Sep 24, 2016

Sri Kottala Basaveshwara Temple, Sedam

July 2, 2016
This was my first visit to Sedam town; objective of the visit was to check out the historical spots. Our first stop was Panchalingeshwara Gudi followed by Manikeshwara Gudi & Bananthi Kambha and Jain Basadi. The short break for refreshments at a bandi near Chauras ~ 4-way junction in the old town of Sedam. Kottala Basaveshwara Gudi is stone's throw from Chauras. So here's the east-facing entrance of the temple.

The name Kottala Basaveshwara is a result of the temple's proximity to Sedam fort ruins. In Kannada, Kottala means bastion. It seems the temple was in neglected state before it gained popularity. The temple's deity is a 5' tall Basavanna ~ Lord Shiva's mount.

View of the Sabha Mantapa ~ an open hall visiting devotees. The temple has a peaceful ambience.

During our few minutes stay in the hall, we happened to watch a little girl feed her even little brother; she fed her pieces of banana so patiently.

The hall is pretty simple but the overhanging chandler is beautiful. I think its pretty old, probably 70 to 80 years old.

 The temple's north entrance. On the left are several rooms, probably devotees' lodge.

 Within the temple premises is a subterranean shrine of Shri Madivaleshwara Swami. It is said that Madivaleshwara Swami chose to be entombed when he was still alive.

 This is the subterranean shrine; local people say this is usually filled with a feet deep water. During our visit there was about 6" of water.

On the right is a water tank, the temple's source of water. One side of this courtyard are a line of class rooms for IV, V and Vi standard. Straight ahead is the room which was used by Shri Madivaleshwara Swami, the room has been preserved in his memory.

Here's a short video of the temple courtyard..

Attached to the temple is Shri Kottala Basaveshwara Education Society, which was started by Madivaleshwara Swami with a handful students nearly four decades ago. Over the years, with loving care and hardwork by its members, the institution has grown and diversified; It now runs a nursery, schools, and colleges, with nearly 4,000 students. It provides training in computers, tailoring, typewriting, wrestling, and sports. The institution strives towards overall development of children & women of rural areas.

So, having done with Sedam for the day, we move on towards Bijjanahalli.

Sep 17, 2016

Bananti Kambha and Jain Basadi, Sedam

July 2, 2016
Second item of the day was Bananthi Kambha of Manikeshvara temple. In Kannada 'Bananti' means pregnant woman, however local people say there's no connection between progeny and this pillar. The name is said to be derived from a story of a rakshasa.. sorry no further information. The pillar is definitely ancient, probably 600 to 1200 years old. Though sources say ancient temples of Sedam are of Kalyana Chalukyan period, I think Hoysalas have left their marks here. This Bananti Kambha seems very much Hoysala or probably from Vijayanagara times.

Now this is the front portion of Manikeshwara temple. Unlike other temples, Manikeshwara Gudi's width is more than its depth. This is probably the Mukha-Mantapa. The dark hard stone these pillars are made of is typical to Gulbarga region; pillar design seems Chalukyan.

Its possible the original Stambha of this temple was replaced with the pillar standing here. This temple gates are usually kept locked to keep out vandals. It seems like rituals are performed every morning then its doors are shut for the rest of the day. Possibly an annual fair is held here.

Having done with the tallest monolithic pillar of Sedam, we go in search of Jain Basadi. Negotiating the dug up and filled back narrow streets of old Sedam was a challenge, At places its barely wide enough for a small car and a scooter. After 10 minutes of struggle in the maze we located the Basadi. From the outside it hardly looks ancient but we stepped in, the sight of  these richly sculptured pillars.amazed us. This little shrine is taken care of by a Jain family. The pillars are Chalukyan.

Beautiful idols of Jain Theerthankaras. They could be of black granite.

Another look at the pillar designs. Simply amazing! What imagination and talent created these complex design. Four such pillars positioned squarely in plan form a Mantapa/

Closer look at the ridged section; this is not a simple task to carve out evenly spaced out ridges on a circular object with varying diameter. No words to describe this beauty.

Now turning attention towards Mantapa ceiling, this is a seriously complex design. Every geometrical form can be seen here. Probably one can sit here and gaze at this art for an entire day and still miss something. Wondering the states of minds of persons who created this.

3-D floral sculpture within a square placed diagonally in a square which in turn is positioned diagonally in a larger square. Triangles formed by these squares are filled with elephant stories from Hindu legends. A similar piece of work can be seen at Panchalingeshwara temple here at Sedam, barely a kilometer from this Basadi.

Zooming into the floral centre; its a culmination of eight 8-sided stars having a lotus core. How can one create a flawless work of art? What patience, what concentration when at work! Take a closer look at the square's rim, you can see small Jain Theerthankaras in standing and sitting positions.

At the temple's doorway re two standing woman idols. Close to the feet of the woman is a man astride a lion.. this seems to be Sala, from whose name originated the name Hoysala. So is it OK to call this a Hoysalan creation?

The female figure guarding the doorway framed by a pointed arch. Also on the pillars flanking the entrance are Kannada inscriptions. The letters are legible, Overall the temple has Hoysalan characters.

The other quard and inscription. The upper portion of the door frame is a highly detailed piece of sculpture. However the lower half is rough cut stone. Was it left that way intentionally.

The door-frame and Hochchala ~ Kannada word for floor part of the door-frame.

Happy to have seen the ancient glory of Sedam :)

We were hungry, we head back towards Chauras, the junction where four roads meet. We find a cart-eatery vending fresh hot idli, vadae and dosae. Our breakfast was light, few idlis and a dosae between us two. Hunger taken care of.. burpp. We ask for the our next item on our list- Kottala Basaveshwara Gudi.


Sep 10, 2016

Panchalingeshwara Gudi, Sedam

This small town today is known for the cement plant but it has its own history. Some of the ancient temples are Panchalingeshwara Gudi, Manvikeshwara Gudi and Bananti Kambha, Jain Basadi, Kottala Basaveshwara Gudi, Madhava Trilingeshwara Eshwara temple, Jwalamukhi statues, Ganapa Navakoti Narayana Temple, Karadagiri Hanuman Temple, Laxmi Narayan temple, Hingulambika temple and few mosques and Dargahs. It is said that there are Jain cave ruins possibly created during Rashtrakuta times.

July 2, 2016
Our journey started early morning; first planned stop was Sedam. I wanted to check out the ancient temples of this place which was known as Sedimba long time back. We reached Sedam by 8-30; on my list were Laxmi Narayan temple, Panchalingeshwara Gudi, Manvikeshwara Gudi and Bananti Kambha, Jain Basadi and Kottala Basaveshwara Gudi. We entered the town, drove past main bus-stand heading towards railway station. As we drove deeper into the town, streets got narrower.. we found Laxmi Narayan temple; only two pujari were there; neither had any info about this temple's history. By the way, the temple though old had too many modern touches. We moved on towards Panchalingeshwara Gudi; the temple is located on slightly elevated part of the old town, it was crazy driving through the narrow streets, barely wide enough for a car and bike to pass each other. We managed to reach Panchalingeshwara Gudi, the abode of five Linga.

This temple is located close to the eastern edge of Sedam town where a stream flows in a curve. Turning our attention to the temple complex. It a group of four temples. The complex's gateway is richly decorated with a an arch, pair of Dwarapalas guarding the entrance. As we step in, there's one temple straight ahead...

..and another on the right hand side.

This how close both temples are. As you see both temples's entrances are similar, both have Dwarapalas of their own but while one pair is male the other pair is female. It is said these temples were built during Kalyana Chalukyas time.

Visitors are greeted by Dwarapalas covered in heavy ornaments from head to toe. Wonder if the sculptures were purely made from imagination or if there were models to replicate. Anyway, the sculptures of these temples are amazing!

This is the four pillared Mantapa; beyond is the vestibule's mesh. The Mantapa's pillar design is pretty complex with so many sections.. square, octagonal and circular. Some sections are decorated with intricate designs.. designs copied by jewellery designers of our times.

Another view of the Mantapa.

One of the pillars had an interesting sculpture.. five men with seven legs. Cool imagination. When you look at any of the men, it seems to have a pair of legs.. don't look at the feet :)

Nandi mounted on a pedestal.

Every work in these temples have carried out with great care and attention. Now, looking at this Basavanna, see the creases in the neck skin and veins sticking out on the snout. Just too good! Even this Basavanna is pampered with heavy chain of bells around its neck and shoulder.

A big Ganapati sitting peacefully with an oil lamp burning besides him. Notice the pair of peacocks on the pillar.

A very complex ceiling, Notice the central sculpture.. Never seen anything this complex before. No words to describe this beautiful work.

This is the third temple with a small idol of Linga placed on the Garbhagudi floor (see inset).

Here too Sabha Mantapa has four columns. I loved the upper portion of these pillars. To create the disc with ridges is seriously tough work.

This the fourth temple, seems like it was restored recently.

The complex is pretty compact with temples tightly packed together. There were few pieces of sculptures placed about, found one of them interesting (see inset). Temle care-takers shouldn't have painted these walls.. I heard lime eats into stones and weakens it eventually. Only plastered walls require a coat of 'Sunna.'

Sedam must have been an important place during Kalyana Chalukyan times. Glad to have seen this temple. Worth the time n effort.

Next on our list were Manvikeshwara Gudi & Bananti Kambha and Jain Basadi.

Sep 3, 2016

Oldest Tree of Bijapur

Ever since I saw the first Baobab at Savanur, I've been researching Baobab trees across India and found some 27 in all. Of those 27, two are at Bijapur - one tree is located next to Hazart Hander Shah Ali Hussain Dargah near Ibrahim Roza and another tree at a mosque in Yogapur locality.

July 2; we were on our way from Hyderabad to Dharwad, we'd planned to touch few historical spots en route.. Bijjanahalli, Sedam, Chittapur and Ferozabad.  We arrived at Bijapur around 8-45 PM.

July 3, 2016
We started our tour of Bijapur by 8-AM. First was Ibrahim Rouza. We inquired about the Baobab tree. Not many people were aware of the ancient tree. But then the ticket collector said the tree dried up and collapsed few months ago and nothing was left of it now. The tree was located near a well and we could see the spot. The approach road was dug up hence the spot was not reachable easily. I trusted the TC's words and dropped the idea of visiting the spot. A caretaker suggested us to visit Yogapur instead.

We reached Yogapur by noon, locating the Dargah wasn't a problem. Happy to be looking at the tree. Compared to trees of Savanur and Golconda, this tree was slightly smaller but had a lovely shape.. like a mushroom.

Pushpa standing next to the tree trunk..  

Gol Gumbaz sitting on the horizon.

Branches spread out equally in all directions.

The dark green lobed leaves seems to be pretty young. Probably 2 months old. There were buds and flowers too.. off-white colored.

Buds are ball-shaped and the cup-shaped flowers have thick petals.

A closer look at a flower being pollinated by a bee.

As we admired the tree, few local people appeared on the scene. Of them one was middle-aged. Sayed was one of the care-takers of the Dargah. He had good knowledge about this tree's medicinal properties.. its leaves and fruits are used to cure health problems. In fact he suggested us to try chewing a leaf which we did. The leaves had a mildly sweet taste.

I mentioned to them about the Baobab at Savanur. In fact Pushpa showed them the video of Savanur trees. Sayed was friendly and spoke about how Sufi saints brought Baobab saplings from Africa and planted them in India. In fact these trees are found where Muslim kings ruled.

This lovely Gumbaz is the tomb of three Sayed Shah Imamuddin Quadri, Hazrath Sayed Shah Abdul Gafoor Quadri Shaheed Peeran and Sayeda Bibi Amatal Haleem.

Here's a short video of the tomb and its green companion.

Here is a list of known Baobab trees of India-
  1. Hilltop Nightclub, Vagator, Goa
  2. Cabo Raj Bhavan, Dona Paula, Goa
  3. Quepem, Goa
  4. Bamboo Motels, Goa
  5. near Ibrahim Roza, Bijapur, Karnataka (may have dried out)
  6. Dodda Hunashe Matha, Savanur, Karnataka
  7. Attapur, Hyderabad
  8. Purana Qilla, Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana
  9. Vansthalipuram, Hyderabad, Telangana
  10. near Chappel Road, Hyderabad, Telangana
  11. Ranganath temple at Nanakramguda Hyderabad, Telangana
  12. Uppal in Chengicherla Reserve Forests, Hyderabad, Telangana
  13. Shivalaya on Balachandruni Guttalu, Nalagonda, Telangana
  14. Nellore, Andhrapradesh
  15. Theosophist Society Gardens, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  16. The American College campus, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
  17. Chinmaya Vidyalaya's campus at Ilanthope, Rajapalayam, Tamil Nadu
  18. Mangaliawas near Ajmer, Rajasthan
  19. Vadodara, Gujarat
  20. Dayapur, Gujarat
  21. Kutch, Gujarat
  22. Bhanagar, Gujarat
  23. Baroda, Gujarat
  24. near Gujarat College / Victoria Garden / Sukharamnagar, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  25. Mulund, Mumbai, Maharashtra
  26. Byculla zoo, Mumbai, Maharashtra
  27. Outside the Vasai fort, Maharashtra
  28. Tilak road and Ghole road, Pune, Maharastra
  29. near Aurangabad, Maharashtra
  30. Mandavgad or Mandu, Madhya Pradesh
  31. near Sangam, left bank of the Ganga, Prayag, Uttar Pradesh 
  32. Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, Bihar