Feb 20, 2016

Papanashi group of temples near Alampur

The presence of Chalukyan temples makes Alampur is akin to Pattadakal. While the latter is on river Malaprabha left bank, former is situated close to river Tungabhadra; Alampur is about 6 kms from Krishna-Tungabhadra confluence. The nine temples at Alampur are dedicated to Nava Brahmas. Besides the nine temples, there's a Jogulamba temple (one of the Adishakti seats), Sangameshwara temple.(relocated from its original location close to Krishna-Tungabhadra confluence) and the another group of smaller structures called Papanashi temples.

September 11, 2015
About 1.5 kms from Alampur amidst farm lands is this spot. It's a protected monument under the protective care of archaeological department. All the structures here are restored, seems they were in really bad shape when ASI took over. As you see, the structures are small, tightly packed, have stepped Shikhara and probably were surrounded by a wall with a gateway. Unfortunately there's not a single sign board, no information whatsoever.

Inside the gateway, is an idol of Lord Hanuman made of sandstone. Most Chalukyan monuments I've seen are made of sandstone.

These neat little structures are not entirely original.. instead of sandstone or granite these are made of Shahabad stones i.e. lime based stone. The deities inside seem to be original.. all black colored Shivalinga. Chaluyans were Shiva Bhaktas. Every temple has a unique Shikara.

This is a twin temple, both Garbhagudi facing each other with a common Mukhamantapa. Hope I'm not wrong in calling this a Dwikutachala.


This twin temple's basic reminds me of Jodu-Kalasa Gudi of Sudi and Kasivisvesvara temple of Lakkundi. If you are ever travelling near Ron in North Karanataka do stop by to check out Kashivishwanatha temple.. its amazingly beautiful.

The quadrangle formed by the four black pillars must be a Natya Mantapa ~ dance floor. These pillars are similar to pillars of Banashankari Gudi of Amargol between Dharwad and Hubli. The pillars lower portion are plain but the mid and upper portions are richly decorated. Each face of the square section has panel;s within which stories from Hindu legends are displayed. Pillar tops show lotus design with delicate curvatures and ridges.

This particular panel shows a row of people standing with tongues of flame leaping up. Notice how well the human anatomy is depicted.. particularly women's bodies.

Amrith Manthan.. the scene of Rakshasa and Devathe churning the ocean to gain Nectar. Below is a pair of Kirthimukha and some divine characters.

More legendary characters astride on their mounts.. a bull, an elephant and a ram. The middle one must be Indra astride of Airavatha.

Lot of beautiful ladies on this face. Nice to see two trees as well.

This face depicts battle scenes including archers, flying arrows, prancing horses, chariots, foot soldiers, swords and shields.

The quadrangle ceiling is a matrix of nine cells; each cell containing legendary characters; dancing Shiva in the centre.

Temples aligned are right angle to each other.

A pair of identical temples besides each other.. there's a hint of small difference in the Shikhara,
Even Hampi has these type of temples on Hemakuta hillock.

Of the dozen temples, this is the tallest.

Coming to the main temple of the group seems to be a Trikutachala. Inside are deities of Ganehsa and Mahishamardini which are still worshipped.

Ganesha is seated like a child; a shallow circular pit surrounds the lotus seat.

Here's a short video of the temple complex-


Chalukyans seem to have many such small group of temples. Two more examples I can recall are are the Ramlingeshwar group of temples at Aihole and Bhutnath temples at Torgal fort.

Just outside the protected site is a lonely temple of similar design; its slightly larger than the largest temple in the group. Though not protected, it seems to be maintained. I could see blocks numbered with yellow paint right from base to ceiling.. looks like this temple will be dismantled and moved into the complex.



On the way back towards Alampur, while driving across a stream I happened to notice the stream bed. What looks like concrete bed is actually a rock bed.. a large bed of Shahabad stone. These stones are in perfect parallel layers. Quarrying is quite easy, clear the dirt, size them and they are ready to ship.

Well, the Glory of Chaluyas.. wish I could travel back in time to see those days.
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