Nov 12, 2012

Neglected Past- Temples of North Karnataka, Gadag



My host state- Karnataka. I love every part of it because, I was born in Karavali area (coast), brought up, educated, worked and living in the cities of Bayaluseeme (southern plains of Deccan plateau) and have visited and trekked the Malenadu (hilly reagion- parts of Sahyadris). Good people, great food and fun places make my state Incredible! But, when it comes to development it is very evident that most of the northern part of the state is very much neglected. So, protecting the past in this area is a far away thing.

Well, this year too my Himalayas plan got busted because of my USA trip :( So, planned something local and per my parents' wish that got delayed. I am frustrated a bit. You know? I love my couch ... I don't like it being used too much. So, I went on half-a-day excursions ... and stayed with parents rest of the day. My first such destination was Gadag- the birthplace of first co-operative society in Asia.


Gadag has two architectural beauties from the past- Trikuteshwara temple and Veera Narayana Temple. The temples date back to the period of Kalyani (or Western) Chalukyas in 11th and 12th century. This architecture is identified by the massive pillars which are ornate with intricate carvings. In the picture you can see the intricacy of the work. 3-dimentional! It looks like a lace art in stone!

I started from Hubli, a major commercial city of Karnataka which is 60KM from Gadag. There are frequent nonstop buses from Hubli to Gadag. The journey takes about an hour. I got into one of these non-stop buses. I tried to get info about the temples from a kind lady seated beside me. She told me to take tum tum instead of autorikshaw. This tum tum is a large autorikshaw which is altered to fit around 12 passengers and works out cheaper. Interesting name though :) I got off at a bus top which was just 0.5km from the beautiful Trikuteshwara temple.

The Trikuteshwara temple is the most ornate one. It was designed by then great architect Amarshilpi JakanachariTri (three) kuta (group), means group of three shrines, is one of the temple architecture styles adapted by Kalyani Chalukyas. Kalyani Chalukya architecture is a variant of Dravidian architecture. The super-structures  (gopura) over the main shrine are shorter compared to the nagara (north Indian) style. Trikuteshwara temple houses a main shrine where three shivalingas representing Bramha, Vishnu and Maheshwara. The main shrine and the circumambulatory passage are very ornate with intricate carvings. Then there are two more shrines of Bramha and Suryanarayana. Both were closed during my visit. But I could see a huge Nandi and numerous pillars on the other side of the door.


Outside walls of the shrines are ornate with floral motifs, images of gods and goddesses, celestial beings, horses and elephants. The above panel has Parvati with her two sons Ganesha and Kartikeya. The Saraswati temple here is the most ornate one. The massive pillars and the doorway to the shrine are profusely decorated and the image of Saraswati is exquisite. The shrine was vandalized and so is not functional.

Though Trikuteshwar temple is declared as a protected monument by ASI there is hardly any protection. It doesn't seem to be cleaned and a lot of encroachment can be seen. There were clothes washed and put for drying right inside the complex. Youngsters sit in groups to play cards.

Then I proceeded to Veera Narayana Temple which at a KM distance from Trikuteshwara temple. This temple from 12th century is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his warrior form. The deity is an  imposing sculpture in standing form. He is wearing veera-gacche (dhoti worn in the style as to go for war). The temple is functional and is very popular pilgrim center. When I was here the priest was almost closing the doors in the afternoon. I asked him to give me few minutes as I had traveled a great distance to see this temple. He gladly obliged.

This temple is also the place where then great poet Kumarvyasa wrote his version of Mahabharatha. Inside the mahamantapa (hall) here is an ornate pillar which is named after him.

This temple complex has three different architectural components. The high gopua at the entrance is Vijayanagara style. The Garuda sthambha in the complex is Hoysala style. And the temple with large hall and shorter gopura of the shrine are Chalukya ekakuta style.

Unfortunately, this temple has undergone too much of cosmetic changes. The whole temple is brushed with thick layers of yellow and blue paint. In the complex one could see some patches of stone carvings on the walls in the original form. It is a protected monument and I wonder how anybody allowed to paint the ancient stone structure! It looks like temple from last century.

I walked up to the bus stand to take a bus back to Hubli. A short trip to Chalukya Land was very refreshing.
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Click HERE to read more articles on Ancient Temples of Karnataka.

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

29 comments:

  1. Well written. Dint know about the temples of Gadag.
    Must visit.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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    1. Thanks Niranjan. Yeah, there are many other temples nearby too.

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  2. I was there sometime back, a great place to visit, not frequented by tourists and still has an untouched village charm. Thanks for these lovely pics.

    Have a great, happy and safe Diwali Kusum with all your loved ones! :)

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    1. Thank you Indrani :) Glad to know there are people who have visited this place.

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  3. What an amazing place and wonderful captures, and fascinating history, Kusum! Thank you for sharing your world with us!! May you and your family have a very Happy Diwali!!

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  4. On my 'to go' list now :)
    Beautiful pictures and description.
    Unfortunately ASI's protection is harmful rather than preserving the heritage. They have rebuilt fort walls in Maharashtra with bricks and whitewashed them!!!

    Shubh Deepavali to you and yours!

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    1. :) Not only Gadag, but, there are few more places with 50KM distance where you can find these amazing Kalyani Chalukyan temples. Yes, ASI is allowing these temples to be white washed or painted. I visited another Chalukyan temple yesterday near Dharawad and see the Gopura painted with rainbow of colors. Sad!

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  5. Great temple. I had been here in 2006...Great history too with being the place where Kumara Vyasa wrote the Kannada version of Mahabharatha

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    1. Yes it is! I wish these temples were maintained well.

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  6. great photos and info that go with them.. thanks for sharing. I so admire the great details of these buildings.

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    1. Thank you. Yeah the stone carving are really wonderful!

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  7. happy Diwali to you...

    this is a monumental post by the way...

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    1. Thank you Deeps! Happy Deepavali to you too :)

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  8. Thanks for giving us some background information to these temples. I find the carvings just unbelievable works of art. I cannot imagine just how long these must have taken.

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    1. Thank you Fun60! Welcome to my blog. Yes, these temples took generations to complete. Those days Kings got these temples built not only for religious reasons but, to give employment to the people and then these structures stood as symbols of power and wealth of the Kingdom.

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  9. What fabulous shots of the ancient stonework and carvings!

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  10. Calling by from Our World Tuesday, I enjoyed sharing your world here with you today. Your photos are very interesting.

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    1. Welcome to my blog Lindy! I am glad you enjoyd my bit of world. Thank you for dropping by :)

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  11. nice write up. Better luck with himalayas next time

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  12. love that star shaped base architecture

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    1. Welcome back Sneo! :) Yeah, the start shaped base gives uniqueness to the structure.

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  13. loved this post...happy diwali

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    1. Thank you Ashok. Happy Deepavali to you too!

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  14. What an incredible place and history, excellent shots.

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    1. Thank you for visiting Al. Yes, it is an incredible place :)

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  15. Hi Kusum,
    I'll be travelling to Gadag next weekend so can you please guide me on what to see, as i'll be spending few hours leasure time in Gadag, i was thinking of Lakkundi or temples in Gadag. I'm more interested in temples with original stone carvings and not that of painted and refurbished ones. Please mail me the photos sandeep.yc@gmail.com
    Regards,
    Sandeepyc.blogspot.in

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