Jan 28, 2017

Ibrahim Rauza, Bijapur

July 3, 2016
This is my fourth visit to Bijapur and my first with Pushpa. Though she'd visited this heritage city once, she'd only seen the icon of Bijapur.. Gol Gummata. I wanted her to see the other magnificent monuments of the city as well. On the list were Ibrahim Rouza, the cannon of Malik-e-Maidan, Upuli Burj, Jod Gumbaz, Asar Mahal, Jamia Masjid, Gagan Mahal and Mehtar Mahal. Also on the list was the Baobab tree planted during Adil Shahi time.

After a light breakfast. we started our tour from Ibrahim Rouza. The day was cloudy and it was drizzling, weather was on our side. Here we are, looking at the domes and minarets sticking out from the three structures of the complex. In the middle is the grand gateway; on the right is the mosque and on left is the tomb. This the tomb of the fifth Adil Shahi ruler Ibrahim 'Adil Shah II who (1580-1627 CE). Superb maintenance isn't it?

This is the passage in the gateway flanked by platforms.

The gateway's other side. The entire complex is walled and well protected. Its a royal tomb, it does need security.

This is the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II, his wife Taj Sultana and their two sons. This tomb and the entire complex is said to be designed and built by the Persian architect Malik Sandal. The years of construction is not available online but I guess it was completed in 1627 CE. Going by the looks it must have built in 8 to 12 years, so the construction must have begun around 1617 CE.

On the right hand side is the mosque with five arches in the elevation. The mosque's and the gateway's minarets are similar i.e. the front two minarets are taller than the rear two.

The mosque's interior; the white pillars rising out the floor gracefully to converge into beautiful arches and domes. Between the arches are diamond shaped niches, these niches control the acoustics.. probably to prevent echoing.

The dome- what seems circular at the first glance is actually a 16-sided polygon encompassing a lotus in full bloom. Such a perfect geometric creation! Each of the 20 domes are decorated like this.. did not observe if all were same or if each of the domes had a unique design.

Looking towards the tomb through the arches. Notice how the last arch forms a white border for its arch. Truly amazing architecture.

Rauza also known as Ali Rauza is known for its pendant hanging from a stone made completely of stone. Actually there are two such hanging pendants, both on the front side of the mosque. These stone sculptures design is a mix of Hindu temple and Islamic designs. In the top-left side of this picture, you can see a mesh created in stone. Lovely designs indeed.

Between the mosque and tomb is an ornamental water tank. On the opposite sides of the tank are pedestals which I guess were used as seats to perform the customary abulation before entering a mosque or tomb. Now lets turn our attention to the tomb. The building looks beautiful in this view.. the central bulbous dome and the corner minarets and the arches below.. well proportioned design.

This is one of the corner pillars with a lotus base. Between the four corner pillars are smaller pillars forming the outer perimeter.

Looking up at the pillar. The pillar and beam design are definitely borrowed from temples.

Another look up view.. one of the sculpted arches and the floral designs on the ceiling.. superb. Notice the lotus designs.. you can see them in Chalukyan temples of XII Century.

The richly decorated walls of the sanctum. These walls carry intricate drawings and paintings.. mostly floral. Notice the black stone door-frame.. either sides of the frame has a rectangle within which is an elaborate maze. The door frame carries an inscription of verses from the holy book.

A floral motif on the corner pillar. Floral designs embossed in stone and the complicated maze on the door-frame. During my first visit here (in 1996 I and my friend Gulveer were on a biking trip around Karnataka) our guide had traced the path of the maze with a matchstick.. the path ended at the point where it started.

The outer perimeter is an arched aisle. Lets step inside the sanctum.. one of the windows with a mesh. The mesh depicts Quranic verses.

The tomb has 4 doors eight windows. The windows are tastefully decorated with sculpted meshes and has a seat too. The doors are said to be original teak wood doors studded with brass knobs (see inset) and other fittings. The octagonal object on the floor is a lamp holder. You can see a similar one at Gol Gumbaz too.
The interior has five tombs - in the middle are Ibrahim II and Taj Sultana's tombs. The remaining tombs are children and grandchildren. Flat tops indicate woman's tomb while the pointed tops are men's tombs.
Below these structures is the basement formed by the pillars bases. Its a quite a large area. It is said that the space was used to store ammunition and food grains. I remember the guide telling this was used as barracks. However, during my visit of 2010, the basement and the garden area was flooded with rain. Whatever happened recently might have been a result of altering the ancient water ways. During Adil Shahi rule, Bijapur was a well planned city which did not have shortage of water even in summer months. However in 2010 the city was a mess. In 2016, I could see some improvement.


Jan 21, 2017

What to see in Yadgir District?

Yadgir is the second smallest district of Karnataka, it was formed in December 2009. This little district of three Taluqas- Shahapur, Surpur and Yadgir -was originally part of Gulbarga district. This district is known for its vast fertile black soil plains. Crops produced are jowar, cotton and toor. A large portion of Yadgiri district lies between the two big rivers - Krishna and Bhima. During the Muslim rule, this region was known by the word Doab which means 'land between two rivers'. Yadgir district along with its neighbouring districts Gulbarga and Raichur has a rich cultural past, its a very active place since Neolithic times. In the past Yadgir, was known by the name Yadavagiri. Yadgir district capital was the capital of the Yadava kingdom between 1347 to 1425 CE. Yadgiri was part of kingdoms and empires like Satavahans, Chalukya of Badami, Rastrkuta, Aidil Shahis, and lastly Nizam of Hyderabad. During the time of Nizam, Surpur was ruled by the Nayakas assisted by the British political agent Philip Meadows Taylor. Besides administration of Surpur, Meadows carried out development of roads and lakes. He also visited and documented the prehistoric sites of this region like Bhimarayana Gudi, Rajan Kollur, Budhihal and Hagaratagi. During Taylor's stay at Surpur, he designed and built a house on a hill overlooking Surpur town which is a historical monument today.

Cannon at Yadgiri fort, Yadgiri hill fort, Royal Bath near Gurmitkal fort
and Khasa Matha near Gurmitkal

Wagangera fort, Shahpur fort, Sleeping Buddha hill and
Prehistoric Stone Alignment of  Vibhutihalli

Taylor Manzil at Surpur, Megalithic Tombs of Rajan Kollur,
Bastion at Rayan Palya fort and Gateway at Vanadurga fort
Well, here's a list of places of historical importance-

  1. Chaya Bhagavati temple - is an ancient shrine and an educational center during the period of Vikramiditya VI.  The place is called Dakshina Kashi; it is located about 20 kilometres south of Surpur.
  2. Bhimarayanagudi - is known for its archaeological site dating back to Neothic and Megalithic cultures. The site has an ash-mound which was documented by Meadows Taylor. Bhimarayanagudi also referred to as B Gudi is known more for its Agriculture University. B Gudi is about 5 kilometers from Shahpur town.
  3. Chandriki fort - Chandriki is a little village close to Karnataka-Telangana border, situated in the paddy producing lands. Chandriki fort is about 800 years old, its rampart walls are built of stones and mud. The walls though built of mud have survived the forces of Nature several decades. One can know how advanced building technology was back then. And eco-friendly too. Chandriki is about 10 km from Gurmitkal.
  4. Gurmitkal fort - Gurmitkal is a small town close to Karnataka-Telangana border. In the town are several ancient wells, though not maintained properly. Gurmitkal fort is situated well within the town, is also a mud wall fort.
  5. Gogi tombs - Gogi is know for the Dargah of Hazarat Chanda Hussaeini. At this necropolis are the tombs of Adil Shahi family. According to sources, some family members who passed away at Bijapur were brought here for burial.
  6. Khasa Matha of Gurmitkal - This is a Lingayath Matha ~ a Hindu monastery established about 600 years ago by Sri Murugarajendra Mahaswami. The present seer of Khasa Matha is Sri Shantaveera Swami. The Matha runs a primary school on its premises.
  7. Kodekal Basavanna Devasthana - is a shrine dedicated to Kodekal Basavanna, a well known as a saint who wrote Kala Gnana.
  8. Krishna - Bhima Sangama - the confluence of two mighty rivers forms the tip of Doab ~ land of two rivers. The Sangama is quite close to Raichur Thermal Power Station to reach the Doab, its a round about way. It would be a grand sight to see this place when both Krishna and Bhima are flowing to their limits. This confluence is also called as Nivrutti Sangamam.
  9. Mailarlingeshwar Gudi - a shrine dedicated to Sri Mailapur Mailarlingeshwar. This temple is located on a hillock with massive rock formations. The place is visited by thousands of people during Makara Sankranti.
  10. Narayanpur Dam and Basava Sagar - this is a dam across river Krishna. The dam's foundation stone was laid by Lal Bhaddur Shastri in 1962 and completed in 1982. The reservoir is named as Basava Sagar after the Lingayath saint Jagatjyoti Basaveshwara.
  11. Rayan-Palya fort - an ancient fort situated on a hillock besides a large pond. Rayan Palya is about 6 or 7 kilometers from Rajan Kollur.
  12. Rajan Kollur - This village is known  for the megalithic tombs on its outskirts. This protected site is one of the best preserved archaeological sites of Karnataka. Here are about 80 stone cist graves - cists or kistvaens are ancient graves or stone coffins.
  13. Sagar - a small town today was a place of great importance few centuries ago. It is said a fort existed here. Sagar wasd a provincial head-quarter during Mohammad Bin-Tughalq's rule. During the rule of Bahamanis, Sagar was again a head quarter. It is said that on the fort here is an inscription of Firoz Shah Bahamani.
  14. Sangameshwara Devasthana, Yevor - a Chalukyan temple complex with a central Kalyani. Yevor is about 28 kms west of Shahapur.
  15. Shahapur fort - is one of the largest forts of Karnataka. The fort is built on three rock hills which are part of a large group of hills. In a valley within this range of hills is a big lake called Tavarekere or Lotus Lake. The hill fort is a kilometer in length and clearly visible from Shahapur town.
  16. Sleeping Buddha hill - is a hill off Shahpur which creates a silhouette of Buddha lying down. Incidentally this amazing natural creation is near Sannati, the famous archaeological site of a Buddhist Stupa of Ashokan times.
  17. Supur fort - or Shorapur has been head quarter of this region for two centuries. The town is situated in a high valley amidst a group of hills. The Nayakas ruled over their kingdom from Surpur. Meadows Taylor spent a major part of service in administering affairs of this kingdom. 
  18. Taylor Manzil - is a bungalow designed by Meadows Taylor himself and built around 1844 CE. The bungalow is situated on a hillock overlooking the town. AN interesting fact of this house is the security feature. When all its doors and windows are shut and any attempt to force open any door would rattle all the doors and windows warning the people inside.
  19. Thintini Mouneshwara Gudi - It is shrine it is located 20 km distance south to Shorapur it previously it was a Agrahar (Education Center) during the period of Vikramiditya VI and it was an ancient temple called as a Dakshina Kashi it attracts both Hindu and Muslim devotees.
  20. Vibutihalli - is known for its prehistoric stone alignment which was a calendar of Neolithic times.
  21. Vanadurga fort - is a fort built by Nayakas. The meaning of its name is forest fort. It is said that a thick forest existed here when the fort was built/
  22. Waganagera fort - is another fort of the Surpur range of hills. This fort is situated on the western end of the range. It is said that Wagangera was the original capital of Surpur kingdom. Locals say that a large number of Aurangzeb's soldiers were massacred here by Nayaka army. It is also said that one of  Auranzeb's sons' remains lie buried here.
  23. Yadgir fort - The district capital has the largest hill with the largest fort too. The massive rock hill is completely fortifies with kilometres of rampart walls and strategically positioned turrets. The hill offers a commanding view of the surrounding plains.

Jan 14, 2017

Aikyasthala of Akka Nagamma, Basaveshwara, Gangambike and Neelambike

Akka Nagamma, Basaveshwara, Gangambike and Neelambike are few of the well known Shivasharana ~ a person who has surrendered to Lord Shiva. They are members of one family. Akka Nagamma is Basaveshwara's elder sister. Gangambike and Neelambike are Basaveshwara's elder and younger wives. These four noble persons had dedicated their lives to society's well being.

From a small age Basaveshwara was close to his sister Nagamma and she was a great influence over him. Also, Basaveshwara was an enlightened soul, from a young age he showed kindness to animals and the helpless. As he grew up he could not bear to see the pains and difficulties of the poor and downtrodden. He was sent to Kudala Sangama for education, where he spent many years and remained bonded to the place. Basaveshwara served as a minister in King Bijjala's court at Kalyana in present day's Bidar district. He initiated a social revolution to fight the injustice meted out the so called upper caste people to the lower caste people in a non-violent way. Basaveshwara preached and practiced a way of life which can be described in two Kannada words 'Kayakave Kailasa' - this short saying roughly translates to 'Work is Worship' but has a deeper meaning. He said that one perform their duties in a selfless manner i.e. work with dedication and accept the outcome as it is, be it favorable or unfavorable. He was equally dedicated to his official duty as a minister and personal endeavor to bring in social equality. His family members supported him completely and played an active role in the revolution. As a part of their practice Shivasharanas composed Vachanas - short poems in simple language carrying a moral. The movement showed positive changes and gained popularity.

Every good change has to face opposition, so was the case at Kalyana. Some prominent characters of the upper caste stirred up trouble by falsely accusing Basaveshwara of misusing state funds for personal use. Basaveshwara disproved the allegations and regained the king's confidence. But the seeds of doubt were sown. The last straw was to accuse Basaveshwara of conspiring to usurp the throne to which his reaction was resigning from the minister-ship. After formally bidding bye to the king, he left Kalyana and moved to Kudala Sangama. At Kalyana the situation changed drastically, King Bijjala is assasinated and Shivasharanas are blamed and harassed. Many Shivasharanas leave Kalyana and move southwards carrying their Vachana collection. Shivasharanas were peaceful but were trained in martial arts to defend themselves. The harassment did not stop, Bijjala's army went after the fleeing Shivasharanas and battles ensued. The main battle was near Kadrolli on the banks of river Malaprabha (present day Belgaum district) was won by Shivasharanas. Having lost, the king's soldiers give up and return to Kalyana.

Shivasharanas continue their journey southward, some succumb to their injuries on the way. Gangambike attains Aikya on the banks of river Malaprabha. It is said that a group led by Akka Nagamma and her son Channabasaveshwara to Dharwad and stay at Ulavi Basaveshwara Gudi for few days. Then Channabasaveshwara goes to Ulavi, deep in the jungles of Western Ghats. Akka Nagamma continues to travel south and her journey ends near present day Tarikeri. The place where she attains is called Yenne Hole meaning stream of oil. While all these happen, Basaveshwara has attained Aikya at Kudala Sangama. Not much is known about how Neelambike reaches her resting spot on the left bank of river Krishna near Tangadgi. All this happened 800 years back and their services are still remembered, their Vachanas still popular. Long live their names.

During early 80s, 90s and 2000s Karnataka government took steps to conserve the Aikyasthala of Basaveshwara, Gangambike and Neelambike. However, nothing had been done at Akka Nagamma's Aikyasthala until March-2014. So, here are the four spots..

Akka Nagamma's Aikyasthala at Yenne Hole, Tarikere, Chikmagalur District

Basaveshwara's Aikyasthala at Kudala Sangama - the confluence of rivers Malaprabha and Krishna, Bagalkot District. These are the waters of Basava Sagar, the reservoir of Narayanpur dam across river Krihna.

Basaveshwara's Aikya Mantapa in 1959
Gangambike's Aikyasthala in river Malaprabha, Belgaum district. This spot is off the national highway, about 43 kms from Dharwad & 35 kms from Belgaum.

Neelambike Aikyasthala on the left bank of river Krishna, in the waters of Basava Sagar, about 2 kms from Tangadgi village in Bijapur district. This spot is about 4 kms from Kudala Sangama on the right bank.

To see more pictures of these places, check out the individual posts on them, here are the links-
Akka Nagamma's Aikyasthala
Basaveshwara's Aikyasthala
Gangambike's Aikyasthala
Neelambike Aikyasthala

If you want to know about Basaveshwara's birthplace and a 108 feet statue at Basava Kalyana. This is the same Kalyana where he served as a minister during Bijjala's rule. Here are the links-
Basava Smaraka at Basavana Bagewadi
108 feet statue of Basavanna near Basava Kalyana

Also, here's a link to two other related spots-
Dohara Kakkayya Aikyasthala near Kakkeri, Belgaum district.
Ulavi Basaveshwara Gudi, Dharwad. This is the temple where the Shivasharana group had camped here after the battle of Kadrolli to celebrate their victory.

Jan 7, 2017

ಶಿವಶರಣ ಹರಲಯ್ಯನ ಪಾದುಕೆಗಳು, ಬಿಜ್ಜನಹಳ್ಳಿ, ಕಲ್ಬುರ್ಗಿ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆ

ಸುಮಾರು 12 ನೇ ಶತಮಾನದಲ್ಲಿ, ಬಿಜ್ಜಳನ ರಾಜ್ಯವಾದ ಕಲ್ಯಾಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಚಮ್ಮಾರ ಹರಳಯ್ಯನೆಂಬುವವನಿದ್ದ. ಅವನು ಮತ್ತು ಅವನ ಹೆಂಡತಿ ಕಲ್ಯಾಣಮ್ಮ  ಶರಣಗುರು ಜಗಜ್ಯೋತಿ ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರರು ಪ್ರಾರಂಭಿಸಿದ ಶರಣ ಚಳುವಳಿಯ ಭಾಗವಾಗಿದ್ದರು. ಜಾತಿ-ಧರ್ಮ ಇವೆಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಮೀರಿದ್ದು ಮನುಷ್ಯತ್ವ ಎಂದು ಸಾರಿ ಹೇಳುವ ಈ ಚಳುವಳಿಯು ಬಡಿಗೇರ, ಅಂಬಿಗ, ಹೊಲೆಯ, ಮಾದಿಗ, ಚಮ್ಮಾರ ಇಂತಹ ಮುಂತಾದ ಜಾತಿಯ ಜನಗಳಿಗೂ ನ್ಯಾಯವನ್ನು ಒದಗಿಸಿಕೊಡುವ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಇದನ್ನು ಸ್ಥಾಪಿಸಿದ ಬಸವಣ್ಣವರ ಮೇಲೆ ಈ ಜನಗಳಿಗೆ ಅಪಾರ ಗೌರವ ಮತ್ತು ಪ್ರೀತಿ ಬೆಳೆಯಿತು. ಈ ಶರಣ ಚಳುವಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಲ್ಗೊಂಡವರನ್ನು ಶರಣರು ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಒಬ್ಬ ಶರಣ ಮತ್ತೊಬ್ಬ ಶರಣನಿಗೆ ಶುಭಾಶಯ ತಿಳಿಸಲು ಶರಣು ಎನ್ನುವದು ರೂಢಿ (ಶರಣು ಎಂದರೆ ನಮಸ್ಕಾರ). ಒಂದು ದಿನ ಹರಳಯ್ಯನು ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರರನ್ನು ಕಂಡೊಡನೆ ಶರಣು ಎಂದು ಶುಭಾಶಯ ತಿಳಿಸಿದನು, ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರತಿಯಾಗಿ ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರರು ಕೈ ಮುಗಿದು ಶರಣು ಶರಣಾರ್ಥಿ ಎಂದು ಶುಭಾಶಯ ಕೋರಿದರು. ಇದರಿಂದ ಹರಳಯ್ಯ ತಾನು ಪಾಪ ಮಾಡಿದೆ, ಇಷ್ಟು ದೊಡ್ಡ ಮನುಷ್ಯರು ನನ್ನಂಥ ಕೀಳು ಜಾತಿಯ ಮನುಷ್ಯನಿಗೆ ಹೀಗೆ ಶುಭಾಶಯ ಕೋರಿದರು. ಇದಕ್ಕೆ ತಕ್ಕ ಪ್ರಾಯಶ್ಚಿತ್ತವಾಗಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ತನ್ನ ತೊಡೆಯ ಚರ್ಮದಿಂದ ಒಂದು ಜೊತೆ ಪಾದರಕ್ಷೆಯನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿ ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರರಿಗೆ ಅರ್ಪಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು ನಿರ್ಧರಿಸಿದನು. ಪತ್ನಿ ಕಲ್ಯಾಣಮ್ಮ ಕೂಡ ಈ ಅರ್ಪಣೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಗಿಯಾಗುತ್ತೆನೆಂದು ವಿನಂತಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಳು. ಪತಿ-ಪತ್ನಿಯರಿಬ್ಬರು ತಮ್ಮ ತೊಡೆಯ ಚರ್ಮದಿಂದ ಒಂದು ಜೊತೆ ಪಾದರಕ್ಷೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿ ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರರಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಕೊಂಡೊಯ್ದರು. ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರರು ಇದನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಬೆರಗಾದರು. ಪಾದರಕ್ಷೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮುಟ್ಟಿ ನೋಡಿ, ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ತಲೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡು, ಈ ಪಾದರಕ್ಷೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ದೈವಿಕ ಗುಣವಿದೆ. ನಾನಿವನ್ನು ಧರಿಸುವದು ತಪ್ಪಾಗುತ್ತೆ. ಎಂದು ಅವನ್ನು ಹಿಂತಿರುಗಿಸಿದರು.

ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ದಾಖಲೆಗಳ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಈ ಮೇಲಿನ ಘಟನೆ ನಡೆದು 800 ವರ್ಷಗಳು ಕಳೆದು ಹೋಗಿವೆ. 800 ವರ್ಷಗಳ ನಂತರ ಈ ಪಾದರಕ್ಷೆಗಳು ಮತ್ತೆ ಬೆಳಕಿಗೆ ಬಂದಿವೆ. ಗುಲ್ಬರ್ಗದಿಂದ 60 ಕಿಮೀ ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಬಿಜ್ಜನಹಳ್ಳಿ (ಮಾಳಖೇಡದಿಂದ ಕೇವಲ 6 ಕಿಮೀ) ಎಂಬ ಗ್ರಾಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಸಣ್ಣ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ ಮಾಡಿ ಈ ದೈವಿಕ ಪಾದರಕ್ಷೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪೂಜಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಕೆಲವು ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು ಇವುಗಳನ್ನು ಪರೀಕ್ಷಿಸಿ, ಈ ಪಾದರಕ್ಷೆಗಳು ಮಾಡಿರುವದು ಮನುಷ್ಯ ಚರ್ಮದಿಂದಲೇ ಎಂದು ಮತ್ತು ಅವಧಿ ಸುಮಾರು 800 ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಎಂದು ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟ ಪಡಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. 

ಬರೆಧವರು: ಪುಶ್ಪ ಪ್ರಸಧ್

Click on Haralayyana Paduke to read in English.

Jan 1, 2017

welcoming 2017

May the new year bring in prosperity, joy and peace on all..