make leaf-plates, 1005 eco-friendly disposable plates.
Just beyond the temple compound are paddy and sugarcane fields. Open fields are being cultivated for the coming season while the green patches of sugarcane are 3 months old with another 9 months to go.
That's a chalkaay-gida ~ a fruit bearing tree. Chalkaay has a thick skin, sticky inside and has a white seed. When made in the right way, Chalkaay pickles are simply irresistible. Guess why I'm telling so much about Chalkaay? ...its my favorite pickle.
These are not ready to be picked. I guess another week or two before they are ready. I may come back here to take a basket full and hand it over to one of my aunts who's an expert with Chalkaay pickle.
Erappa suggested we stop by at Siddarooda Mutta. The place looked peaceful, neat and tidy.
The board reads " Sriguru Siddashrama, Devarahubballi."
This small temple is built over the grave of the saint who established this ashram.
The inside of the temple.
A dollari with the saint's photo and a pair of wooden slippers used by the saint.
The place is absolutely peaceful. I'll visit again someday and listen to the pravachana.
For me it was a day off but Erappa's business roars during weekends. We decided to head back to Benakatti and then Dharwad. Thanks to Erappa for showing me this wonderful little temple of Devarahubballi.
Sri Ranganatha Temple Coordinates: 15°23'50"N 74°55'29"E