Mar 25, 2017

What to see in Raichur District?

When you look at the four north-eastern districts of Karnataka, it looks like a neat stack.. Raichur, Yadgir, Kalburgi and Bidar. Raichur's southern and northern borders run along two great rivers Tungabhadra and Krishna. So Raichur was known as Doab meaning 'land between two rivers'. The district is mostly black soil plains with scattered hills. Raichur is known for its thermal power station, paddy fields & rice mills, gold mine and a special variety of granite. Raichur's history can be easily traced back to Neolithic times. Mudgal and its surrounding area are known prehistoric sites. Archaeologists have found several prehistoric artifacts on Maski hill.  Then there's Emperor Ashoka's inscription at Maski - the edict of peace - which is an indication that this land was pert of the great Mauryan empire. Then it was ruled by Satavahanas Vakatakas, Kadambas, Chalukys, Kalachuris, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagara, Bahamani and finally the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Coming to the name Raichur is the anglecized version of Rayachooru. There are many stories about how the name came into being. One of them goes like this.. A chieftain on witnessing a spectacle of a rabbit turning on a dog that pursued it and tearing the dog into pieces. The chieftain thought the spot was special and fit for a fort and constructed one naming it as Naichur which connoted the idea of the dog being torn to pieces. The present name, Raichur, is said to be have derived from that Naichur. Another story is that the name originated from combining the word Rai meaning stone in Telugu with Ooru meaning town. The product was Rajooru which becomes Rayachooru over time. Well, there are other stories about the name's origin but do check out this write-up on origin of the name Raichur. During Bahamani rule, Rayachooru had been reamed as Ferozenagar which was never accepted and reverted to its original name. When Karnataka state was formed, Raichur district came into being with Raichur city as its headquarters.

Here's what Raichur offers for tourists:

Raichur fort, Cooling towers of RTPS, Manik Prabhu temple
and Navarang Darwaza

Sentry post at Manvi fort, Kallur Mahalaxmi, view of river Krishna from
Jaladurga fort and Ahokan inscription at Maski

Ruins of Mukkunda fort, tower at Roudkunda fort,
Deity of Tryambakeshwara temple of Kavital and Watagal hill
Raichur fort - The modern city has grown around the ancient citadel which had two rings of fortification. The outer fortifications has five gateways- Naurangi Darwaza on the north, Kati Darwaza on the east, Khandak Darwaza on the south, Doddi Darwaza on the south-east and Mecca Darwaza on the west. The inner fort has two gateways- Sailani Darwaza on the west and Sikandari Darwaza on the east. The core of the fort is the fortified hill.

Mavina Kere - The largest water-body of Raichur is also known by the name Aam Talab is situated south-west of the hill fort. It was constructed during the rule of Kakatiya queen Rudramma Devi of Warangal in 1294 CE.

Navarang Darwaza - one of the five gates of Raichur fort is a protected monument. Within the premises is a collection of ancient stone sculptures.

Usukina Hanumappa Gudi - Usuku means sand in Kannada. This shrine dedicated to Hanuman was once surrounded by sand. However now its stone slabs instead of sand.

Manik Prabhu Gudi - This is an old temple situated on a hillock on the city outskirts. Manik Prabhu is a saint of XIX Century. People believe that he was the fourth incarnation of Lord Dattatreya who was born in 1817 and attained Samadhi in 1865. He was contemporary of Shirdi Baba and Akkalkot Swami Maharaj.

Agriculture University - The vast campus of the university is situated on the western side of the city. Those driving in from Dharwad side have to pass by the campus.

Jami Masjid, Raichur - This is the largest mosque in Raichur city.

Ek-Minar-ki-Masjid - An mosque with one minar built in the Persian style during Bahamani rule. The minar is 13' in diameter and 65' high. It has a winding staircase leading to its top. In April 2016 during a road widening operation an adjoining building was demolished, the damaged walls revealed pillars and beams with images of Hindu Gods and motifs. Samples of the ancient rubble were sent for examination and confirmed to be rubble from destroyed Hindu temples of Hoysala period.

Maliabad fort - This fort situated 6 kilometers south of Rayachooru dates back to Kakatiyan times. It was known as Mallayyabanda which later transformed to Maliabad when Muslim rulers took over. The fort is built on a rocky hillock and the adjoining plain land. The fort has two rings of fortification, the outer ring is relatively older while the inner ring is built of finely dressed massive granite blocks. On the hillock is said to be a Kannada inscription dating back to Hoysala or Vijayanagara times. Within the fort is a Goshala which produces medicine out of Gomutra (cow's urine) which is used for treating many diseases.

Raichur Thermal Power Station - As you drive from Raichur to river Krishna, you will see the massive cooling towers and chimneys of RTPS. River Krishna supplies water to this is a coal powered electricity generation plant. The plant is operated by the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited. The power station consisting of 8 power generating units was commissioned between 1985 and 2010. About 40% of power generated in Karantaka is contributed by RTPS. Tourists might be allowed into the plant but high level permissions would be required. The township for RTPS employees is called Shaktinagar.

Sri Sugureshwara Temple, Devsugur - is an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra. Locally the god is called by the name Sugureshwara, This spot is about 20 kilometers north of Raichur and right besides RTPS township.

Naradagadde - is an island in river Krishna situated about 38 kilometers northeast of Raichur city. Legend says that Lord Narada performed penance on this island. The nearest land villages are Boodidipadu (Budidipad) which is in Karnataka state and Nettempadu which is on Telangana side. On the eastern tip of the island is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. On the western side of Naradagadde is another island called Kurugadde.

Kurugadde - is an island in river Krishna situated about 35 kilometers northeast of Raichur city. This island is about 5.7 kilometers long and half kilometer at its widest point. On the island is a village called Kuruvapura and agricultural plots. On the western tip of the island is a temple dedicated to Sripada Srivallabha. The nearest land village is Atkur.

Manvi fort - is on the smallest of three hillocks situated south of Manvi town. The fort is in complete ruins. Within the fort is a Dargah. On the largest of the hillocks, is an ancient shrine dedicated to Sri Mallikarjuna. Also Manvi is known for numerous fairs held at temples deducted to Hindu gods like Kareyamma, Yellamma, Mahamalleshappa and Sanjeevaraya.

Mahalaxmi Devastana and Markandeshwara Gudi - these two temples are at Kallur village. The village is situated to a boulder heap hillock which is an identified prehistoric site. The town was fortified long time back but hardly anything remains of the fort today. The village is popular for Sri Mahalaxmi Devastana. Though not popular Sri Markandeshwara Gudi is an ancient temple probably built during Chalukyan times.

Panchamukhi Anjaneya Devasthana - is an ancient cave shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman situated near Gandhal village, about 40 kms south of Raichur. Gandhal village is situated close to left bank of river Tungabhadra and on the opposite bank is popular Hindu pilgrim center Mantralaya - the resting place of Madhwa saint Sri Raghavendra. Road distance between Gandhal and Mantralaya is about 20 kilometers. Legend says that Sri performed a 12 year penance at the cave, as a result Lord Hanuman appeared in the form with five heads. Hence the name Pancha-Mukhi Anjaneya. There are two routes to reach Gandhal- 1. Raichur to Gandhal and 2. Manvi - Neermanvi - Gorbal - Gandhal (about 12 kms on Manvi to Raichur road, turn right towards Gorbal).

Ashoka's edict of Maski - Of the nine edicts discovered in Karnataka one is located on the slopes of Maski hill. The edict is a protected monument but tourists are allowed to see the site. Maski hill is an identified prehistoric site. In August 2012, few human skeletons were discovered along with ancient pottery. The ancient graveyard was found close to the stone inscription of Ashoka. Also, close to the edict, just behind Devanam Priya College is a mound with stone etchings of animals is believed to be of Chola period.

Mudgal fort - Built on a rock hill and the neighboring plain land, Mudgal fort was a formidable fort during its hey days. Mudgal was an outpost of Kakatiya kingdom in XIV Century. In the XVI Century it was part of Vijayanagara empire before Bahamanis took over. The fort has two entrances-one in north and the other on the eastern side. The southern part of the fort is defended naturally by hillocks and steep rock faces while a moat runs along the northern perimeter. Bastions and turrets are strategically placed on the rampart walls. On the rocky hillock is a tower known as Bala Hisar, probably used as a command post. Near the Bala Hisar is a rock shelter in which prehistoric paintings are found - this is evidence that Mudgal's history goes back to Neolithic times. Also, in the shelter is a rare rock which sounds like a metallic bell. In fact within the fort are two bell rocks. Coming back to the fort, there are at least 5 to 6 slabs with Kannada inscription probably of Vijayanagara times. Its a historic spot one must see.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Mudgal - The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church is said to be established during the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah. The original structure was built around 1557; later it was demolished and the present day building was built in 1971.

Piklihala - is a village 5 kilometers south of Mudgal. Piklihala is an identified Neolithic site.

Jaladurga fort - is one of the few island forts of Karnataka. The fort stands on the western tip of a 8 km long island created by river Krishna. The fort is surrounded by chasms and its natural defense is water hence the name Jaladurga. Close by, downstream is another island with a small fort on it.

Mukkunda fort - is in Mukkunda village situated on left bank of river Tungabhadra in Sindhanur taluk. It is about 30 kms from Sindhanur. In this village are three historical monuments - a small fort atop a rock formation and ancient temples dedicated to Murari, Somalingeshwara and Bheeralingeshwara. The fort could be built during 16th Century CE. Also, there is Dargah of Gaddikhader Wali situated on the island in Tungabhadra.

Roudkunda fort - is in Roudkunda village in Sindhanur taluk. To the west of the village are two hillocks which are identified as Neolithic sites. Artifacts were found on the hills and the valley between them. On one of the hillocks is a small fort built during 16th century CE.

Devadurga fort - is situated in the village of the same name. The fort main fort is on a hillock besides the village and within the village is a smaller fort like structure housing a palace within. Devadurga village is known for availability of talc.

Kotekal fort - is an ancient fort situated on a hillock close to Kotekal village. The fort ruins are visible from the state highway connecting Raichur and Lingsugur.

Tryambakeshwara temple of Kavital - Kavital is a small village situated off Raichur - Lingsugur highway. The ancient temple probably of Chalukyan times is known for its deity - three Lingas on one pedestal - it is said this is the only one such shrine in India.

Watagal hill - is a huge naturally formed boulder heap. In the aerial view it looks a tadpole. The name Watagal could be derived by the Kannada phrase Wattida Kallu which means heap of stones. Ont this hill are ruins of a fort. Also the hill is identified as a prehistoric archaeological site. This hill is situated off Raichur - Lingsugur highway.

Mudval - is a village 8 kilometers north of Maski. It is an identified Neolithic site where gold crushers and iron slag was found.

Gurugunta - is a town in Lingsugur taluk known for Gurugunta Samsthana of Naiks who were related to rulers of Kankagiri and Shorapur.

Kadlur - is considered as a sacred place. The village is situated close to Krishna-Bhima Sangama. According to an inscription found at Chikalparvi, Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara had visited this pilgrim center.

You may also want to learn about other districts of Karnataka-

Mar 18, 2017

ಭುವನಗಿರಿ ಕೋಟೆ ~ Bhuvanagiri fort ~ Bhongir hill

ಭುವನಗಿರಿ ಕೋಟೆ - (ಭೊಂಗಿರ್ ಕೋಟೆ)

ನಾನು ಕೆಲಸಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರಿದಾಗಿಂದ, ಮೊದಲಿನಂತೆ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಸ್ಥಳಗಳನ್ನಾಗಲಿ, ಅಥವಾ ಯಾವದೇ ಪ್ರವಾಸ ಮಾಡುವದಕ್ಕಾಗಲಿ ಸಮಯ ಇಲ್ಲದಂತಾಗಿದೆ. ೩- ೪ ತಿಂಗಳುಗಳಿಂದ ಭುವನಗಿರಿ ಕೋಟೆ ನೋಡೋಕೆ ಹೋಗೋಣ ಅಂತ ಪ್ಲಾನ್ ಮಾಡಿ, ಕೆಲಸದ ಒತ್ತಡದಿಂದ ಮುಂದೆ ಹಾಕುತ್ತ ಬಂದಿದ್ದಾಯಿತು. ಆದರೆ ಹೋಗಲು ಆಗಿದ್ದೆ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಜನೆವರಿ ೨೨ ಭಾನುವಾರ ರಜೆ ದಿನ, ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ ಎದ್ದು ಚಹಾ ಕುಡಿಯುತ್ತ ನಾನು ಫೇಸಬುಕ್ ನೋಡ್ತಾ ಇದ್ದೆ. ಸಿದ್ಧಿಯ ಜೊತೆ ಆಫೀಸನಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡುವರೊಬ್ಬರು ತಮ್ಮ ಫೋಟೋವನ್ನು ಅಪ್ಲೋಡ್ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದರು. ಅದು ಭುವನಗಿರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹಿಡಿದಿದ್ದ ಫೋಟೋ. ನಾನು ಅದನ್ನು ಸಿದ್ದಿಗೆ ತೋರಿಸಿ ಹೇಳಿದೆ, ನಿಮ್ಮ ಆಫೀಸಿನವರು ಭುವನಗಿರಿಗೆ ನಿನ್ನೆ ಹೋಗಿದ್ರಂತೆ ನೋಡಿ ಎಂದೆ. ಅವರು ನೋಡಿ ನಾವು ಹೋಗಲೇ ಬೇಕು ತುಂಬಾ ದಿನದಿಂದ ಕೇವಲ ಪ್ಲಾನ್ ಮಾಡೋದೇ ಆಯಿತು ಎಂದು, ಅದೇ ಮಧ್ಯಾಹ್ನ ಹೋಗುವದಾಗಿ ಇಬ್ಬರು ನಿರ್ಧರಿಸಿದೆವು.

ನಲಗೊಂಡ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಯ ಭುವನಗಿರಿಯು ಹೈದೆರಾಬಾದಿನಿಂದ ವಾರಂಗಲ್ ಗೆ ಹೋಗುವ ದಾರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಮಾರು  ೬೦ಕಿಮೀ ಅಂತರದಲ್ಲಿ ಭುವನಗಿರಿ ಇರುವದು. ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ವಾರಂಗಲ್ ಗೆ ೮೦ ಕಿಮೀ ಮುಂದೆ ಹೋಗಬೇಕು. ಭುವನಗಿರಿ ಹೆಸರು ನಿಜಾಮರ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಭೊಂಗಿರ್ ಎಂತಲೂ ಮಾರ್ಪಟ್ಟಿದೆ. ಭುವನಗಿರಿ ಹೆಸರಿಗೆ ತಕ್ಕ ಹಾಗೆ ಭೂಮಿಯಿಂದ ಆಕಾಶಕ್ಕೆ ಚುಂಬಿಸುವಂತೆ ಎದ್ದುನಿಂತ ಆ ಏಕಶಿಲಾ ಗಿರಿಯು ಎಲ್ಲರ ಮನಸ್ಸನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದ ತಕ್ಷಣ ಸೆಳೆಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಇನ್ನು ಭೊಂಗಿರನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥೈಸುವದು ನನ್ನಿಂದ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಭವಿಷ್ಯ, ಅದನ್ನು ಆ ರೀತಿ ಕರೆಯೋ ಜನರು ಕೂಡ ಅದನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥೈಸಲಾರರು!

ಜನೇವರಿ ೨೨, ೨೦೧೭ -

ಅಂದು ಮಧ್ಯಾಹ್ನ ಸುಮಾರು ೨.೩೦ ಕ್ಕೆ ನಾವು ಹೈದೆರಾಬಾದಿನಿಂದ ಭುವನಗಿರಿಯ ಕಡೆ ಹೊರಟೆವು. ನನಗೆ ಭುವನಗಿರಿಯು ಕೇವಲ ೧.೩೦ ನಿಮಿಷಗಳ ಪ್ರಯಾಣ ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿದುದ್ದರಿಂದ ಹಾಗೂ ಪ್ರತಿದಿನವೂ ಕ್ಯಾಬ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಆಫೀಸ್ ಗೆ  ಹೋಗಿ ರೂಢಿ ಆಗಿರುವದಿಂದಲೋ ಏನೋ ಟ್ರಾವೆಲ್ ಸಿಕ್ಕ್ನೆಸ್ಸ್ ನ ಯಾವುದೇ ಅಂಶಗಳು ಕಾಣಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಆರಾಮವಾಗೇ ಹೊರಟೆವು.ಸುಮಾರು ೫೫ ಕಿಮೀ ಹೋದ ನಂತರ ಒಂದು ಪೆಟ್ರೋಲ್ ಬಂಕನಲ್ಲಿ ಪೆಟ್ರೋಲ್ ಹಾಕಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಕಾರಿನ ಗ್ಲಾಸ್ ತೊಳೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಮುಂದೆ ನಡೆದೆವು. ಸ್ವಲ್ಪವೇ ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿ ಟೋಲ್ ನಾಕ ಬಂದಿತು. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಒಬ್ಬರನ್ನು ವಿಚಾರಿಸಿದಾಗ ಅವರು ಇನ್ನು ೨೦-೨೫ ಕಿಮೀ ದೂರ ಹೋಗಬೇಕೆಂದರು. ನನಗೆ ಸಂದೇಹ ಬಂತು, ಇನ್ನು ಅಷ್ಟು ದೂರ ಹೋಗಬೇಕಲ್ಲ ಅನ್ನೋ ಅಸಮಾಧಾನನು ಹುಟ್ಟಿತು. ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ೧೦೦ ಮೀ ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಒಂದು ಮೈಲಿಗಲ್ಲು ಭೊಂಗಿರ್ ೪ ಕಿಮೀ ಎಂದು ತೋರಿಸುತಿತ್ತು. ಆಗ ನಾನು ಸಿದ್ದಿಗೆ ಹೇಳಿದೆ ಮೈಲಿಗಲ್ಲು ಕೇವಲ ೪ ಮೀ ತೋರಿಸ್ತಿದೆ ಅಂತ. ಅವರು ಹೇಳಿದ್ದು ಬಹುಶ ಅದು ೧೪ ಇದ್ದಿರಬಹುದು ೧ ಅಳಿಸಿ ಹೋಗಿ ಕೇವಲ ೪ ಉಳಿದಿರಬಹುದು ಎಂದರು. ಇದನ್ನೇ ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತ ಹೋಗಬೇಕಾದರೆ ಮುಂದೆ ಭೊಂಗಿರ್ ಎಂಬ ಹೆಸರಿನ ಫಲಕದ ಜೊತೆ ಊರೂ ಕೂಡ ಕಂಡಿತು. ನಮ್ಮಿಬ್ಬರಿಗೂ ತುಂಬಾ ಸಂತೋಷವಾಯಿತು. ಕಾರು ಹೈವೇ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಊರಿಗೆ ಹೋಗುವ ದಾರಿ ಹಿಡಿಯಿತು.

​ಊರೊಳಗೆ ಪ್ರವೇಶಿಸಿದ ನಂತರ ಒಂದು ಪುಟ್ಟ ಅಂಗಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಚಾರಿಸಿದಾಗ ಅವರು ಕೋಟೆಗೆ ಹೋಗುವ ದಾರಿಯನ್ನು ಸೂಚಿಸಿದರು. ಆ ದಾರಿಯಲ್ಲೇ ಹೊರಟೆವು ತುಂಬಾ ಇಕ್ಕಟ್ಟಾದ ರಸ್ತೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿತು. ಆದರೆ ರಸ್ತೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಚನ್ನಾಗೇ ಇತ್ತು. ಹಾಗೆ ೫ ನಿಮಿಷಗಳ ಡ್ರೈವ್ ಆದನಂತರ ದೊಡ್ಡ ರಸ್ತೆಯನ್ನು ಸೇರಿದೆವು. ಅದು ಹೈವೇದಿಂದ ನೇರವಾಗಿ ಭುವನಗಿರಿಯ ಬೆಟ್ಟವನ್ನು ತಲುಪುವ ರಸ್ತೆಯಾಗಿತ್ತು. ನಾವು ಹಾಗೆ ಬಂದಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಬಹುಶ ನಮಗೆ ಇನ್ನು ಸರಳವಾಗ್ತಿತ್ತೇನೋ. ಅಂತೂ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಹತ್ತಿರ ಬಂದು ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ನನಗೆ ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯವಾಯಿತು! ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಬೆಟ್ಟವು ನಾನು ಮೊದಲೇ ತಿಳಿಸಿರುವಂತೆ ಏಕಶಿಲಾ ೧೬೦ಮೀ ಎತ್ತರದ ಗುಡ್ಡ.ಅದರ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೋಟೆ ಇದೆ.ಅಬ್ಬಾ! ನಾನು ಕೆಳಗೆ ನಿಂತುಕೊಂಡೆ ಸುಸ್ತಾದೆ! ಸಿದ್ದಿಗೆ ಕೇಳಿದೆ ಇದನ್ನ ಹೆಂಗೆ ಹತ್ತೋದು? ಅಂತ. ಏನಾಗಲ್ಲ ಬಾ ಆರಾಮಾಗೆ ಹತ್ತಬಹುದು ಅಂತ ಹೇಳಿ ಟಿಕೆಟ್ ತೆಗೆದುಕೋ ಎಂದು ತಾವು ಕ್ಯಾಮೆರಾ ಸಜ್ಜು ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವದರಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರತರಾದರು. ನಾನು ಟಿಕೆಟ್ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಹೋಗುತ್ತಿರುವಾಗ ಒಬ್ಬ ಹಣ್ಣು ಮಾರುವ ಹೆಂಗಸು ಹಣ್ಣು ತಗೋಳಿ ಮೇಡಂ ಮೇಲೆ ಏನು ಸಿಗಲ್ಲ ಅಂತ ಕೂಗಿದಳು. ನಾನು ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಹತ್ರ ಹೋಗಿ ಮೇಲೆ ಏನು ಸಿಗಲ್ವಂತೆ ಏನಾದ್ರು ತಗೋಳಿ ಅಂತ ಹೇಳಿದೆ. ಆಯಿತು ಎಂದು ಅವರು ಕಿರಾಣಿ ಅಂಗಡಿಯ ಕಡೆ ನಡೆದರು. ನಾನು ಟಿಕೆಟ್ ತಗೊಂಡೆ. ಅವರು ೨೫೦ಎಂಎಲ್ ನ ಸ್ಪ್ರೈಟ್ ೨ ಬಾಟಲಿ ಹಿಡಿದುಕೊಂಡು ಬಂದರು. ಇಷ್ಟು ದೊಡ್ಡ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಹತ್ತೋದಿದೆ ಮಧ್ಯಾಹ್ನ ಊಟ ಬೇರೆ ಮಾಡಿಲ್ಲ ಇವರೇನು ಬರಿ ೨ ಸಣ್ಣ ಬಾಟಲಿ ಕೂಲ್ಡ್ರಿಂಕ್ಸ್ ತರ್ತೀದಾರೆ ಎಂದುಕೊಂಡೆ. ಆಮೇಲೆ ನಂಗೆ ತಿನ್ಲಿಕ್ಕೆ ಏನು ತರ್ಲಿಲ್ವ? ಅಂತ ಕೇಳಿದೆ. ಏನು ಬೇಡ ಬಿಡು ಅಂತ ತಮ್ಮಷ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ತಾವೇ ನಿರ್ಧಾರ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಬಿಟ್ರು. ನಂಗೆ ಬೇಕು ಅಂತ ನಾನು ಹೇಳಿದೆ. ಸರಿ ನೀನೇ ಹೋಗಿ ತಗೋ ಅಂತ ಹೇಳಿದರು. ನಾನು ಹೋಗಿ ಒಂದು ಚಿಪ್ಸ್ ಪ್ಯಾಕೆಟ್ ತಗೊಂಡು ಬಂದೆ. ಆಮೇಲೆ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಏರಲು ಶುರು ಮಾಡಿದೆವು.

ಇನ್ನು ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಕಾಲು ಭಾಗ ಕೂಡ ಏರಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ ನನಗೆ ಸುಸ್ತಾಗಿ ಏದುಸಿರು ಬರಲು ಶುರುವಾಯ್ತು. ಅಲ್ಲಲ್ಲಿ ಜನ ಕುಳಿತು ತಮ್ಮ ದಣಿವು ಆರಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತಿದ್ದರು. ನಾನು ಕುಳಿತುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಹೋದೆ. ಅಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿದ್ದಿ ನೋಡಿ ಕುಳಿತುಕೋಬೇಡ ಬೇಕೆಂದರೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹೊತ್ತು ನಿಂತುಕೊಂಡೆ ದಣಿವು ಆರಿಸಿಕೋ. ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಏರುವಾಗ ಕುಳಿತುಕೊಳ್ಳುವದು ಮಧ್ಯ ನೀರು ಕುಡಿಯೋದು ಸರಿಯಲ್ಲ ಎಂದರು. ಸರಿ ಎಂದು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹೊತ್ತು ನಿಂತಿದ್ದು ಮತ್ತೆ ಏರಲು ಶುರು ಮಾಡಿದೆವು. ನಮ್ಮ ಹಿಂದೆಯೇ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಕಾಲೇಜು ಹುಡುಗರು ಹುಡುಗಿಯರು ಕೂಡ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಏರುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ನನಗೆ ಸಂದೇಹ ಇತ್ತು ಅಲ್ಲೂ ಕೂಡ ಯಾರಾದರೂ ಸಿದ್ಧಿಯನ್ನು ಹೊರದೇಶದವರು(foreigner) ಎಂದುಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ ಎಂದು. ಅದೇ ಆಯಿತು ಆ ಹುಡುಗರು ಸಿದ್ದಿಯ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ನನ್ನು ಕೂಡ ಹೊರದೇಶದವಳು ಎಂದುಕೊಂಡರು. ಚಾರ್ಮಿನಾರ್ ನೋಡಲು ಹೋದಾಗ ಕೂಡ ಇದೆ ರೀತಿ ಆಗಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ಸೆಕ್ಯೂರಿಟಿ ನನ್ನನ್ನೇನೋ ೫ ರೂ ಟಿಕೆಟಿನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಒಳಗೆ ಬಿಡಲು ರೆಡಿ ಆದ. ಆದರೆ ಸಿದ್ಧಿಯನ್ನು foreigner ಎಂದುಕೊಂಡು ೧೦೦ ರೂ ಟಿಕೆಟ್ ತರಬೇಕು ಇಲ್ಲ ಭಾರತದ ಯಾವುದಾದರೂ ಭಾಷೆ ಮಾತಾಡಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿದ. ನಂತರ ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಹಿಂದಿ ಭಾಷೆ ಮಾತನಾಡಿ ಸೆಕ್ಯೂರಿಟಿಯ ಗೇಟ್ ಪರೀಕ್ಷೆ ಪಾಸಾಗಿ ಒಳಗೆ ಬರುವದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಫಲರಾದರು. :)
ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಹತ್ತಲು ಅನುಕೂಲವಾಗಲಿ ಎಂದು ಈಗ ಬೆಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲೇ ಮೆಟ್ಟಿಲುಗಳನ್ನು ಕೊರೆದಿದ್ದರೆ, ಮಧ್ಯ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಮೊದಲಿನ ಮೆಟ್ಟಿಲುಗಳು ಕೂಡ ಇವೆ. ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಏರುವಾಗ ಒಟ್ಟು ೩ ಹೆಬ್ಬಾಗಿಲುಗಳನ್ನು ದಾಟಿದೆವು. ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಂದು ಬಾಗಿಲ ಬಳಿಯೂ ಒಂದು ಇಲ್ಲವೇ ಎರಡು ಬುರ್ಜುಗಳನ್ನು ಕಾಣಬಹುದು.ಎಲ್ಲ ಕೋಟೆಗಳಿಗೂ ಇರುವಂತೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಕೂಡ ಗುಪ್ತ ದ್ವಾರಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿದ್ದರು. ಕೋಟೆ ಕಟ್ಟುವಾಗ ತಮ್ಮ ರಕ್ಷಣೆಯ ಕುರಿತು ಅವರು ಎಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಯೋಚನೆ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದರು ಎಂದು ಈ ಕೋಟೆಯ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸ ನೋಡಿದರೆ ತಿಳಿಯುತ್ತದೆ. ೩ ದ್ವಾರಗಳನ್ನು ದಾಟಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ಒಂದು ಸಮತಟ್ಟಾದ ಜಾಗ ಸಿಗುವದು. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಮಂಟಪ ಹಾಗೂ ೨ ಕೋಣೆಗಳು ಕಂಡವು. ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಅಲ್ಲೇ ಇದ್ದ ಫಿರಂಗಿ ಕಟ್ಟೆಯ ಹತ್ತಿ ಸುತ್ತಲಿನ ಫೋಟೋ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡರು. ಅಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಬಂಡೆಗಳು ಜಾರುಬಂಡೆಗಳ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಜನರನ್ನು ಆಕರ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದವು.

ಅವರು ಈ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೋಟೆ ಕಟ್ಟಿಕೊಂಡು ನೀರಿಗೆಲ್ಲ ಏನು ಮಾಡಬಹುದು ಎಂದು ನಾವು ಯೋಚಿಸಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ನೀರಿನ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆ ಎಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದರೆಂದರೆ ಅವರು ವರ್ಷ ಪೂರ್ತಿ ಮಳೆಯ ನೀರ ಮೇಲೆಯೇ ಅವಲಂಬಿತರಾಗಿದ್ದರು ಎನಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.ಗುಡ್ಡದಲ್ಲೇ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಗೋಡೆ ಕಟ್ಟುವದರ ಮೂಲಕ ತಗ್ಗು ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂಡಗಳನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮಾರ್ಪಡಿಸಿದ್ದರು. ನಾವು ಎನಿಸಿಲ್ಲ ಆದರೆ ಬಹುಶ ೭ಕ್ಕಿಂತಲೂ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ದೊಡ್ಡ ಹೊಂಡಗಳು ಇರಬಹುದು.

ಸಮತಟ್ಟಾದ ಜಾಗದಿಂದ ಇನ್ನು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಮೇಲೆ ಹತ್ತಬೇಕಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಮೆಟ್ಟಿಲುಗಳು ತುಂಬಾ ಚಿಕ್ಕವಾಗಿದ್ದವು. ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹುಷಾರಾಗಿಯೇ ಏರಿದೆವು. ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಅಲ್ಲಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಂತು ಈ ಎಲ್ಲ ಅದ್ಭುತಗಳನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ಕ್ಯಾಮೆರಾದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೆರೆಹಿಡಿಯುತ್ತ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಹತ್ತುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. 

ನಾನು ಕೂಡ ಹಿಂದೆ ಹಿಂದೆಯೇ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಅಂತೂ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ತುದಿ ಮುಟ್ಟಿದೆವು. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ನಾವು ಕಂಡಿದ್ದು ಅರಮನೆಯ ಅವಶೇಷಗಳು, ಫಿರಂಗಿ ಕಟ್ಟೆ, ಹೊಂಡದಿಂದ ನೀರನ್ನು ಸೇದಿ ಅರಮನೆಗೆ ಸಾಗಿಸುವದಕ್ಕಾಗಿಯೇ ಕಟ್ಟಿರುವಂತಹ ಒಂದು ಕಟ್ಟಡಕ್ಕೆ ಹೊಂದಿಕೊಂಡ ಟ್ಯಾಂಕು. ಅಬ್ಬಾ! ಅವರು ಆಗಿನ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲೇ ಇಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಯೋಚನೆ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದರೆ ನಿಜವಾಗಲೂ ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯವಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಅರಮನೆಯ ಹತ್ತಿರದಲ್ಲೇ ಒಂದು ಈಜುಕೊಳ. ನೀರು ಶೇಖರಣೆಗಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಿರುವ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಟ್ಯಾಂಕುಗಳು. ಮೇಲೇಯೂ ಕೂಡ ಒಂದು ದೊಡ್ಡ ಹೋಂಡಾ. ಆ ಹೊಂಡದ ಹೊರಭಾಗದ ಮೇಲೆ ಹನುಮಂತನ ಮೂರ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ಕೆತ್ತಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಇಷ್ಟೆಲ್ಲ ನೋಡುವದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಜೆಯೇ ಆಗಿತ್ತು.

ಮೇಲೆ ಗಾಳಿ ಎಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಜೋರಾಗಿ ಬಿಸುತ್ತಿತ್ತೆಂದರೆ ಮನುಷ್ಯನನ್ನು ಸಹ ಒಂದು ಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಕೆ ತಳ್ಳಿದಂತಹ ಭಾಸವಾಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತು.ನಾನು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಸುತ್ತಾಡಿ ನೋಡಿ ಒಂದು ಜಾಗ ಹಿಡಿದು ಕೂತು ನನ್ನ ಚಿಪ್ಸ್ ಹಾಗೂ ಕೂಲ್ಡ್ರಿಂಕ್ಸ್ ಮುಗಿಸುವದರಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರತಳಾದೆ. ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಇನ್ನು ಚನ್ನಾಗಿ ಜಾಗವನ್ನು ಪರಿಶೀಲಿಸುತ್ತಾ ಕ್ಯಾಮೆರಾದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಇಡೀ ಬೆಟ್ಟವನ್ನೊಮ್ಮೆ ಪ್ರದಕ್ಷಿಣೆ ಹಾಕತೊಡಗಿದರು. ಎಲ್ಲ ತಿರುಗಾಡಿ ಫೋಟೋ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಮುಗಿಸುವಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಜೆ ಸುಮಾರು ೬.೪೫ ಆಗಿತ್ತು. ಸೂರ್ಯಾಸ್ತದ ಫೋಟೋ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಇಳಿದೆವು.ಅಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಪಕ್ಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಸಿಬಿಸಿ ಮಿರ್ಚಿ ಮತ್ತು ಆಲೂ ಬಜ್ಜಿ ಪಾರ್ಸೆಲ್ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡು ತಿನ್ನುತ್ತಾ ಕಾರನ್ನು ಹೈದೆರಾಬಾದ್ ಹೋಗುವ ದಿಕ್ಕಿಗೆ ತಿರುಗಿಸಿದೆವು.ಅಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಮುಳುಗಿ ಕತ್ತಲಾವರಿಸಿತ್ತು.ಬಹುಶ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ತಾಸು ಮೊದಲೇ ನಾವು ಹೋಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಇನ್ನು ಜಾಸ್ತಿ ನೋಡಬಹುದಿತ್ತು. 
ಭುವನಗಿರಿ ಕೋಟೆಯ ಕುರಿತು ಹೇಳಬೇಕಾದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಕೋಟೆಯನ್ನು ೧೦ನೇ ಶತಮಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯರ ರಾಜನಾದ ೬ನೆ ತ್ರಿಭುವನಮಲ್ಲ ವಿಕ್ರಮಾದಿತ್ಯನ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಲಾಯಿತೆಂದು ಅದರ ಮೊದಲ ಹೆಸರು ತ್ರಿಭುವನಗಿರಿ ಎಂದಿತ್ತೆಂದು ಇತಿಹಾಸದ ದಾಖಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿದೆ.

ಅಂತೂ ತುಂಬಾ ದಿನದ ಸಿದ್ದಿಯ ಕನಸು ಫಲಿಸಿತು ಅನ್ನೋ ಸಂತೋಷದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತ ಮರಳಿ ಮನೆಗೆ ನಡೆದೆವು.ಹೈದೆರಾಬಾದ್ ಬರುತ್ತಲೇ ಗೂಗಲ್ ಮ್ಯಾಪ್ ಸಹಾಯ ಪಡೆದು ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗುವುದು ನಮ್ಮ ರೂಢಿ. ಈ ಸಲವೂ ಕೂಡ ಅದನ್ನೇ ಮಾಡಿ ದಾರಿ ತಪ್ಪಿ ಮುಖ್ಯರಸ್ತೆಯನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಗಲ್ಲಿ-ಗಿಲ್ಲಿ ತಿರುಗಿ ಮನೆ ಸೇರುವದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಜೆ ೮.೪೫ ಆಗಿತ್ತು. IT ಕಂಪನಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡುವ ನಮಗೆ ಇದೊಂದು ತರ ಮನಸಿಗೆ ಖುಷಿ ಕೊಡುವ ವಿರಾಮವಾಗಿತ್ತು

Mar 11, 2017

Sri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple, Lepakshi

October 11, 2015
We reached Lepakshi early morning, even before Sun had risen over the horizon. We spent some time marvelling at the colossal Basavanna ~ Nandi. The baby faced squatting Basavanna is facing its lord at Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple, a big Shivalinga sheltered by a seven headed serpent. Its a two minute drive through the narrow streets of Lepakshi to Veerabhadra Swamy temple. Here we are standing in front of  a temple which is known for a hanging pillar, ceiling paintings, designs used for saree borders among other awe inspiring creations.

One look at the temple architecture, one can easily tell its Vijayanagar style. Close to the temple entrance is a government planted board..

Sri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple, Lepakshi
The earliest inscription in the temple is dates Saka 1455 (1533 AD).  as per the tradition, this temple was built by Virupanna who was subordinate officer of Achyutaraya.
The temple is inside two enclosures. There are three entrances to the first enclosure. The entrance to the north is surmounted by a Gopura which is the main entrance. The shrine is situated in the center of the second enclosure, faces the north and consists of Garbhabgriha and Antarala surrounded by a Pradakshina, Mukha Mandapa, a pillared corridor.
At right angle to the Mukha Mandapa is the shrine of Vishnu facing the east. There is a shrine dedicated to Siva under the name Papa Vinaseswara facing the Vishnu shrine and to its south is the Parvati shrine facing the west. In the western wing od Pradakshina surrounding the Garbhagriha and Antarala of the Veerabhadra shrine there are three shrines known respectively as Ramalinga shrine, Bhadrakali shrine and Hanumalinga shrine all facing the east. In the north corner of the Mukha Mandapa there is a Vedi with Navagrahas.
The temple is renowned for its Maha Mandapa which has exquisitely carved pillars with life size figures of Tumbura, Dattatreya, Brahma, Narada, Rambha, Padmini and Nataraja. The paintings in the Maha Mandapa as well as Mukha Mandapa are master pieces of Vijayanagara mural tradition.

This is the second entrance over which there's a Gopura. The space between the outer and inner entrances is quite narrow. The pillar base has made the space even tighter. For some reason there's a wooden pillar rather than a stone pillar. Since the temple is built entirely on a rock, it seems the builders try to squeeze in everything into the limited space.

Once past the second entrance, we step into the pillared hall. Each of the pillars are exquisitely carved and depict various characters from Hindu legends. The pillars around the hall center are much larger and complex in design.. they kind of create a circular feel to the hall center.

Here're two examples of such pillar. If you notice the pillars' base they have curvy edges and seems to be wider at the top. I think the hall center is a stage where dancers performed. The pillars around the stage depict musicians and dancers.Also the hall ceiling is covered with colored paintings. These paintings tell the story of Girija Kalyana i.e. Shiva and Parvati's wedding. These paint used in these art works are made of vegetable colors and minerals. The paintings have survived with little damage by seeping rain water.

Turning our attention back to the pillars, we have here a dancing beauty and Nandi playing Mridanga. There are guides available at the temple who can describe interesting stories out of these sculptures.

Vijayanagara builders had adopted a pillar design which had 8 or 12 square or rectangular faces which carried images of plants, birds, animals, fishes, humans and geometric. I think they weren't simply decorative but it also helped educate people, especially children about fellow living creatures. It was a very simple way to see and learn. Here's one example of a beautiful plant.. probably some type of vine. Among these pillars some where is an owl. Owls are generally considered bad omen yet its is depicted here. Its likely a crow would also be present some where. ...OK, now don't expect to see a sculpture of a mosquito.

Standing at the pillar hall's border. The flight of steps flanked by handsome elephants. The builders left this boulder untouched.. I guess they wanted to give a natural touch besides saving effort in removing it. There's another boulder behind the temple into which Ganesha's idol has been carved.

The temple's innermost part is out of bounds for photography. That's where all the shrines are located. Being covered on all sides the inner temple would be dark if not for the oil lamps and electric lighting. The air inside smells of bats though the place has traffic and rituals are performed daily.

Now are going around the temple; on the right is the inner wall. On the left is a sheltered corridor where pilgrims could camp or rest.

Here, on the right is the south-eastern corner of the temple. Along the rear wall of the temple runs this pillared shelter. Each of the pillar faces carry unique images. Anyone resting here can simple sit and gaze at the beautiful creations. I guess the beauty of Hindu temples have the power to distract a mind from unwanted thoughts. On the left is another temple but I have no idea which god this is dedicated to. And straight ahead is the great seven headed serpent sheltering a Shivalinga seated in its coils.

The serpent is carved out of a rock and the extra rock is left as it is. One its northern face is a set of images - Shivalinga and a spider, Shivalinga and Bedara Kannappa and Shivalinga being showered by an elephant. Together, these images means SriKalaHasti. Sri is spider, Kala is serpent and Hasti is elephant. Srikalahasti is an important holy place dedicated to Lord Shiva which is connected to a disciple Kannappa (member of a hunter tribe). Kannappa was devoted to Lord Shiva and his form of worship was completely unacceptable to people. He would carry water in his mouth, flowers in one hand and meat in the other. He would spit out water onto the Linga (normally people bring water in a clean vessel or a pot) then he would offer flowers and meat. His every action was considered unholy.. Once while worshipping, Kannappa notices a pair of eye s on the Shivalinga. He's very happy that his Lord is pleased with him. Then suddenly one of the eyes starts bleeding. Kannappa unable to bear to see his Lord suffer, places a toe over the eye to stop the blood flow, gouges out his own eye and puts it over the bleeding eye. Now his lord's eyes are fine. So Kannappa is looking at his lord with his remaining eye. After a while the other eye on the Linga starts bleeding. Again Kannappa gouges out his remaining eye and offers it his Lord. At that point Lord Shiva appears and heals Kannappa's wounds and restores his vision. There are different end to the story but the moral is to convey Kannappa's devotion.

The rock also carries an image of a seated Ganapati. A two pillared Mantapa shelters Ganapati from sunlight and rain.

Another view of the pillared shelter. Notice the lintel level - the assembly is pretty complex. The weight of the beams are transferred to the self-supporting columns. And they have remained intact for five centuries! The ancient builders had thorough knowledge of every aspect.. selecting the building site, the building orientation, what type of stones to use, the building design, etc. I'd heard that sculptures used specific stones for male and female gods.

Now we are looking at a wall which has a different kind of story in it. Rather a sad story. The temple was built by two brothers- Viranna and Virupanna. Virupanna who served the king as a treasurer. He was accused by court nobles of drawing funds for temple construction without the king's permission. The nobles also accused him of trying to outshine the king by building a grand temple. The king orders Virupanna to be blinded. Virupanna to prove his innocence, gouges his own eyes and dashes them against this wall. The bloody eyes have left everlasting marks! The guide who narrated this story also told that samples were taken off the wall and proven to be human blood. Well, this is not the first story where a king believed false information and punished an innocent. There's a story about Krishnadevaraya himself punishing his innocent prime minister and his family. The punishment given was same - blinding.

Turning our attention back to the sculptures.. now we are looking at the unfinished Kalyana Mantapa ~ the wedding hall. Like the temple, this wedding was also a grand plan.

Here's one lovely image of cranes bending their necks backwards.. what a graceful stance.On the left are the columns with floral designs - these are the ones which are used for saree borders.

Pillars depicting various Hindu Gods. It's a Hindu belief that a wedding should be conducted in a sanctified place in the presence of the divine. Hence this grand design.

Five headed Vishnu and standing Ganapati.

The multi-pillared structure is Kalyana Mantapa while the taller Mantapa shelters a sculpture of Lord Hanuman. Close to the Hanuman Mantapa, there's a different type of sculpture - a larger than life-size human foot-print. 
During an earlier visit, the guide had mentioned this foot-print to be of a legendary character. Probably Hanuman. Whoever it's connected to, I'm not sure why there's only one.

One more surprise. Palettes carved in stone. These could have been used to mix colors for the ceiling paintings. The palettes has 10 equal pockets around the central pocket. The overall diameter is approximately 2½ feet. I believe these are color palettes but our guide told us they were used as food plates - rice is served in the center while the surrounding pockets were for side dishes. Hard to accept them as food plates but can't reject it altogether.

Two more palettes here, that makes it five in all. One of the palettes here has an inscription. The script seems to be Telugu.In the background is a pillared hall probably a lodge for travelling pilgrims.

The tree seen here is a Frangipani. Somehow Vijayanagara temples seem to have Frangipanis.. I remember seeing them in Hampi and Anegundi too. One thing I know.. Frangipanis grow well on granite hills.. so wondering if that's the connection between these granite block structures and the lovely plant.

There's a lot more in this temple than what I've managed to show and tell. Between the inner wall and the outer wall on the eastern side is an open space with lot of inscriptions on the floor and also on the walls. Instead of recording the message on slabs, the inscribers have chosen the rock-bed and walls for a reason. Slabs can be displaced easily but not walls and floor.

Mar 4, 2017

Basavanna Temple, Lepakshi

October 11, 2015
This was probably my fourth visit to Lepakshi. We were travelling from Bengaluru to Hyderabad; our journey had started early morning and we'd reached Lepakshi by 6-30. Here we are looking at the great Basavanna in the first light of the day.

A small board planted here described this statue as follows-

Basavanna Temple, Lepakshi

The gigantic bull in couchant posture is a grand cut out sculpture of a huge granite rock. This monolitic sculpture is a unique example of its kind in the country. It faces west and looking towards the Nagalinga located behind the Veerabhadra temple. It is ten meters in length and six meters in height. It is decorated with a necklace, muvvahara and hara of bells and has short horns.

The massiveness in size has not been secured at the expense of artistic beauty. The bull is depicted in the characteristic pose of Nandi. It is noticeable that the head is held aloft at a higher angle than usual.

Consequently, the expression of submission which is typical of Nandi before Siva, is conspicuous by its absence here. From the standpoint of proper proportion in the formation of various limbs and excellent finish secured in the workmanship, this Nandi is an excellent piece of the Vijayanagara period.

Vijayanagara empire existed between 1336 CE and 1646 CE. While the empire was ruled from its capital Hampi, in the great battle of 1565 at Talikoti, Vijayanagara army was defeated and Hampi was ransacked. The empire somehow survived with the its capital at Penukonda. During this time, the rulers built lot of temples in the surrounding places. Some of the places where temples have survived to this day.. Penukonda hill, Lepakshi, Gudibanda, and Gummanayakana. There can be other spots as well. So going by the available information, I'm guessing this Basavanna to be created around 1580 CE.
Legend says that Basavanna statues were always carved in single days i.e. the sculpture team had only one day to actually carve it out. The team would begin work at dawn and by dusk has to end the work. As I go around the Basavanna, it is evident that the proportion have been maintained well. One characteristic of this Basavanna is- this depicts a young bull.

Among the decorative items is Kirthimukha which appears on both sides of the body. Also seen here is a portion of the bell-necklace which goes around the neck. Check out the detailing of the necklace.. individual links have been carved out so carefully.

Where there's a Basavanna, there has to be a Shivalinga. This Basava too is facing its Lord which is 358 meters away within the walls of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple.

Here's the Shivalinga seated on the coils and sheltered by the hood of a five head serpent.

Within sight of Basavanna is this rock formation carrying quarry activity signs. These ricks were being sized down for some building nearby before being abandoned.

On another rock within sight are sets of lines. This could be a sculpture's diary showing the number of days worked. So it seems that the concept of daily wages existed back then.

We move on towards Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple.