Dec 31, 2011

Veerabadresvara, Somesvara & Bherundeshvara Temples, Balligavi

Veerabadresvaragudi, Someshvaragudi and Bherundeshvaragudi (Gandaberunda Stambha) are on one street within Balligavi. After Tripurantakesvaragudi, we head towards Somesvaragudi. The deities are ancient but the building is a modern cement & steel structure. Images of Shiva's family members; Shiva & Parvati and Ganesha.

Karthikeya and Basavanna.


Somesvara Temple

This temple, on stylistic grounds, is assignable to the late Hoysala period (13th century A.D.). It has, on plan, a Garbhagriha, An Antarala and a pillared Mandapa. The doorways of the Garbhagriha and Sukanasi are exquisitely carved. Garbhagriha houses a Sivalinga on a Bhadrapitha. The Mandapa is provided with two niches on its west wall the entrance door, is simple and ornate. It has on either side pierced windows and is provided with elephant balustraded steps. The wall is built in plain dressed slabs, which is relieved by a Madhya Bandha of lozenge floral decorations. The pillars are lathe-turned and polished.

The temple door was locked and I did not bother to inquire for the care-taker or the keys. Going by the description, the might have had interesting sculptures. We move on to the last temple on this street.

Bherundeshvara Temple

Known as Bherundeshvara Temple, this is a tall, 9.15m high Vayu Stambha. The shrine, raised over a two-tiered masonry platform of 3.05m height was installed by Chamundarayarasa, a general of the Chalukyan emporer. The square base has a sculpture of a two-headed mythical bird with human body, known as andabherunda. Standing in Alidha posture, the bird-headed humanoid figure is two armed,swallowing humans in their large, teethed beaks turned in opposite directions. While the upraised right hand is shown stuffing the human figure into the mouth, the left hand is shown lifting another human figure into its already stuffed mouth. Wide open eyes reflect anger, the image is moderately decorated with various jewellery from shoulder to feet, the bird is decorated with feathers at neck and head. The Pitambara is held by a Katibandha and an Katibandha and an Uttariya. The folds of Uttariya on either sides are artistically sculpted. the rest of the circular shaft is held by a median bands dividing it into registers. An Amalaka cushion capital accommodates an octagonal or multifaceted Phalaka.

We are at the village outskirts, a lake is visible. We stop to check out few monuments close to Balligavikere. Shivalingu in a Mantapa and Basavaana in its place.

Damages idols are considered not fit to be worshiped.

We drive on Balligavi-Chikkeroor road towards our next destinations- Talagunda and Bandalike.


Dec 27, 2011

Stories in stones, Tripurantakesvara Temple

...continued from the previous post - Tripurantakesvara Temple, Balligavi.

Scene of a baby being adopted into a royal family. To the extreme right is a couple, woman lamenting separation from her child. To the left, in the mantapa a couple holds the adopted child and merry-making around them.

Rama aims an arrow at Vali's back. Vali engaged in a fight with his brother Sugreeva.

Rama shoots an arrow through seven Saal trees to prove his power to Sugreeva. As per legend the arrow after passing through seven trees hits a boulder and shatters it to pieces.

A child, men and women dancing. Since each of these characters have a pair of stick, the dance must be Kolaata ~ Dandiya.

Man watching a deer leaping over a baby deer in a garden or a forest. The sculptor has created two different trees.

Character on the left must be a hunter. Is that a python? Man playing flute is trying to wake up the man lying down? Elephant has bowed down to let the man climb on to it's back?

Pachatantra scene: Crow dropping pebbles into a pitcher to raise water level. The animal to the right must be a fox.

Story of a tortoise and two geese. A tortoise and two geese living in a lake are good friends. One bad summer the lake starts drying up. Feeling pity for the future suffering of the tortoise, the geese plan to fly off with her. The geese would hold a stick in their beaks while the tortoise would grasp it in his mouth, but she must be careful not to talk. On hearing the comments of people in the city they are passing over, the tortoise opens its mouth to tell them to mind their own business. The tortoise falls to her death and eaten up by dogs.

Panchatantra story of a monkey and a crocodile.

Rams trying to woo an ewe. From this panel the theme shift from Panchatantra to Mithunashilpa ~ erotic images. A couple engaged in unconventional sex.

Men, women and monkeys in a sex orgy. Few images in this temple display zoophilia- humans engaged in sex with animals.

Couple making love on a bed, even the pillows are so well sculpted. Second couple from the right, man using a mirror. Normally mirrors are seen women's hands here its different. The couple to the extreme right are all hugs and kisses.

Couple making love on a diwan. Sculptors wanted to make the images as realistic as possible, attention was paid to furniture and upholstery too.

The sixty-nine position.

Woman and horse engaged in zoophilia.

More couples, nude except for necklaces.

Couple engaged in circusex.

Of all positions, this one depicts love between the partners. I feel other positions and unconventional sex practices are more about lust than love. I consider this image as the most beautiful one amongst all the images in this post.

I'm not sure if any of the modern day temples have Mithunashilpa. Temples of those days being the centers of society were sources of information of every aspect of life. Images of Panchatantra stories convey morals. Scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata inspire young minds to tread the path of righteousness. However I cannot understand why images of zoophilia were created. Is there a meaning hidden some where?


Dec 24, 2011

Tripurantakesvara Temple, Balligavi

October 10, 2011

Thanks to care-taker at Kedaresvaragudi for suggesting me to visit less visited temples of Balligavi plus Talagunda and Bandalike. I made note of the temples' names-

All these temples are less than a kilometer from Kedaresvaragudi. Balligavi village is a clean and tidy little village. At Tripurantakesvaragudi, a small board gives out basic information about the temple.

This Hoysala temple is dated 1070 A.D. and it has two parallel shrines facing east, built over an indented platform. The shrine to the north has sanctums at west and north with respective vestibules and open into a large hall. The hall of this shrine has a central square podium with massive square based circular pillars. An exquisitely carved huge couchant bull is installed towards the extreme end of this Mandapa. The porch of the shrine is lost. The eastern and western walls of the large hall have Devakoshtas.

The southern shrine also has a sanctum, an open vestibule, a open pillared large hall with provision of sitting platform and backrest. This hall has two entrances to the east and south with a projected porch. The hall has artistic lathe-turned pillars, which once had bracket sculptures. the elaborately sculptured doorway jambs are adorned with creeper scrolls, dancers and intertwined Nagas. The lintel is adorned with an ornate Gajalakshmi. The door-jamb of the main shrine has Rati and Manmatha on one side and Daksha Bramha with consort on the other. The lintel of the doorway has an excellent sculpture of Siva as Gajasuramardana flanked by Bramha, Ganesa, Vishnu, Mahishamardini and other deities.

The south-eastern corner.

Temples front portion. The care-taker of this temple was supervising a worker mowing the lawn. As you see the temple is taken care of nicely.

In this temple you get to see some unique works of arts.

I was amazed at this sculpturing; lion pinning down two elephants with its fore legs. The lion's features are well defined, even its claws are clearly visible. The creeper scroll curves smoothly into a circle. The eight-petals flower is a beauty.

Rectangular beams balanced on artistically sculpted columns.

The main entrance of the temple, slabs from the porch are missing. Visitors step into the Natyamantapa as they enter the temple. Sukhanasi at a comfortable height along the outer wall.

Three types of columns can be seen here; lathe turned with square bases, fluted with square base and ridged.

One of the four corners of the raised dance platform is visible.

Another attention grabbing feature of this temple is the mesh window at the end of this aisle.

Relatively well preserved window considering the overall condition of this temple. Enclosed in creeper scrolls are female and male forms in various dance positions. Behind this mesh window is a hall where the legendary queen Shantala met king Vishnuvardhana. Unfortunately, doors to the hall were locked and the caretaker did not have the keys.

Between the mesh window and the door stands a character decked in all kinds of jewelry from head to toes accompanied by a five headed serpent near his right foot. Each of his toes have a ring around them. If his arms were intact, probably we could have seen a ring on every finger. A similar character minus the snake stands guard at the other side of the door.

Looks so real, as though the serpent might start slithering around any time. Fabulous piece of work!

Board games of recent times.

These three windows look like an experiment in innovative designs. The designer has tried both symmetric and asymmetric patterns.

Like I said early, this temple has some unique sculptures I'd not else where. The ceiling had few interesting images, for some reason I did not shoot them. The exterior of the temple features a series of panels with stories from Ramayana, Panchatantra and Mithunasastra. Do make it a point to visit this temple when you are in Balligavi. The temple has a nice garden with one of the corners shaded by huge trees, makes an ideal spot for a rest. If the caretaker permits, this can be an ideal spot to settle down for a home-packed lunch.


Dec 17, 2011

Artifacts at Balligavi Museum

A row of hero-stones with Halegannada inscriptions.

A warrior.

Two women in long skits and sunflower like headgear attending to a man seated on a raised platform. The man seems to be levitating.

Top portion of a hero-stone; Shivalinga surrounded by Sun, Moon, a holyman and Basvanna.

A battle scene; warrior on horse-back and a injured/slain warrior lying on ground. The birdle on the horse's head caught my attention.

Another battle field scene. A warrior brandishing a sword & shield engaged in fight with another warrior on horse back with a spear. A third warrior ether injured or slain lies on the ground.

More battle scenes. One of them shows cattle, currency of those days.

A pair of entwined serpents with seven heads each.

A hero-stone with a different design. The top portion is decorated with a shikhara, couple of mystical creatures and floral decoration. This five-paneled hero-stone has as many stories in it. First panel depicts worship at a temple. Notice how smartly the sculptor has utilized space by adding an extra character below the bottom left corner of the top-most panel. Second panel could be a pre-wedding procession. Third panel is the wedding scene, the couple seated in a mantapa. Fourth panel could be post-wedding procession. The fifth panel shows women throwing in offerings to holy fire.

A similar image can be found on the Kedaresvara temple. Both man and lion have well defined features, especially the eyes.

Must be Lord Mahaveera.

An assortment of sculptures along the front wall of the museum.

Seems like a holy couple. The man has broad shoulders and strong arms. The woman's breasts are prominent and arms look strong. Her hair is tied in a bun to a side using a string of beads or pearls. The skirt looks fashionable ...or is it a saree worn in a different style. Both wear jewelry around their necks, on their arms ans legs. I wonder what the lady is holding between the thumb and index finger.

Seems like a hero-stone dedicated to a prince. The top panel shows Shivalinga being worshiped by a sage with long hair. A man enjoying female company. A battle scene.

This is something very different. A platform balanced atop a pillar with three characters who seem to be dancing on it. On the ground is a man who seems to be pierced by seven spears or arrows.

Couple of entwined serpents, one with seven heads and the other with all its five heads missing.

Story of a warrior. Two female companions attending to the warrior. Characters in this hero-stone sports a unique hair style. The battle scene is interesting; warrior on horse back feuding with foot soldiers. The warrior has worn a dagger around his waist. One of the soldiers has a bent sword and trapezoidal shield. The soldier bent backwards seems to have a slash across his abdomen and along his right thigh.

Similar to the previous one, this hero-stone depicts a story of probably another warrior. Notice the change in hair styles- long hair tied into a bun on top of the heads. Here the hero is fighting on foot brandishing a bent sword and trapezoidal shield. An archer with bow & arrow is also seen.

Lady with long pointed fingers, wearing a saree like a skirt with three pleats and simple jewelry around her neck and arms. Her head seems to be decorated with sunflower ...or it could be a lotus in full bloom.

There were many more artifacts at the museum, I shot the ones which were unique. I might have missed out a few good ones. My regards to the sculptors to created these wonderful objects of art which tell stories and lets us have a glimpse of life back those days.