May 30, 2012

Papanatha Devastana, Pattadakal

Dec 16, 2011

Papanatha Temple is about a 100m walk from Pattadakal Temple Complex.

A board gives out sufficient information:

This temple (known as Mukteshwar temple in the inscription) appears to have been originally a modest structure but in all probability was extensively renovated at the time of construction of Virupaksha temple (AD 740). It is distinguished for the rich sculpturing and the Rekha-Nagara shikhara over the sanctum.

This east facing temple has on plain Garbha Griha, Ardha Mantapa, Sabha Mantapa and Mukha Mantapa provided with Kakshasana. Curiously the eastern half of the Sabha Mantapa accomodates a huge monolithic Nandi instead of a seperate Nandi Mantapa. This temple is built on unusually huge plinth with the usual mouldings, embellished wih elephants and other animal motifs. The wall above is relieved with a large Kudu type of Deva Khostas at regular intervals accomodating Shaiva and Vaishnava deities and perches sheltering stone windows. Noteworthy is the introduction for the first time of elaborately carved narrative panels depicting the stories from the Kiratarjuniya and Ramayana on the outer wall.

The names of the figures of these episodes as also name of the sculptures like Devaraya, Chengamma, Baladeva and Revadi Ovajja are also engraved below them.

The characteristic feature of this temple however is the introduction of fully developed Rekha-Nagara Prasada with an elaborately carved Mukha Pattika of the Sukanasa besides three Ghana Dwaras on the walls of the Garbha Griha have collossal sculptures of Nataraja, Mahishamardhini.

The ceiling of the front porch is shown as if carried by the Kubja bears a birth king basrelief of Nataraja dancing with Parvati acompanied by musicians and garland bearing Gandharvas comparable to the earlier ttemple at Aihole. The pillars of the entrance porch bear Kinnara couples. The pillasters of the Sabha Mantapa accomodate medium sized graceful sculptutes of Apsaras and amorous couples at the bottom and Purana Kumbha motif at the top.

The front porch.

Beautiful art work.

Inside of the front porch. Imaginary creature with body of lion with elephant head.

The opposite side.


Nataraja with Parvati.

A munch of vanaras ~ monkeys. I guess this is related to Ramayana.

A window. As seen from inside

...and outside.

Panels depicting stories from Ramayana.

Rama aiming his arrow at Vali's back.


Rekha-Nagara  Shikhara.

It's a relatively long temple.

Most tourists miss this beautiful temple. Even the guides are not interested in showing this temple. Ideally one should see Papanatha temple first and then see Pattadakal temple complex.


May 26, 2012

Boyar Gudi & Huchchappayana Matha, Aihole

Dec 16, 2011

...driving from Galaganatha temple towards Aihole. I noticed a rock-cut temple on my right similar to Ravalaphadi. That temple was a Jain Basti what locals refer to as Myanada Basdi. After spending about 45 minutes at the rock-cut Basadi, I move on towards Aihole only to stop again to check out Boyar Gudi.

Boyar Gudi is a simple temple sans Shikhara, built on a raised platform. The Sabhamantapa has a symmetrical sloping roof..

The exterior is plain except for few sculpting of animal forms.

An elephant. No idea what it's holding on to with its trunk.

A dancing peacock.

I do not remember seeing a deity in the Garbhagudi. I notice another temple close by and walk down.

This temple has a wide Sabhamantapa. Exterior walls are plain.

A very closed and serious type of temple.

Part of the roof is missing. The interior has turned pillars and Garbhagudi doorway is decorated with a stone mesh wall.

No information boards for both temples. My aim was to visit every temple of Aihole. 125 of them. Lets see how many visits I'll have to make to cover all temples.

Just as I entered Aihole, on the left hand side is another well maintained temple- Huchchappayana Matha.

A board gives out some information: There are two sectiona at the Huchchappayana Matha. The first one has a temple and the second, a structure called Matha, The temple here has sculptures on its outer walls, columns and inner ceiling of superior workmanship. The door frame of the Garbhagriha is very well wrought, with Ganga and Yamuna images. There are also some impressive figures of amorous couple. The Ganga-Yamuna images at the main entrance are in a triple bend pose. Outer walls have many interesting beautiful secular sculptures and of amorous couple. The ceiling on the mantapa has impressive Trimurthy sculptures. To the east of the Matha is another east facing shrine. The pillars here are plain. There is an inscription dated 1077 AD.

Kamla ~ Lotus.

Woman's body with a horse's head. According to a guide this is supposed to signify love is blind.

Huchchappayana Matha
The amorous couples.

Huchchappayana Matha
Another couple. They have no clothes but plenty of jewelry. Fashion of those days?

This couple have draped some very light fabric around their midsections. They have a different hair-style too.

These two characters must be Ganga and Yamuna flanking the temple doorway.

Side and rear portions of the temple are pretty plain.

The shrine behind Huchchappayana Matha where Halagannada inscriptions are found on pillars.

Solid square section pillars support the roof. Pillar on the right has an inscription.

Huchchappayana Matha
Closer look at the inscription.

Huchchappayana Matha, Aihole
More temple designs. There's more to see in Aihol, temple laboratory of India.

I'm really hungry now. Unfortunately Aihole does not offer options for food. There's one Khanavali near Chakra Gudi but the lady who runs the place insists on ordering by paying an advance and wait for 30 minutes for food to get cooked. The other option is to have snacks at any of the three eateries close to Durga Temple Complex. I opt for snacks followed by Limbu-Soda. It's a good idea to have lime-soda after snacks. It takes care of dehydration and lemon-salt combo is energizing.

I had planned to spend few hours at Durga temple and the museum. It was a Friday and ASI museums are closed, all over India. If you are keen on visiting museums avoid trips on Fridays. This is probable my fourth trip to Aihole, yet there's so much to see.


May 23, 2012

Galaganatha Temple Complex, Aihole

Dec 16, 2011

I drive down from Ramlingesvara temple and park my Maruti under an umbrella shaped tree. All trees are beautiful but this one is little more than beautiful. I feel in love it with it! See a car under the tree?

In the shade of this wonderful tree, stone workers shape slabs for the ongoing renovation. The group leader suggested me to take a shortcut by climbing across the wall :) I did. There must be 20 to 25 temples of various sizes. In the background, on the hill are Aihole fort and Meguthi temple.View of the complex from the wall.

I took a few minutes to decide the starting point of my tour ...I started from the temple closest to the rear exit of this compound. Most temples are in ruins and deities are missing. These temples are built on a slope of a rocky hillock.

Most temples are sans Shikhara.

This little temple must have looked beautiful during its hey days. The carved flanks besides the steps is a common feature to many temples of Aihole.

Square columns with octagonal sections..

Between this temple and the hill in the background flows river Malaprabha. The stocky pedestal on the floor ...I wonder what it is for.

A small shrine with square pillars.

Gajalakshmi on a Garbhagudi doorway.

Now I'm closer to the center of Galaganatha complex.

A small room, an adjoining rock forms a part of  the walls. Notice a stone-cut trench coming out from the left side. Surely that was for water to flow out. So is this a temple or a bathroom for priests?

Cylindrical columns ...similar to Roman buildings.

A decorated doorway. Each level has a theme

A damaged sculpture of Basavanna sits in the middle of a courtyard. A Torana can be seen on the right.

A temple with two Kadamba-Nagara Shikharas. I remember seeing temples similar in plan; Jodu-Kalasa Gudi at Sudi and Kasivisvesvara temple of Lakkundi, though all are different on the outside.

Other two temples around the courtyard. Many temples of Aihole are squarish and fully covered with walls like the one seen here.

I consider this as the center of Galaganatha complex. The Torana, back then visitors would pass through this gateway.

This must be Galaganatha temple, the exterior is heavily decorated with floral and other works of art. I remember seeing a case with flowers in it on one of the outer walls. A board gives out little information: This appears to be originally a Vishnu temple as the Shikhara of the temple has images of Vishnu on three sides though the Garbhagriha of this temple has a Linga installed in it. The Rangamantapa has the image of Bramha on its inner ceiling. The Mantapa has a Saptamatrika panel.

A stone structure behind the temple catches my attention. Rough-cut stone slabs form a shelter.. this is a dolmen. A similar dolmen existed in the village of Motibennur, near Ranebennur.

Two more temples. Work in progress to make these historical monuments tourist friendly.

As historians say; Aihole is the cradle of temple architecture. Yes, these temples in various designs in one place can be compared for aesthetics and engineering. Designers and builders can compare and create better designs. Aihole indeed was a laboratory of temple design!

To see the list of monuments at Aihole read What to see in Aihole.

Galaganatha Temple Complex Coordinates: 16°0'35"N 75°52'44"E