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Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Serenity of Galaganatha: Chalukya Splendor on the banks of Tungabhadra

Imagine this. A calm evening of the rainy season. No clouds around. Sun is just about setting. You are standing on the banks of river Tungabhadra, which is not yet at its roaring best as there haven't been enough rains in the season. There is a lone fisherman trying to get the last few scalps of the day so far away from you in the middle of the river that even his presence and his minor movements do not affect the peace that surrounds you. A few parrots fly back home overhead once in a while with their happy chirps. You are staring east. Behind you is an architectural marvel - a temple that is so unique that you can't decide whether to sit and watch the serene flow of the river forever or catch the glimpse of every nook and corner of the intricate beauty of this temple before darkness sets in. You are fighting a battle with the fading light to fill your senses up with these details, but you are also fighting a battle within yourself on whether to capture and hold the beauty of the nature in your senses or to explore this 11th century Kalyani Chalukya splendor. Welcome to Galaganatha.



The Galageshwara Temple at Galaganatha, Haveri district of Karnataka faces east, and oversees the Tungabhadra river, a majestic construction that is to this day, unparalleled in design, highlighted by the spectacular pyramid shaped completion of the main sanctum shrine. This town, known as Palluni before, was named after the presiding deity of this temple, the huge Shiva Linga of Galageshwara. Inscriptions indicate the contributions made by the Chalukya king Vikramaditya, and mentions one Mukhari Brahmayya as a great exponent of music who had mastered 32 ragas. Here are a few visuals. Surreal experience.










Saturday, 27 February 2016

Kalyani Chalukya Splendour: Nagareshwara Temple, Bankapura

The Kalyani Chalukya temple architecture paved way for the even more intricate and beautiful Hoysala architecture. If you want to see how Kalyani Chalukyas have influenced the Hoysalas in this regard, one of the best examples out there is the Nagareshwara Temple at Bankapura, in Haveri district of northern Karnataka.



A couple of angles showing the symmetry of the Nagareshwara Temple


This temple is known to many as "aravattu kambada gudi" (temple of sixty pillars) as it has 60+ huge lathe turned pillars across its main hallway. Exotic carvings in the around the main doorway is one distinct specialty of the Kalyani Chalukyas which the Hoysalas probably did not improve upon. This temple gives you (along with the ones at Lakkundi and Dambala) one of the best visual treats around the main entrance you can witness across temples of Karnataka.


Main entrance of the Nagareshwara Temple

 

Couple of views of the exquisitely lathe-turned pillars that gives the temple its name


The temple, known to be constructed in the early parts of the 12th century by the Kalyani Chalukyas, received support from the Hoysalas as well. Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana conquered Bankapura fort, followed by the Hanagal fort to establish the Hoysala supremacy in the region that was continued by his grandson Veera Ballala II. The temple came under heavy attacks during the reign of the Bahamanis and Adil Shah, but its beauty remains in tact and is now maintained well by the ASI.


An intricately carved domical ceiling


A full view from the higher ground behind the temple


A recent addition - a stone bench carved as a bear!




Tuesday, 16 February 2016

A Tribute in Sanskrit - Lance Naik Hanumanthappa

Here's an attempt at singing praises - of Lord Hanuman, and of the Martyr Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, in two verses of Anushtup with Shleshaartha (multiple meanings for the same verses):



भूमिजायाः रक्षणार्थम् 
सह्य प्रकृतिविषमताम् ।
प्रजासञ्जीवनं कृत्वा
शैलाटः भूषणोऽभवत् ॥


शिवानुगो मृतुञ्जयः
योगिश्शत्रुनिवारकः ।
महाभक्तश्च पुण्यात्मा
हनुमन्नाम चिन्तयेत्॥


Meaning 1:
For the safety of the daughter of the earth (Sita), he endured the difficulties of nature (crossing an ocean, no less). The wanderer of the mountains (of Kishkindha) ensured that the King's family was alive (Lakshmana, through Sanjeevini) and became celebrated (worshiped). Follower of Shiva's lineage, and the one who has overcome death (Hanuman is one of the seven immortals), the Yogi is known to be the remover of all enemies. Also a venerated soul and a great devotee (of Rama), one must always think of the name of Hanuman.

Meaning 2:
For the safety of the daughter of the earth (Bharat Mata), he endured the difficulties of nature (scaling the heights of extreme and cold Siachen Glacier). The wanderer of the mountains (of the Himalayan range) ensured that the citizen of the country could stay alive (in the face of enemy attacks) and hence became celebrated. Follower of Shiva (the martyr was known to be a huge devotee of Shiva) and the one who overcame death (Hanumanthappa's miraculous cheating of death), the Yogi (he was known to practice Yoga regularly) is known to be the remover of all enemies. Also a venerated soul and a great devotee (of the country he served), one must always think of the name of Hanumanthappa.