Apr 3, 2013

Arshibidu temples

I heard about Arshibidu temples from Ranganath Juttannavar, a friend from Ramdurg/Badami. I was told it is near Gurdur but the exact location was not known. Ranganth knew about Arshibidu from his colleague Shri. S H Narennavar, a history lecturer who has been researching the history of these temples. His research includes the study of the Kannada inscription found in one of the temples.

November 24, 2012
After Dammur fort was Arshibidu, the last place on our itinerary. We stopped for tea at Gudur. Folks at  tea shop gave us directions to Arshibidu- its approximately 4 kms from Gudur on Gudur-Hanamasagar road. We were expecting to see a village instead it was just two houses belonging to the same family. The temples are about 200m from the main road, located right besides a dirt track winding into the hills beyond.

It was almost sunset time when we found the temples.

Looks like it was built during Badami Chalukyan rule.

The temple is vandalized. Treasure hunters have systematically dug every square-foot of the the floor. We did not find any deity in the Garbhagudi.

It's a small temple, seems incomplete.

That's the tablet with inscription, lying just outside the temple. The top left corner is broken. We tried to locate the broken bit but it was not in the vicinity.

Malatesh clears off few plants around the tablet.

With light fading fast, we decided to head to the other temple, diagonally across the road. A fiercely barking dog blocked our path few minutes, until we pretended to pick up stones. It was a shepherd's dog. We told him we are here just to see the temples...

This temple is slightly larger in plan.

Also it seemed to be in a more advanced stage of construction.

This is the Sabha Mantapa.

Sukhanasi around the Sabha Manatapa. Perhaps this temple was a residence for some years.. that grinding pit in the slab is an evidence.

Columns are simple, no elaborate decoration. One of the slabs forming the Sukhanasi has a rectangular through hole. I guess that was made to tether a cow or a horse, probably made by the same person who created the grinding pit. See inset for a closer look at the hole.

While we were busy shooting a person had joined us. So he was the person from the houses on the main road... he looks like a family head. Malatesh mentioned that dog must have called his owner.. look some strangers have come in our territory, check out what they are up to. The man pointed out towards a fairly flat surface besides the first temple and told us that place had houses long time back. He said he can show a few stones with grinding pits. As we walked towards the area Malatesh found pieces of earthenware embedded in the soil. We agreed this was a settlement many years ago. Soil erosion has exposed these bits of pottery.

Our host could locate one grinding stone. He wanted to show us another one but his search efforts went in vain. Anyway, this surely is an evidence of a settlement here.

A short video-

It was dusk now, time to leave, we still had to reach Dharwad and Marewaad. We thanked our host and said bye. I think we mentioned Narennavar's on going research to our host, I'm not too sure. We could have taken Hanamasagar route back to Dharwad but Ravi insisted we take Banashankari-Ron-Dharwad route because of less traffic. We stopped at Banashankari where Malatesh and Ravi went to the temple for a quick darshan. We bought some bajji and soda, and headed back towards Dharwad.

February 13, 2013
I spoke to Mr.Narennavar over phone and got to know how the name Arshibidu came into being. These temples were built by King Adivikramaditya of Kalyana Chalukya dynasty. During his reign Arshibidu was a vice-capital known by the name Vikramapura. Adivikramaditya's sister Akkadevi was in charge of Vikramapura's administration. In Kannada language a male ruler is known as Arasa and a female ruler is called Arasi. Since kingdom was ruled by a woman Vikramapura came to be known as Arasi Beedu which changed to Arasi Beedi and now it is Arsibidu. I plan to visit Badami again to meet Narennavar  and find out more about Arshibidu inscription.



ರಾಜೇಶ್ ನಾಯ್ಕ said...

This is a good find, Siddheshwar.
Thanks for this post.
Temples look nice and worth a visit.

suma venkatarathnam said...

Wow! But its sad to see how our people shamelessly dig out such old temples/monuments. There is no regulation of any sort here. Our people and government are insensitive towards such monuments.The awareness should begin at home and reach the school level too.

siddeshwar said...

@ Rajesh - definitely, its worth a visit. Aihole-Gudur-Arshibidu is about 16 kms.

@ Suma - completely agree with your thought. Hope that becomes a reality.

Team G Square said...

Quite interesting .Thanks for sharing

siddeshwar said...

@ TGS - you are welcome.