Jul 18, 2015

Sangameshwara temple, Alampur

March 20, 2015
Sangameshwara temple is another fine example of  Chalukyan grandeur. It is said that Sangameshwara Gudi was constructed by Pulakesi I (540 to 566 CE). The name Sangameshwara is derived from the word Sangam meaning confluence. This temple was original location was near Kudavelli village, at the confluence of two mighty rivers- Krishna and Tungabhadra -which is pretty close to Alampur. Hence the temple is also known by the name Kudavelli Sangameshwara. The name sounds similar to Kudala Sangama the confluence of Krishna and Malaprabha rivers.  When Srisailam Hydro Electric project started, Andhra government decided to shift the temple to a location outside the reservoir limits. The project of shifting the temple was entrusted to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). ASI documented the temple design, dismantled it block by block, moved the material to outskirts of Alampur and assembled it and restored it to its original form. Thanks to ASI staff who carried out the project.. thanks to their effort.

Quoting the temple's description from ASI website:
This sandstone temple faces east and measures 68 x 41 ft. It is a sandhara temple comprising a gudha mandapa, an antarala, and garbhagriha with ambulatory. The gudha mandapa entrance doorway features Ganga Yamuna at the base while firures of Sanghanidi, Padmanidi flanked the door way. The gudha mandapa consist of four rows of four pillars each and are mostly decorated with full blown lotus. The antarala doorway has four sakas decorated with patra latha, pushpa, stambha and rupa with Ganga and Yamuna a mithuna at the base. A garudha adorned the lalatabhimba. The garbhagriha has a short square linga pita. The external wall faces on all the four sides are highly ornate with nine niches (Khattakas) five on the western side and four on the eastern side. The niches are broad and the nich pediments display a variety of toranas like makara torana and hamsa torana, sala and chitra toranas. The niches carry Siva's various forms, Sankhanidhi, Padhmanidi, Ganga, Yamuna etc. The sikhara is of dvianga class and distinguished by karna amalaka sila capped by kalasa stupi of stone.
The temple is enclosed by a prakara wall of 4.00 mtr high and is unique in having the sculptural scene of elevational mouldings. It consis of an adhistana like that of a main shrine decorated with boldly carved relief panels inside niches framed by pilasters. The sculptured panels depicts Didhyadaras, Ghandarvas, Dikpalas, Ganas playing on musical instruments. The hara of kuta, sala, panjara models seen over this prakara has further accentuated an external elevational grandeur of the temple. A sopana of 8 steps at the central axis of the prakara on the eastern side of the prakara connects to a nandi pavilion. On the basis of the label inscription found in the temple - probably a sthapathi guild of pre-Pulakesin-II undoubtedly make this temple anterior of all the Chalukyan temples at Alampur.

 Right opposite the temple entrance is a Nandi Mantapa and a Stambha. The Mantapa is built on a 4' platform, has four square pillars and a simple flat roof.
 Sanghanidi and Padmanidi flanking the doorway. The door frame seems to be a recent creation, not sure though.

An aisle goes around the temple along its outer walls.

On the left is a sloped roof shrine with a narrow doorway flanked by grilled windows. The outer walls of the main temple have niches resembling pillared mantapas.

The side walls are adorned with alternating niches and grilled windows. Every niche and window is unique in design. This is a fish-window.. what looks like a flower is actually a convergence of eight similar fish. This window design can be seen at Lad Khan temple at Aihole.

Here we have a comparison of the fish window with a floral window. Every window is decorated with rich art... a pair of exotic birds bring their beaks together over a lotus. The shaft below the lotus seems like a maize cob but it could be something else.

At the first look it seems like a simple mesh but actually its an array of four petalled flowers.

 This is the northern wall. The standing figure could be a Jaina monk; his hair seems like a judge's wig.

Back to the temple's front wall; the main attraction is the statue of Ardhanaareshwara - physically and symmetrically half man-half woman. The statue's right half has male features while the left half has female features - right from feet to head. This statue reminds me of a similar sculpture at Mahakoota.

Lord Hanuman. This image is quite different than the ones seen in Karnataka. Ties t its tail's end is a Trishula.

Side view of Sangameshwara temple.

While looking for information about Sangameshwara temple, I happened to stumble upon a blog named "Highway - the only way" from which I learned about another group of temples at Alampur - Papanashi group of temples. Well, another visit to Alampur is due.


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