Mar 26, 2016

Ancient church of Mudgal

Some time 2012
While researching historical spots in Raichur district I happened to stumble on the ancient church in Mudgal town. The description of the church on Raichur district website read as follows: There is an old Roman Catholic Church at this place. It is said that it stands on the foundation of one, which had been built by Jesuits before 1557 during the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah who had granted inam land for its support. The original very old church was pulled down and another was built in its place later.

December 25, 2012
I visited Kavital, Maski, Mudgal fort and Jaladurga but during the tour of Mudgal I missed the main entrance of the fort. Also I'd completely forgotten about the ancient church.

January 23. 2016
We were driving from Hyderabad to Dharwad, our journey started around 5-30 AM. Our first stop of the day was near Shaktinagar (Raichur Thermal Power Station) for breakfast. Our second stop was was at Vatgal where we climbed the boulder-heap-hill and then the little temple dedicated to Basavanna. Our next stop was at Lingsugur for lunch, then the short drive to Mudgal. First I explored Mudgal fort's main entrance while Pushpa waited in the car. Then drove back towards the town and located the church. Here it is..

There's some more information about this church at website:
Mudgal's Sacred Heart of Jesus Church is one of the oldest Catholic mission stations in Raichur district. This church is said to be established during the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur. The original structure built some time in 1500s was demolished and a the present day building was completed in 1971 by Fr. Sylvester Mc. Goldrick, O.F.M.  As the church was old, with the initiatives of Fr. Chowrappa the church was renovated in the year 2007.

The church's front yard has open space where a bunch of kids were playing.. probably they were enjoying their day off after Satuday morning classes. The church's premises was well kept, neat and clean. A bunch of young boys were working at one corner, next to the open stage. The place had a peaceful ambiance.

 Here's the side view of the church, lot of trees provide plenty of shade.

 One of the kids, I think his name was Adarsh asked me to see the church's interior. Then a few more boys joined in and opened the door for me. Unlike other churches, I'd to take off my shoes before stepping in.

There we go, its a simple setup, somewhat like a temple. Close to the main door is a lovely statue of one of the saints (see inset).

The boy showed me to Father Vincent, he was one among the group working next to the stage. I asked if there was a photo of the old structure. Answer was a disappointing no. He added that he's in touch with the concerned authorities in Hyderabad to obtain historical facts. Since Raichur was part of Nizam's kingdom, all its information would be available at Nizam's capital Hyderabad. It would be long wait before the information reaches its origin.

The church runs several institutions mentioned below-
  • Child Workers Special School
  • Pavithra Hrudaya Premashrama – Boarding for Boys
  • Pavithra Hrudaya Samaja Kalyana Sangha
  • R.C. Mission H.P. School & High School
  • Sishu Vihar
  • St. Ann’s Convent – Sisters of St. Ann of Providence
  • St. Ann’s Premashrama – Boarding for Boys & Girls
It was almost 4 PM and time for us to leave. Our plan was to reach Dharwad before dinner time. We moved on..
I found some more information in Meadows Taylor's book - The Story of My Life. Below are the two paras relating to Mugal church.

"I could only stay two days, and these were mostly occupied in inquiring into a dispute relating to a Christian settlement there, as it involved religious jurisdiction between His Holiness The Pope and The Archbishop of Goa, I was incompetent to decide. The congregation were all weavers of blankets, and shepherds, originally converted by one of St. Francis Xavier's missionaries from Goa. It had been somewhat richly endowed by the several kings of Adil Shahy dynasty of Beejapoor, and it still retained these grants through all revolutions. There were two other congregations in the Doab, one being composed of potters at Raichore; the name of the place of the other I forget. The church at Moodgul was a humble but respectable edifice, and service was performed by a deacon, the Mass in full being celebrated when a priest came from Goa on his rounds.

On my arrival some time after in England, I wrote to his Eminence Cardinal Wideman about this congregation, furnishing him all particulars respecting them, and received a courteous reply, to the effect that my communication was both valuable and extremely interesting, and would be duly forwarded to Rome."

Mar 19, 2016

Ashokan inscription from Sannati at Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

Charminar and Salarr Jung Museum were on our list for months. Once we had planned but it got cancelled. Third week of November I promised Pushpa to take her that weekend.

November 28, 2015
We left home by 9-20 AM, our plan was to see Charminar first and then spend rest of the day at Salar Jung Museum. Instead of taking Panjagutta route we took Mehdipatnam route. As we entered the old city, the streets were narrow, journey was slow. Though we had Google Maps on to navigate us, we would stop and ask people just to be sure. At one stop, a man offered to show us the way since he too was heading the same way. Good, hop in. As we reached the bridge across river Musi with Salar Jung Museum towards our left, time was 10 AM, we changed our plan. We dropped off our guide and went to the museum. We visited all galleries, made sure we saw the main attractions and came out by 4-30 PM. As we walked towards parking area, we checked out the antique fire-fighter truck opposite the museum entrance. As we continued towards the parking lot a stone monument caught my attention; it had an inscription; the letters were undoubtedly Brahmi. So, where is this inscription from? There was no board around the inscription.. what is it, where is it from, nothing. I took pictures, let me compare the scripts once I reach home.

On checking the pictures in the post on Sannati inscription, it was clear the stone was from Sannati. And there's something else too.. I was looking at the inscription after exactly 2 years! What a coincidence!!

Nov 28, 2013 Kanaganahalli-Sannati | Nov 28 2015 Salar Jung Museum, Hyd
The coincidence made me happy, something to  :) about.

both sides of the stone has inscription, these pictures were shot at Sannati
So why was this important prehistoric inscription brought to Salar Jung Museum? And that too its been put on display without even a name board to it, out in the open, not even a shelter to shield it from sunlight and rain.

The original block with the Brahmi inscription was broken and used as a pedestal for the deity at Sri Chandrala Parameshwari temple, Sannati. Into the square hole fits in the deity's base.

A closer look at the inscription. If this stone remains exposed to sunlight, dust, smoke and rain, it won't be long before the letters fade away. It needs to be kept in a shelter, preferably indoor.

Perhaps I must reach out to ASI with a request to move it back to Sannati and remain at its original location.

To know more about Karnataka's edicts check out The nine rock edicts of Samrat Ashoka in Karnataka.

Mar 12, 2016

Three Mohammedan Gumbaz of Hukkeri

Nov 15, 2015
This was my first visit to Hukkeri (also spelled Hukeri), was here to visit Pushpa's relatives at a near by village Yellimannoli. While passing through Hukeri I noticed three large domes rising above the two/three storey buildings. The domes were unmistakably Gummats, tombs of Muslim rulers. On our return journey we stopped at the tombs. There are 3 structures in one row, all of them built on platforms, similar in design but slightly different in sizes. The structures are cubical, have minarets at each of the corners and topped by a central dome.These Gummats are similar to those seen at Bijapur, Gulbarga and Bidar.

I searched online for info on these tombs and found a small write-up on Government First Grade College Hukkeri website. Following info is sourced from that write-up. The name Hukkeri is said to have been derived from the name Huvinakeri ~ street of flowers. When Hukkeri was part of Adil Shahi kingdom, roses grown here were exported to the kingdom's capital Bijapur.  Hukkeri was controlled by Fate Bahadur before it came under Yusuf Adil Shah rule in 1502. Ain-ul-mulk Gilani was in charge of Hukkeri's administration, which lasted 40 years. During Ain-ul-Mulk Gilani's rule a fort and two tombs were built. Ain-ul-mulk was succeeded by his brother Fateh-Mulk (1547 to 1568) during whose rule the third tomb was built. Fate Mulk was succeeded by two Bijapur officers Ranadula Khan and Rustam Zaman. Rustam built the Chini Gumat and Kadam Rasul mosque (near bus stand) in 1680.

Lets start with the tomb on the west. This is the second largest structure, it's floor measures approximately 35' x 35' and overall height could be 50'. This tombs has two entrances and each of the four faces has arched niches.

As seen from the east. This is the most neat and tidy of the 3 tombs, The platform top is tiled, so is the interior.

Here's a view of the interior, tiled floor, whitewashed walls but covered with cobwebs. The niches are decorated with simple but beautiful floral murals. One thing is missing.. there's no tomb in here.

The white-red dome is clean and beautiful. The central hub reminds me of a cathedral at Bangalore. Probably there was a plan to hang a chandelier.

This is the middle Gumbaz, the largest of the three. The structure approximately measures 42' x 42' x 55'. Each of the four faces has nine niches and an entrance i.e. four entrances at floor level.

Some government contractor decided to use the monument's platform to store cement pipes.  What an eye sore! This building seemed to have a wooden balcony above its front door.

Trying to imagine its looks when it was newly built.. a dazzling structure with glossy white walls and a  pearl smooth dome. A cheaper alternate for a marble coated building?

The interior had been white-washed few years ago. The floor had no tiles.. no idea if the flooring was removed or it was never done The interior is unique too,. I love the corner niches.

Even this structure has no tombs in it.. just a plain floor.

The square floor plan transitions into an octagonal ceiling which in turn becomes a circle. The dome is golden.. I think that's the original color. I love the stud like protrusions at the octagon corners. Whoever created these structures had a great taste in architecture.

Now coming to the third structure, the smallest of the three is a cute little building. Instead of equal sized niches it has one large niche in the middle flanked by smaller niches. I did not bother to venture inside this building.

Well, Hukkeri was indeed important during Adil Shahi times. Quoting some content from the Government College website: The Muslim monuments of Hukeri are interesting to note. It has mosques like the Jamia [oldest], Janana, Kali, Kadam Rasul, Bagawan, Momeen, Taleban [new Gajabarwadi], Mokhasi and the Ganjul Bahar. The Jamia Masjid has fine wooden engraved Mihrab. The Kadam Rasul mosque was built in 1680, has minars and a big hemispherical dome in the centre. It has a stone on which the Prophet [Rasul] is believed to have stepped, and is built by Rustum Zaman. The Kali-Masjid in Saudagar Mohalla has a Persian inscription above the entrance which states that Mansur Khan, an officer under Ain-ul-Mulk demolished a temple and laid the foundation of this mosque in 1582 AD and completed it in 1585. Hukeri has dargahs ascribed to a lady Mansahib [with inscription of 1568], Hamidud-Din [near Gajaberwadi Ganjul Bahar mosque], Alam Bukhari [in the precincts of Jamaia Masjid], Karim Bhasha [daughter of Feroze Shah Bahamani]. The urus here is held at the Mansahib dargah in the month of Rabi-ul-Avval when about 1000 people assemble. The dargah of Shah Hamidud-Din has an Arabic Inscription to the south wall which contains throne verse and is in characters of about 15th century. The Kadam Rasul has an Arabic on its sarcophagus which reads Ya Allah in very late charcters. The Alam Bukhari Dargah near Jami Masjid also has an Arabic inscription which contains throne verse and is in characters of about the 15th century. A loose slab in the Munsiff's Court of Ali Adil Shah I is dated 1561 in Persian is badly damaged, but tries to record the completion of some lofty structure. Another loose slab on the brink of a ruined step-well in Persian records the text of Mahdar [decision by assembly] made by the mahajanas and balotiyan [Balutedars] of Hukeri to the effect that one chawar land of Jaisetti situated in the vicinity of Karanja[fountain providing drinking water to town] and the guest house [Mehman khana] constructed for public use by Mansur Khan. A Marathi version of record is also seen. The place has five more such fountains with tanks built around them. The larger tomb here was built by Ain-ul-Mulk in 1509, but was not buried here. The small gummat was constructed by his brother Fateh-ul-Mulk in 1555. The fort was constructed by Ain-ul-Mulk in 1505. The other two dargahs [empty] are also used for Government purposes. Of these, Chini Gumat with glazed tiles was built by Rustam Zaman. At Gajabarwadi is the dargah of Gajbarsaheb, built in about 1498 by Ketagauda, Desai of Nanadi. The place has Mathas like Shivamoggi Matha, Kundargi Matha, Gadduge Matha, Niluvangi Matha, Bagewadi Matha, Galatag matha, Budihal Matha, Kallayayyana Matha, Gundagi Matha, Bhandari Matha, Haveri Matha and Mallesha Matha. The gramadevata is maruti whose image is one meter tall. Ishwara temple of Gajabarwadi is a recent reconstruction. There is an old temple of Someshwara and nearby is a small shrine of Kalabhairava in dilapidated condition. There is a Vithala Mandir of Vijayanagara times and a herostone near which there are some Later Chalukyan antiquities. There is another Maruti temple [near Post Office]. There are three Jaina Bastis two in the town, and one outside which is built in 17th century. The Adinatha Basti and Parshwanath Basti are side by side. Images of both the Bastis have Makaratorana in their Prabhavalis indicating their antiquity. A stone lying inside the fort [the old Munsiff office] mentions Trikirti Yapaneeya Sangha and is in characters of 12th century. An unpublished Nagari inscription is found near the Vithala Mandira in about 15th to 16th century characters.

Wish I'd researched before the trip I could have covered all the monuments with my Canon DSLRs. Hopefully some day I'll make another trip to the bygone flower street Huvinakeri.

BTW, Ain-Ul-Mulk's tomb is near Bijapur at this spot.

Mar 5, 2016

sights at Channarayanadurga

December 28, 2014

early morning sky
Sunlight breaking through clouds
golden rays light up dry grass
dry arrow tail grass flower
grass flower remains at ant nest entrance
life on rocks n bricks
formidable ferns
original yellow
a succulent in full bloom
Eranna Junior with his friend
See Channarayanadurga fort.