August 15, 2018
Having covered the dozen odd temples and the well in this complex, lets take closer look at some of the sculptures of the main temple starting with a column embedded into a wall. Simply marvelous design.. what kind of a mind could imagine such shapes and produce them as well. Wondering if they were humans. Or has man degraded with passage of time?
Different view of the above. Perfect lines, perfect angles and graceful curves.. repetitions are exactly same, no difference at all.
Here's a comparison of two contrasting forms of artwork - while one is full of curves and bumps, the other is lines and angles. Chalukyan sculptors were equally comfortable with both types. Not sure if sculptors specialized in one type though. This ferocious looking face is known as Keerthimukha. The mural dropping from the head is perfectly symmetrical. The curvy portions are very detailed, every little bump is similar. This temple has atleast two dozen Keerthimukha and they are exactly same. Talking about the pillar, I tend to think of a machined component. This pillar design is seriously captivating. There are two projections in this pillar, wondering what thy are for. There are hundreds of such cubical projections around this temple.
Here we have a third form of artwork.. combination of curves and lines.This is one of the best pillar designs I've ever seen. Personally I think, Chalukyan temples demonstrate better designs compared to Hoysala and Vijayanagara. Need to compare Kadamba and Chalkyan art some time.
These two blocks are pillar bases positioned atop a wall. Miniature pillars on a pillar base. On the rim of the seating platform are miniature Keerthimukha
Keerthimukha enclosed in a triangle. This is inside the main temple, on the ceiling, positioned at the four corners of square base of a circular dome. You can see the dome in part-1 of this article.
Back to the temple exterior, close to the roof is this handsome sculpture consisting of contrasting features.. ferocious face and the peaceful lotus. I think Keerthimukha are like Drishti Gombe.. to keep protect the temple from evil eyes.
Yet another form of Keerthimukha on the walls. This is damaged, parts of the jaw has chipped away. The popping eye depicts the heights of anger.
If I'm not mistaken this too is called Keerthimukha. An imaginary creature with a long tongue and strong set of teeth. Going by the teeth, this creature must be herbivorous. This type of face is also seen where water flows out such as Garbhagudi drain and rooftop rainwater outlets.
At one of the smaller temples, noticed these grooves and rust marks on floor slabs. Its known that Chalukyan builders did use steel strips to bind blocks in certain situations. I remember seeing such strips at Malgitti Shivalaya in Badami.