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.



architect Nikhil said...

Glad that you have been to Balligave. Tough it looks a village it has so much beneath its earth and so much (in ruins) outside. I wish you had seen the lintel of the cell inside, and someone had opened the door for you to see it. The lintel has Shiva inside the Gaja (elephant) tearing it apart. It is a masterpiece. And the nandi (life size) is also far too real. I was able to see this cell only on my third trip to Balligave. If you ever plan to visit again send me a line and I will send you a lsit of all small site in the village including the place of birth of Alama-Prabhu. Udutadi and Udugani is towards Siralkoppa/Shikaripur - place of AkaMahadevi's birth!! The whole region is strong Shaivaite center. I admire Balligave for its history like no other. Not today, but in history Balligave has contributed tremendously to Karnataka's history. Gandaberunda symbol also probably arises from here, as it is used as big motif only in Balligave!

siddeshwar said...

Nikhil, I'm reading your comment again today. I'm taking your cue, will plan another visit for sure. Thank you Sir.