Apr 4, 2020

Kolar Someshwara Devastana - part-2

..continued from Kolar Someshwara Devastana - part-1.

In the first part, the temple's Gopura, Vasantha Mantapa, the main temple's Natya Mantapa and the right hand side of the Sabha Mantapa were covered. This is the view from the raised platform for the right hand corner of the hall. On the let is the Natya Mantapa and Garbhagudi walls. On the right is Parvati Devastana and straight ahead is the backyard and the Mantapa for visitors. The tree seen here must be Banni-mara. This spot seems to be favorite for local people.

We walked along the raised platform checking out individual images on every pillar. Here are few which stood out. Lord Hanuman in his classic posture. The second image is of a man brooding over something. The posture and the facial expression is perfect! Krishna killing the dreaded snake Kaliya in river Yamuna.

In the next collage is a half-kneeling man carrying some load over his head. There's a slight breeze in the scene, saying that because his Shalya is fluttering. Brilliant sculpting. The other image is of a young Yogi with long hair. He's seated in comfortable posture, confidence exuding from his face.

A young lady seated on a fish. The fish's scales look so real. The girl's posture seems to tell she's lost in some pleasant thoughts. In the past 30 minutes or so, a dozen visitors must have come and gone. I was thoroughly enjoying the silence, breaking it only when Pushpa called me to show some sculpture or vice versa.

An erotic scene. A couple making love on a couch. The man and woman seem to be below average in height. The man has an angry look, the kind of look when someone's private moment is interrupted.

This image shows a man carrying a donkey. It could be a horse but it looks more like a donkey. The man seems like a prince, well built and adorning jewelry. The top portion of the pillar seems to be trimmed off abruptly to accommodate the beam.

Next we have an ascetic wearing lot of Rudraksha, has a large belly and matted hair. The other image is of a plump man, round face, squatting, his jewelry and garment indicates he's well off.

Besides Anjaneya, Ganesha is the other god who's seen commonly in temples and forts. Look at the series of pillars on the right hand side.

Here's a closer look at one of the pillars. The slender girl with a bow and arrow, her attendant pulling out a thorn from her feet. There are a dozen such pillars in a single row across the temple's facade. Each of the pillar has a ride stride a fierce creature which looks like a lion and horse. Behind the pillar is the wall of the raised platform.. a series of elephants run around the temple. Elephants indicate strength hence they are part of the base.

Monkey playing with a snake is distracted by something behind it. The pillared structure seen in the background is the Vasantha Mantapa.

Here's a collage of three images. The first one is a hooded man with a stick, he could be a cattle herd. The middle image seems to be Naigamesha, the God with goat's head. The last one is a woman, her legs apart, the position of copulating. She seems to be sitting in that position.

A fat bellied ascetic wearing a Rudrakshimala. He seems to be angry with something. His hand seem to be bent at an uncomfortable angle. The dark and soft yellow parts in this image is a nice combination.

A stout bird with a horse head and elephant trunk. This is a strange combination. Going by the horse's head, this bird must be six to seven feet tall.

Next is a bird with beautiful feathers and elephant head. This looks more reasonable compared to the previous creature. Yet, its hard to imagine a heavy head fixed on a bird's body, unless the bird is as strong as an elephant. The other image here is a man long hair, probably matted. He's just sitting there lost in thoughts.

This collage is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The first image Anjaneya is holding a snake. The second image he's walking and the last one he's eating a fruit.

In the third image of this post we had seen a woman sitting on a fish. Here we have a long haired man on a fish. The fishes are different. In the background, there's another long haired man squatting with his knees raised. He seems to be sporting a long mustache as well.

A beast attacking a warrior? Or, is the beast his pet which is playfully biting? Ah, the man sitting here is wondering the same! With this image I end the tour of the interior and move outside. We walk along the side, towards the temple rear.

This is the south eastern corner of the Sabha Mantapa. See the beauty of the sun/rain shade, its curved and sloping. The corner has a decorative sculpture.

A closer look at the corner. A complex circular floral pattern with a face in its center. The lines emerging from it converge into a wave. Below the wave is a creature which seems like a frog. In ancient tradition, frog is associated with rains. The croaking of frogs is an indicator of oncoming rain. A lovely sculpture this is.

The rear portion of Someshwara temple, these are the walls of the Natya Mantapa and Garbhagudi. The exterior is decorated nicely, some Vijayanagara temples have rather bare walls.

Having done with the main temple, we move on the Kalyana Mantapa, a superbly sculpted mini hall meant for conducting wedding rituals.

We'll continue in Kolar Someshwara Devastana - part-3.
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Mar 28, 2020

Kolar Someshwara Devastana - part-1

September 20, 2019
Our day started with a visit to Antara Gange followed by Kolaramma Devi Devastana. Five minute walk from Kolaramma temple is Someshwara Devastana. The temple's Gopura is tall, it has five levels. The Gopura seems to be built or renovated during Vijayanagara rule. The temple did not have many visitors at this time, it looked peaceful. That's what I had wished for after seeing the crowd at Kolaramma temple. At the entrance there were flower sellers, one man had a bunch of pink lotuses. We bought a pair as an offering to the Lord.

Visitors are greeted by four bejeweled maidens in the Gopura doorway. Their beauty is captivating.. one might just stand there and stare at them for minutes. The maidens are paired. One pair of maidens are standing on an imaginary creature and surrounded by creepers. They seem to be Apsaras.

At the temple entrance is a board which describes the temple as follows:
The Someshwara temple is an ornate temple of the typical Dravidan style. The temple is assignable to the early Vijayanagara period, constructed during the 14th century AD.
It is known for a high stone Mahadwara and tall brick and stucco tower over it. The temple has a Garbhagriha, a large Sukanasi and a Navaranga and a large pillared Mukhamantapa all enclosed by a cloistered Prakara.
The Adhishtana of the main temple is treated with conventional mouldings of a Pada, Adhokumuda, a Tripattakumuda, a small Kantha and a Adhokumuda. Interestingly the Adhokumuda mouldings are treated with friezes of elephants, playing dwarfs, squatting lions. The bhitti of the main temple is elaborately decorated with Kumbha pilasters in the recesses and slender pilaster turrets and the corners of the walls with double pilasters. The sanctum wall at cardinal directions have Devakoshtas flanked by two slender pilaster turrets. The pillars of the Mukhamantapa have lion brackets. The Kalyana mantapa situated to the south-west is an exquisitely beautiful compact structure well known fr intricate workmanship on granite. The small shrine towards north-west is dedicated to the consort of the main deity Shiva. Dravida Shikhara of moderate size one provided over the Garbhagriha of both the shrines. Yagasala is situated to the north-east is much altered.

This is the view from the Gopura doorway. The passage is wide, tall and long. One passing through this will be charged with energy which can alter the state of mind in a good way. Between the Gopura and the Devalaya, is the Dwaja Stambha or the Vijaya Stambha. Also a thick stout column stand there.. no idea what its called as. The courtyard is spacious, the floor is covered with granite slabs, there are plants and trees a temple must have, the ambiance is serene. This is what I had hoped for.. wanted to spend time in silence.

This is one of the maidens, sculpted at the base of a column supporting the Gopura tower. In the Gopura passage are two raised platforms, one of them is seen here. The platform's base is also decorated with legendary creatures and floral sculptures.

This is the raised platform with an additional pillar in the middle. There was't any staircase in sight, wondering if people climbed up there using ladders. Probably the raised platforms were used to shower flowers on the royal visitors or guests.

In the courtyard, on the right hand side, is a tall four pillared structure called as Vasanta Mantapa. Except for its name there's no other info available. Probably this was used for celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries.

The Gopura as seen from the northeast corner of the temple. The temple's facade is grand with all the elaborately sculpted pillars. These pillars are similar to the musical pillars at Vittala Devasthana in Hampi.

This is the Sabhamantapa, the meeting hall. As you see the roof is supported by large pillars of complex forms. The pillars create a kind of hooded passage towards the Natya Mantapa and Garbhagudi. In the passage is an idol of Nandi, facing his lord Someshwara.

The adorable Nandi. I loved the little oil lamp and its refection on the wet floor. Sun was bright, its brightness was blinding on the outside. Inside, the pillars muted the brightness.

Besides the Nandi, on the floor is an engraving, a couple doing Sashtanga Namaskara to Someswara. The engraving would be a mark of some important couple's visit, probably one of the rulers or a donor who contributed for the temple's development. This hall is quite unique in terms of its plan, never quite seen anything like this. The central aisle flanked by low platforms and high platforms.

We went in for the lord's Darshan. Daily rituals happen in this historic temple. The deity was covered in Vibhuti and fresh flowers and Bilwa Patre. A board stated that photography inside the Natya Mantapa wasn't allowed. However, with the Archaka's permission I took pictures of characters on the four pillars supporting the roof. The following three images are collages of those characters mostly ascetics.

The first one seems to be Bedara Kannappa hugging Shiva Linga. The second one is half-man half-lion. The feet has claws hence I'm saying lion. The third image is that of an ascetic doing Namaskara, hands raised above his head. His hair is long and has a stylish mustache as well. These images seem to be sculpted during Chola rule.

In this collage, the first image is that of a man with a big belly is blowing a conch. The next one is an ascetic, his hair tied over his head like a Shikhara. The third image is of a plump man, squatting on his back, closed eyes, palms joined, serene expression on his face. Except two images in these collages, you can see Rudrakshamala on all characters.

We came out to the Mukha Mantapa, this is the right hand side of the hall. Every pillar is unique in terms of decoration, architecture is Vijayanagara.

The temple entrance is flanked by two raised platforms, this is the wall on the right hand side. The ribbed line along the wall is a marvelous creation. One can see the same in temples of Hampi. I particularly recall the ribbed corner at Hazara Rama Devastana.

The images on these pillars are interesting. Here's another collage comprising of two women and Hanuman. The women's hairstyle caught my attention, a large bun tied to a side of their heads. For the hair to be tied into a bun as large as their head, it must be really long. Both are wearing heavy jewelry. The second woman's dress is a knee-length skirt with a taper-cut. Ah the fashions of those days. Coming to Lord Hanuman, he's standing with his right hand on his thigh and looking to his left. Going by the arms' sizes in these sculptures, I feel the the sculptors' sense of proportion was somewhat different.

A quick look at pillar tops. The forms are quite complex up here. The man seen here is half kneeling. His attire is simple, single pieces of unstitched pieces of clothes. His headgear seems to be 3-pointed, it seems he's trying to position it.

A cow licking its teats and a squatting lion. The hanging flowers atop pillars is usually seen in Vijayanagaa temples.

The design is a mix of floral and geometry. A hemisphere emerging from a square box which in turn is emerging from a flower. I realized that the pillars and the flowery tops are different pieces. Not just that. They seem to be different stones. It seems like the flowery tops were later additions. I could be wrong in saying that, though.

One of the pillars has a dancing man. He's dressed in a simple manner, just one piece of jewelry around his neck, on his chest. His hair is tied into a tapering tower on his head. He seems to be holding some sort of weapon in his right hand.

This is a portion of the inner side of the overhang running along the edge of roof. Rainwater would fall away from the base of the walls. No shortcuts in terms of aesthetics anywhere in the building.

So far we saw the right hand side of the Sabha Mantapa. We'll see the other side in the following post- Kolar Someshwara Devastana - part-2.
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