Oct 12, 2019

Kalleshwara Devasthana, Yelebethur

Our day started with a journey from Bangalore to Santhebennur where we saw Ramthirth Pushkarni, Rama Devasthana and Kote Anjaneya Devasthana. Having done with Santhebenur, we headed towards Davangere. The road connecting Santhebennur-Davangere was good, journey was smooth. At Davangere we met Pushpa's friend Saraswati, it was almost lunch time, we chose to have Benne Dosa. Saraswati's neighbor suggested we go to Kottureshwara Benne Dose shop near Bapuji Dental College. Their menu has just two types of dosa, always served hot, excellent taste. As we ate, we convinced Saraswati to join us to see the ancient temple of Yelebethur which is abut 6 kms north of Davangere. At the village, we stopped at a shop to inquire the location of Kalleshwara Devasthana. An elderly person at the shop offered to take us to the temple :) Nothing like a local guide to show us around.

The temple is situated next to a road passing through paddy fields, sugarcane fields, coconut and arecanut gardens. The gate was locked but our host Sri Shivanandayya found a gap in the fence and led us in. Here we are.. the ancient Kalleshwara temple.

The temple doesn't seem to be a protected site. Any maintenance that has happened is due to the village people. The garden surrounding is temple has few sacred trees like Patri, Neem, Sri Gandha, Yekke and there was one Frangipani as well. Going by the architecture of this structure, it must be Chalukyan, probably built any time between XII and XV Century. Kalleshwara is one of the names of Lord Shiva. The name is made of two words- Kallu (stone) and Eshwara.

The temple is rectangular in plan. It has two main parts- the Sabha Mantapa (meeting hall) and Garbhagudi (sanctum). The Sabha Mantapa is a pillared and open space however, the hero-stones and inscription slabs have made the hall semi-closed. Apart from the hero-stones, there are few other sculptures, the most interesting one being the idol of Mahishasuramardhini.

Mahishasuramardhini idol, including its pedestal is about four and half feet tall. The gey-colored stone must be slate. Compared to other sculptures, the idol seems relatively new.

A closer look at it. The eight-armed Durga is in the act of slaying Mahishasura, the demon in the form of a buffalo. Durga has beheaded the buffalo, pulled out the demon and stabbed him in the stomach. This form of Durga is generally known as Mahishasuramardhini.

This temple has about five hero-stones and inscription slabs. The inscription is in Kannada, probably a brief history of this temple and records of grants. Hero-stones, Veeragallu are tribute to warriors who lost their lives in battles or during an act of fighting wild animals.

Image of the warrior engaged with the enemy. Between the panels is a short inscription in Kannada, probably the name of the martyr.

Now we step into the Sabha Mantapa. On its southern side are three hero-stones. Probably they have been fixed here to prevent  sunlight. The sculptures depict battle scenes where warriors lost lives and ascended to the Kailasa, The second panel from the top shows the warrior seated in a Mantapa being lifted by fairies. The top most panel shows the warrior merging with Shiva.

These are typical Chalukyan pillars holding up beams and roof. Its an assembly which is not held by any binding material. The flooring is recently done cement surface.

An idol of a seated Gowri, I think. As you see, pooja is performed every morning by offering fresh flowers.

The spacious Sabha Mantapa. The floor had been washed earlier in the morning. The columns have been vandalized, especially the rectangular faces which normally have inscriptions or a story sculpture or some times left blank.

The Garbhagudi door frame is a grand sculpture. Every layer is unique, floral, geometrical or combination of both. Every layer here starts and ends with a graceful female form.

A closer look at the ten beauties. Wish I'd taken a closer shot.

The interior was cool, one could easily fall asleep here. As I went around Pushpa had shot a video. She and Saraswati parked themselves on a stone bench. Saraswati remarked that the place feels so peaceful, happy that she came along.

The vandalized columns. In spite of all the abuse the structure is standing. That's how ancient builders could build.. strong and stable.

Our host Shivanandayya also found a spot to relax. He seems to be thinking of some upcoming work  at home or fields. As this picture was shot, I noticed the checkered surface of the ceiling. In other Chalukyan temples, one could see sculptures of gods and goddesses in nine panels.

It was time to leave, we got up and walked back along the temple. This sculpture seems to be made around the same time as Durga idol.

This is the Shikhara and Kalsha over the Garbhagudi. A Kirthimukha is also seen up there.

Thanks to Shivanandayya for bringing us and being with us. We dropped him off back at the village and headed back to Davangere. We dropped off Saraswati at her home and continued our journey towards Haveri where we planned to stay overnight. The plan for the morrow was visit few ancient temples between Haveri and Hangal.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Many temples are in ruins, Karnataka govt has no endowment office??? But those temples are peaceful.