Aug 29, 2012

ಮಳಿ ಮಲ್ಲೆಸ್ವರ ದೇವಸ್ತಾನ, ಕೊಪ್ಪಳ್

June 23, 2012

Mali Mallesvara temple is situated on Indrakeela Parvatha, Koppal. The hill is also called Yamini Gudda by a user on Wikimapia. The temple is about 3 kms from Koppal bus-stand.

The temple was quite busy during my previous visit in March. I wanted to climb the hill next to the temple in search of Palki Gundu but dropped the idea because the up-n-down climb would need about 3 hours and and it was almost lunch time. I din't want to climb with a empty tummy and Sun beating down.

These pictures were taken during my second visit i.e. in June with Malatesh and Ravi. We had successfully located Palki Gundu on our own. We The temple deity Mali Mallesvara is an avatar of Lord Shiva. Its an ancient temple with plenty of modern touches.

Mali Mallesvara
Four or five big trees provide shade for the entire temple. Within this temple complex are 3 or 4 smaller temples dedicated to various gods.

Mali Mallesvara temple
With good rains a stream flows next to the temple. However it was dry during both seasons. Many years ago this temple would be stop over for weary travelers.

The temple shikhara.

Mali Mallesvara Koppal
One of the temples has been created within a natural rock shelter.

Malimallesvara Koppal
This temple is a nice get away for people of Koppal. The road to this temple passes through interesting rock formations. In fact this is a place one can find wildlife like Uda ~ monitor lizard and few rare birds. We saw a 2 feet long Uda resting on a rock right next to the road. By the time we got out the car and aimed the camera it has slithered down into the gaps out of our sight. Uda's feet can create vacuum, which results in immense grip- enough to bear a man's weight for several minutes. Trained Uda were used by Chatrapathi Shivaji's soldiers to scale enemy fort walls.

Mali Mallesvara temple Coordinates: 15°20'39"N   76°7'47"E


Aug 25, 2012

Banashankarigudi, Amargol

June 30, 2012

Few people have heard of Banashankari temple of Amargol and even fewer visit the temple even though it is just 12 km from Dharwad and 16 km from Hubli.

Amargol's Banashankari temple was built during 11th or 12th century CE by Kalyana Chalukyan kings. Made of sandstone, this temple is a Dwikutachala with its Garbhagrihas facing East and South. The temple has two entrances right opposite both grabhagrihas. In the east-facing Garbhagriha resides Banashankaridevi and in the south-facing garbhagriha is a Shivalinga.

The temple is under ASI care. It has been restored, signs of repair works are quite evident.

The external walls are damaged badly. Difficult to tell if damages have occurred naturally or human inflicted. Compared to other temples of the same era the damage is much more pronounced.

As I went around checking the temple exterior I found this this eye-catching model rekha nagara shikhara. Somehow this piece of work is well preserved.

The temple interior is proportional to the size of the temple. Outer columns are sandstone and the four columns forming the Kalyana Mantapa are of harder stone.

Looking at the south-facing garbhagrih through the Kalyana Mantapa.

The door-frame is heavily decorated with fine sculptures of floral art and mystical creatures. Gajalakshmi sits on the top.

Namah Banashanramma.

The four columns forming the Kalyana Mantapa are unique even though they seem similar at the first glance.
One column is relatively simple while one is quite complex and the remaining two are in between.

Top half of the most richly decorated column.

Notice the ridges created at the uppermost part of the columns? In the next level is a turned section with equally spaced four Kirthimuhka. All four Kirthimuha are same- enclosing  a lotus.

Notice the variations in this level of the pillar. This pillar below has equally spaced triangles.

Below the turned section is a square section featuring Kirthimukha. Three of the four columns have 3 Kirthimukha on each of the faces...
...while one column features single Kirthimukha with multiple strands of beads flowing out from it. The design in between the strands is just too good. Mohan, a maternal uncle who was accompanying me told that he's seen this design in some wood-work. I too felt I'd seen it some where.

The next level is a mix of circular and octagonal sections. The lowest level is a square section.

Bases of the pillars feature images of various gods on each of the faces- Bramha, Vishnu, Nataraja, Ganapati, Bhairava, Bhairavi, Shiva, Varaha, Ugranarasimha, Chandra and few others. The temple has a 3' x 2' black stone slab with Halegannada inscription on it. According to the inscription in 1120 AD a king named Jakkarasa got this temple built for Keshava and Bhairava. The inscription refers to Amargol as Ambaragol.

The first God is saw Bramha. The picture below is of Varaha, Vishnu's avatar.

This is one of the Adishaktis crushing a demon under her feet. Do take a closer look at this image by clicking on it.

Mama found the images very interesting, he helped identify Bhairava. I think Mama was looking at Bramha while I was shooting.. not sure who this is but the character has a four arms with a Damaruga in one arm.

Again, no idea who this is. Notice the skeleton like character with folded hands and a dog with its fore legs raised up.
A closer look. Who are these characters?

An hour had gone by so quickly. I'm trying to imagine how this temple might have looked during its better days. Magnificent.

We went back to my car parked close to Hanuman temple. Saturday is Hanuman's day. Jai Bhajarang Bali.

As you see the murthy is about five feet tall, its south-facing. This Hanuman does not have a bell tied to the tail. This may not be one of the Vyasraya's creation.

Visit to Amargol went well. Our next destinations for the day were ISKCON and Nuggikeri. We spent about 10 minutes at the Krishna temple and the drove down to Nuggikeri hanuman temple. Nuggikeri Hanuman is smeared with orange paint and decorated with bunches of Tulasi leaves. Could not make out the murthy's lakshanas. I checked with one of the temple archakas, he did not seem to have the right information. Anyway, I'll come back some other day.

Amargol Banashankari temple coordinates: 15°23'56"N   75°5'14"E


Aug 22, 2012

Black Kite at Bareed Shahi Park, Bidar

Jan 28, 2011
After lunch at a khanawali we decided to get some rest before proceeding to Gulburga. We stopped at Bared Shahi Park to stretch our legs and relax in under some tree. The park has four tombs of similar look and size. The building are relatively simple compared to Bahamani tombs of Ashtur.

Some how I wasn't in a mind to go walking around these buildings in the hot Sun. I had settled myself on a bench under an tree and looking up at the domes. Pigeons were fluttering about.

And then a kite entered the scene and sat majestically on the spike.

Magnificent bird.

I felt the kite was eyeing the pigeons.

After few minutes the kite started spreading out it's wings and stretched them out completely. I had never seen anything like this before. Hardly any breeze, everything was still. The kite sat motionless for minutes. I guessed it must be sunning the wings' underside. In fact it was facing the Sun.

Only the head turned from side to side. Rest of the body was still.

it must be after 5 to 6 minutes it slowly lowered it's wings ...very slowly.

I can't remember if the kite had left when we left the park.

We traveled to the historic city of Gulburga, to see some of it's famous monuments- Gulburga fort and Sharanabasavesvara temple and Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah.


Aug 18, 2012

Bahamani Tombs, Astur

Astur village is known for tombs of Bahamani Sultans and family members. Astur is about 4km from Bidar fort.

February 1996. Gulli, I visited Astur, we had ridden my Hero Honda Splendor around Karnataka. I remember meeting two local men here, they said they come here when they needed silence and peace. This was a place where they took major decisions. The place had a peaceful effect on those who believed it.

January 28, 2011
On Bidar-Astur road, about 1.5 kms before Astur is a ivory colored octagonal building. According to sources on the net this is the shrine of Hazrat Syed Nemathullah Syed and Khaleelullah Hussaini. this is a shrine of two Muslim saints Syed Nemathullah and Syed Kaleelullah Hussaini. The two saints were from Kirman near Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The shrine was built during the reign of Bahamanis.

astur tombs
The building is simple in design yet beautiful. It has a peaceful look and feel. Peacock feathers are used to bless the ones who come seeking help.

Domes of tombs in the distance.

The tomb complex of Astur. One board for the entire complex: The tombs were of Ahmad Shah al-Wali (AD 1422-36), Ala-ud-Din Shah II (AD 1436-58), Humanyun (AD 1458-61), Humanyun's wife, Nizam Shah (AD 1461-63), Mahmud Shah, Wali-Ullah, Kalim-Ullad and Hazrat Khaliullah. These huge structures are remarkable for their beautiful arches, niches and lofty domes.

These tombs are similar in architecture of Gol Gumbaz.but not that big. Domes of two tombs are missing completely and one in tomb only one-fourth of the dome is remaining.

According to sources this is the tomb of the eleventh Bahamani Sultan, Humayun Zalim Shah who reigned between 1457 and 1461. No information about the cause of the damage. Anyway the damaged part offers a  cross section of the dome. The dome could be 5 to 6 feet thick. this would be an interesting specimen for students of civil engineering and architecture.

The tomb of Sultan Humayun Zalim Shah could be the largest building here. On the left is a smaller building, view partly obstructed by a Neem tree. That building is supposed to be the tomb of Humayun Zalim Shah's wife Malika-E-Jahan.

This tomb must have had a grand look during it's days. This is supposed to be tomb of the tenth Bahamani Sultan, Aladdin Ahmad Shah II  who was in power from 1436 to 1458.

astur tombs
This white building is the only on open to public. I'm assuming this to be the tomb of Ahmad Shah al-Wali who ruled from 1422 to 1436.

This is Kalil Shah Bahamani, he claims to be descendant of Bahamani dynasty. Kalil takes care of this tomb. He shows his collection of documents supporting his claim to be a descendant of the Bahamanis.

The inner walls of this building are richly decorated with exquisite patterns. While the higher parts are in relatively good condition, the lower levels have faded or have gone completely. Golden paint is used lavishly. That could be a reason for people to scrape away parts off these walls.

This is the dome, the highest part of the interior. Close to the center of the circular design are three diamonds embedded in the ceiling. The care-taker had reflected sunlight with a mirror to light up the dim interior.

A closer look at the center of the dome. Perhaps the Persian letters are verses of Quran.

Truly these are works of art befitting the Sultans.

Notice the maze in white & black at the center of this geometric pattern. Amazing color combination!

This is a large square design with a very complex floral design at the corners.

I could have filled the entire 4GB card with images off these walls. Wish I had carried few spare memory sticks. I'll come again and spend a day here. Also I want to see the ancestral swords at Kalil's place. Because we were tight on time we couldn't wait until Kalil finished midday prayers.

Earlier, Kalil narrates the good deeds of Bahamani Badhshah Ahmad Shah al-Wali. Kalil story says how the Badshah showed sympathy to his subjects during a famine by distributing food grains.

I consider Astur's Bahamani tombs as one of the most important monuments of Karnataka. Since the tourist traffic is less the monuments are preserved well. However, concerned authorities need to take extra care to protect and preserve them.