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.


dhiru guri said...

Nice to read about these places and stories associated with them. Thanks for sharing.

chetan teju said...

Laal Salam to article.

siddeshwar said...

thank you dhiru guri

chetan - namaste