Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona




Twelfth century of Karnataka is noted for its socioeconomic, cultural and literary revolution. It was called a total revolution which brought in a sea-change in the life of Karnataka. A rare responsibility of leading that revolution fell on the broad and able shoulders of Basavanna. It was not an accident but opportunity, the time had offered to him. Basavanna was known for his humility coupled with introspection and self criticism. The education he had, made him rich not only in Sanskrit and Kannada literatures but also in religions. He was also gifted with a rare quality of creativity and subtle sensitivity. His studious nature with his subtle sensitivity helped him to exploit the rich treasures of both Sanskrit and Kannada literature. He was compassionate and his love of life helped his creative genius to bloom. His creative personality was sensitive to the problems of the Society. As he was destined to be a leader, his creative genius, scholarship and the social status did not make him arrogant. The compassionate heart he had made him become humble and mellowed his personality.

The social and religious conditions of the society and the agony of the oppressed people inspired his creative genius. And he waged a war against untouchability, caste system and inequalities between men and women on the basis of human values.

Like a prophet he visualised a dream of creating a new society. This vision of a new society was based on equality and human dignity. This attracted the imaginations of Mahadeva of Kashmir, Shankara Deva of Afghanisthan, Allamaprabhu of Balligave, Adayya of Sowrashtra, Siddarama of Sholapur and others. They were irresistably drawn towards this visionary of Karnataka. The discussion he had with these people related to the ways and means of probing the secrets of life and exploring the possibilities of establishing a new set of human values. It is here that the creative genius of many began to bloom.

His words were true and warm with love. They had the glow of a new dream. And the people flocked arround him to listen to his words of lore.

What was thrilling about this was that there were washermen, fishermen, cobblers, barbers, tax collectors, doctors, wood cutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, priests and others who belonged to the different stratas of society. Nowhere in the history of literature, we come across with such a rare range of men and women writing Vachanas which had given expression to their dreams of a new society. The creative atmosphere generated by Basavanna inspired even the so called common men like Machaiah, Chowdaiah, Kalavve, Satyakka, Maraiah, Sankavve, Kalakethaiah, Masanaiah, Masanamma, Mahadevi, Akkamma and others. They wrote Vachanas also apart from taking active part in the revolution. Compassionate Basavanna was blessed with simplicity and humility. His scholarship and creative abilities were astonishing. In fact it is rare to find a Vachanakara who does not respect and remember Basavanna in his/her Vachanas.

Basavanna’s achievements are multi-faceted. He is the founder of Vachana tradition which influenced the trends in Kannada literature. Kayaka Siddhanta which was cristalised under his dynamic leadership, even to this day, is a great economic theory based on ethics. The revolutionary ideas of Basavanna which inspired intercaste marriage in the 12th century itself is an idea which can help humanity in eradicating not only untouchability but also the ugly caste system.

Basavanna, Prime Minister of Emperor Bijjala of 12th Century, was a great mystic, treasurer of Lord’s love, social reformer, visionary, rationalist, socialist, advocate of non-violence, promoter of the cause of downtrodden and women, trend setter in Kannada literature, upholder of dignity of labour, and crusader against untouchability and superstition. He declared, ‘Work is bliss’. He struggled to establish a classless and casteless society based on spiritual and moral values. He endeavoured to establish democracy in religion, society and moral values. His multi-dimensional personality is unparalleled in the entire history of the world. He is the Light of the Universe.

Birth :

Basavesvara was born around the year 1131 A.D., on Vaishakha Shuddha Trutiya, the nakshatra being Rohini. Madiraja and Madalambe are the parents of Basaveshwara. They were the devotees of Nandisvara at Bagewadi. Gangambike, the daughter of Baladeva, was married to Basavesvara. Basavesvara by birth was a genuine devotee and a seeker after truth. It was in Kudala Sangama that Basavesvara’s inner self reached realization in full.

Lore of the Saiva Saints like Jedara Dasimayya, Sankara Dasimayya, Revanasiddhesvara, Sakalesa Madarasa and Kondaguli Kesiraja, Nayanars of Tamilnad seem to have impressed the mind of Basavesvara considerably. Such of the Saints as were worshipping God, without any ostentation, submitting themselves to His will, could easily appeal to Sri Basavesvara because he was a kindred soul.

Work is Worship :

Basavesvara left Kudala Sangama around the year 1152 A.D. Basavesvara first joined Bijjala’s office as a clerk. His sharp intellect very soon drew the attention of the higher officers like Soddala Bacarasa and Bhandari Siddharasa at Mangalawada.

When the senior accountants committed a grave mistake in the accounts, Basavesvara would point out the same to the great joy and surprise of Bhandari Siddarasa who took him to Bijjala and got him appointed as a clerk on a salary of 101 honnes per year.

Very soon, Bhandari position was also offered to Basavesvara as Siddharasa died without an heir, and Basavesvara was found to be the most appropriate choice.

Basavesvara became the Minister to King Bijjala in 1162. Basavesvara’s life at Kalyana since 1154 was most eventful. He wanted to establish a new religion which would elevate the people to heavenly felicity here and in this world itself.

Basava Matha :

Fundamental principles of religion, philosophy and society were discovered and the great Vachana literature took its final shape. Basavesvara was now not only a minister but a central figure and a leader of a great socio-religious movement. As a devotee of high order, as a leader of great movement, Basavesvara was in the heart of the people. The real Bhakti itself was transformed as Mukti. He also established Anubhavamantapa as a symbol of new religion which attracted saints from such far off places like Kashmir, Banaras etc.

The social revolution, however, is the hall-mark of this great movement. The cardinal principles for which Basavesvara stood were of equality, liberty and fraternity. He would never accept any hierarchy in society. To him all were equal irrespective of caste, creed, occupation etc.

Basavesvara attained union with Kudala Sangamesvara in 1167 A.D.


July 1, 2007 Posted by | EKAVI COORG-KODAGU, History of Karnataka | 10 Comments

Shimoga District

Shimoga District


Shimoga District is in southern part of Karnataka state in India. The district has an area of 10,553 km². and a population of 1,642,545 of which 34.76% was urban as of 2001. The town of Shimoga (in Kannada, locally known as Shivamogga) located on the banks of Tunga River is the administrative headquarters of the district and is located about 274 km. from Bangalore. Shimoga city is an important industrial and commercial center now in the state. The Kannada name Shivamogga is derived from Shivamukha, meaning “Face of Shiva”. An alternative etymology is that the name is derived from the term Sihimoge, meaning sweet Pot.





Shimoga district is a part of naturally rich Malnad region of Karnataka. It is also known as “Gateway to Malnad or Malenaada Hebbagilu in Kannada. It is bounded by Haveri to the northeast, Davanagere to the east, Chikmagalur to the southeast, Udupi to the southwest, and Uttara Kannada to the northwest. The Western Ghats or Sahyadri range and the numerous rivers that originate there provide Shimoga with abundant natural beauty. The numerous lakes, ponds and water bodies make it very suitable for agriculture. Shimoga is called the rice bowl of Karnataka. Several rivers originate here including Tunga, Bhadra which are large tributaries of river Krishna , Sharavati, Kumudvati, Varada and others.

Jog Falls - Highest waterfalls in Asia

Jog Falls – Highest waterfalls in Asia



The history of Shimoga is very much the history of Karnataka itself, considering that all the great Kingdoms that came to power here have vied for control of and ruled this land of rich resources. Prior to the begining of the first millenium, Shimoga formed a part of the Mayura empire. The Shatavahana then came to control in central India and Shimoga must have formed one of the southern most provinces of the kingdom. After the fall of the Shatavahana empire around 200 C.E., after a brief interlude of confusion that existed, the area came under the control of the Kadambas of Banavasi around 345 C.E. The Kadambas were the earliest kingdom to give administrative status to Kannada language. Banavasi is just across the border from Shimoga inside Uttara Kannada district. Later the Kadambas became feudatories of the Badami Chalukyas aroud 540 C.E.. Shimoga passed into the hands of the Rashtrakutas in the 8th. century. It was only under the Kalyani Chalukyas who overthrew the Rashtrakutas did Shimoga come into prominance in Southern India. Balligavi in Shimoga district had its greatest and grandest time during there rule. Later in the 12th. century with the weakening of the Kalyani Chalukyas the Hoysalas annexed this area. Shimoga continued to play an important role in the development of Kannada culture and arts during this time. After the fall of the Hoysalas to the invasion of the Khilji dynasty around 1343 C.E. the entire region came under the Vijayanagar Empire without any bloodshed. The Saluva kings of the Vijayanagar empire find their roots in this region. After the defeat of Vijayanagar empire in 1565 C.E. in the battle of Tallikota, Shimoga had one more last surprise in that the local Keladi Nayakas who were originally feudatory of the Vijayanagar empire took control, declared soverignity and ruled mostly as an independend kingdom for about two centuries, often waging wars with the Mysore Kingdom, the Sultans of Bijapur and finally the Maratha. In 1763 they were finally absorbed into the Kingdom of Mysore and remained a part of it till independence from the British.


Shimoga District is mostly dependent on its rich agricultural pastures for income. Paddy is the most commonly grown produce. Tourism to Jog falls, Balligavi, Gudavi, Ikkeri, Keladi and Banavasi are the second main cash earners. Handicrafts from Sagara and Soraba also bring in some income.


Shimoga district is considered as the heartland of Kannada language and culture. It has contributed two of the greatest Kannada scholars of modern times, Kuvempu and U.R. Ananthamurthy, both of whom are Jnanpith awardees. K.V. Subbanna is the Magasaysay award winner for drama and humanities. Girish Kasaravalli has won more national and Swarna Kamal awards for Kannada classic movies than any other living film director in India, thus enriching Kannnda film industry and Kannda culture in general. Shimoga continues to produce prolific Kannada scholars, novelists, film directors, dramatists and statesman. Overwhelming majority of the people speak Kannada as their native language and just about everybody speaks it anyway.

Places of Antiquity

Legends compare 12th. century Balligavi in Shikaripura taluk to Lord Indras Amaravathi or Lord Kuberas Alakavathi. Balligave was the centre of learning, secular arts, commerce and sculpture. The town had thirteen education centers, fifty four temples of which only a few survive today, tweleve Jain basadis, three Buddhist viharas and many majestic palaces, lakes, wide roads and a population of about sixty thousand. Archaeological evidence points to existance of Balligavi as early as the Shatavahanas. Balligavi was the center of many religions like Shaiva and Vaishnava Hinduism, Brahmi, Shaktha, Jain, Buddhism. The Kedareshwar temple (1060 C.E.) in Chalukya-Hoysala style, Tripurantkeswar temple (1070 C.E.), Gandabherundeswar temple (1070 C.E.) in later Chalukya style in Balligavi and the Aghoreshwara temple at Ikkeri and the Rameshwara temple at Keladi both built in the 17th. century by the Keladi Nayakas are silent reminders of a glorious past. The Nayakas have used a variety of styles from predecessor kingdoms like the late Kadambas, Hoysala and even dravida styles. Balligavi was also the native place of Shantaladevi, queen of Hoysala Vishnuvardhana. Many sculptors who worked for the Hoysalas to build the famous temples at Belur and Halebid came from here including Dasoja, Malloja, Nadoja, Siddoja. During the Virashaiva movement, Balligavi contributed great Vachanakaras like Allama Prabhu who was born here and other like Akka Mahadevi, Animishayya and Mukthayakka who were also associated with this place.

Tourist Attractions

Rivers, dams and water falls

  • Jog Falls These falls have amazing beauty and is the highest falls (in a single leap) in Asia and ninth highest falls in the world. Jog Falls, situated 113 km. away from Shimoga city, close to the border with Uttara Kannada district bears witness to natures headlong tumble as the Sharavati river makes a spectacular drop of 965 feet in four distinct cascades known locally as Raja, “Rani”, “Roarer” and “Rocket” to create the highest waterfalls in Asia. The falls are at their best during the monsoon with arching rainbows colouring the mist.
  • Linganamakki dam across the Sharavati river
  • Vanake-Abbey is a scenic water fall, though small in size.
  • Bhadra River project and dam across the river Bhadra at Lakkavalli is 194 ft. high.
  • Koodli literaly means coming together where the two rivers Tunga and Bhadra join and become Tunga Bhadra river, one of the largest tributaries if the river Krishna. Koodli has some quaint temples and a 16th century smartha monastery and a 14th century Shankaracharya Math
  • Achakanya falls across the Sharavati river half way between Shimoga and Jog falls.
  • Ambuteertha is the source of the river Sharavathi.
  • Varadamoola where the river Varada originates and joins Tunga and Bhadra at Sagara

Hill Stations and Adventure

  • Agumbe west of Shimoga city can be reached at a distance of 90 km. The altitude here is 826 meters and is famous for enchanting Sunsets. as the Sun sets, it takes different colours and shapes and this is reflected by the Arabian sea.
  • Kavaledurga’ is a magnificent fort located on a hill at an altitude of 5056 feet.
  • Kodachadri Hills is 115 km. from Shimoga city. At an altitude of 1411 ft. this hill station provides great views of the forests of the western ghats in Shimoga and south Canara districts. This good weekend getaway is only now being discovered by those other than hardy trekkers.
  • Kundadri has unique rock formations and has good views

History and Religion

  • Shimoga fort is mostly in ruins but a well renovated Hoysala temple of Seetharamanjaneya is worth visiting.
  • Shivappa Nayaka Palace and Museum is located right in the city of Shimoga itself. The palace built by the 17th. century ruler Shivappa Nayaka contains many interesting pieces of sculpture and artifacts from that period.
  • Government Museum in the city contains many ancient coins, manuscripts and inscriptions for the historically inclined.
  • Bhadravathi town is called “steel town” for its steel industries. The Lakshminarasimha temple of 13th. century Hoysala style is woth a visit.
  • Chandragutti in Soraba taluk is a short distance from Balligavi. The fort built by Banavasi Kadambas and the Renukamba temple are the places to see.
  • Humcha is a Jain pilgrimage place with 10th and 11th century Panchakuta basadi, Padmavathi temple and Jain Math which are worth visiting.
  • Church of the Sacred Heart is in the city itself and is the second largest in India
  • Kubetoor has several Kalyani Chalukyan temples. The Kedareshvara temple is the best.
  • Nagara was the last capital of the Keladi Kings. The Hyder Ali tank, Neelakanteshwara and Venkataramana temple are of interest here.
  • Sagara and Soraba are famous for their wood carvings and handicrafts. They have a long history of the art.
  • Talagunda is a place of high importance for those who are arcaeologically minded. This place has several ancient temples and has unvailed very important inscriptions including the famous 450 C.E. “Talagunda inscription” of Shantivarman, an early Kadamba king. The inscription is in Prakrit language and has given historians very useful information about the Kadamba Kingdom and its history.
  • Uduthadi, birth place of Virashaiva saints Akka Mahadevi and Vaitagyanidhi.


  • Sharavathi and Someshvara Wildlife Sanctuary are rich in wildlife and these areas are included in the proposed UNESCO World Heritage site list provided by the Indian Government to the U.N.
  • Tavarekoppa has a lion and tiger Safari on the same lines as the Bannerghatta safari park near Bangalore.
  • Sakkarebailu is elephant training camp. Early in the morning elephants come to bathe and drink water from the stream.
  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. While this sanctuary is mostly in Chikmagalur, it covers a part of the Bhadravathi taluk.
  • Gudavi bird Sanctuary located near Jog falls is one of the best in the state. A total of 191 species of birds have been spotted here in the natural lake. May through October is the right time to go here. The sanctuary covers about 0.74 km².
  • Mandagadde bird sanctuary is 30 km. from Shimoga city going south-west. The sanctuary has many leafless trees which become a heaven for migratory birds between July and October.

July 1, 2007 Posted by | EKAVI SHIMOGA, EKAVI USA | Leave a comment

Balligavi, also known as Dakshina Kedara and Belgami, is a historic village in Shimoga District


India | Karnataka | Shikaripur


Balligavi, also known as Dakshina Kedara and Belgami, is a historic village in Shimoga District and is situated 21 km north-east of Shikaripur. According to legend, Balligavi was the capital of the Asura King Bali and was then called as Balipura. The Panchalinga in the Panchalingeshwara Temple located here is believed to have been installed by the Pandavas. According to the inscriptions found here, it had many names like Valliggame, Valligrame, Balipura, Balligame and Balligave.

The Chaturmukha Linga found here shows traits of Satavahana-Kadamba style and this relates the place with the Satavahanas. The Golden Age of Balligavi was during the time of Kalyan Chalukyas, who ruled it nearly for 200 years. It also served as the capital of Banawasi rulers and was an important seat of learning and a center of cultural activities.

Balligavi is dotted with temples, which are fine examples of architectural excellence of the bygone era. Kedareswara Temple, a classic example of Chalukyan style architecture, is at the heart of the village. Trikuta Temple in the southern part of the Tavaregere pond and Tripiurantaka Temple are the other major temples. It is also a famous Chalukyan art center and the birthplace of Allama Prabhu, a great poet and mystic of the 12th century. A sect of Shaiva (Shiva) priests, associated with tantric practices, is located here.

Balligavi also has a well-maintained museum near the Kedareswara Temple. Statues and inscriptions found in and around the village forms the major part of the display. The statue of Goddess Tara is the highlight among the display, which also contains statues of Tirthankars.

Every stone in Balligavi has a story to tell, which has myth and history intertwined, but sadly no listeners. Time and human neglect has taken its toll on this village too.

July 1, 2007 Posted by | EKAVI SHIMOGA, EKAVI USA | 2 Comments


Ballegavi : This histrolical place is situated 21 Kms from Shikaripura taluka. This place is also known as Dakshina Kedara was the capital of Banawasi rulers in the 12th century. The place is associated with several eminent Veershaiva saints like Allama prabhu, Akka-Mahadevi, Animishayya and Ekantada Ramayya. There are remains of many temples, shrines, mastikals, viragals and nisidigals. Some important temples are Kedareshvara temple made out of soap stone and is a fine specimen of late chalukyan type, Tripurantakeshvara temple resembling the works of belur and halebedu, Prabhudeva temple is a smaller trikutchala structure, etc..



Keladi : was the first capital of Keladi Nayakas. The place is 6 Kms to the north of Sagar taluka. At almost the northern end of the village, there is a large courtyard which is enclosed in modern tiled verandah. In the middle of the courtyard stand 3 temples Rameshvara temple which is in the centre, Veerbhadreshvara temple which is to the right and the Parvati temple which is to the left. The Rameshvara & Veerbhadreshvara temples are a mixed pattern of hoysala & southern or Dravidian style. The Parvati temple is a small building which has old back portion built of stone and the front modern portion built of brick.. There is also a well maintained Keladi Museum, which has a collection of copper inscriptions, palm leaves and coins from Nayaka’s period.

Ikkeri : situated 76 Kms to the noth of Shimoga and about 3 kms to the south of Sagar taluka. The word means “Two Streets”. This place was the capital of Keladi Nayakas for some years. The walls of the city were of great extent, forming three concentric enclosures. In the citadel was the palace build of mud and timber, adorned with carvings and false guildings. The only vestige of the former greatness of ikkeri is the temple of Aghoreshvara, a large and well proportioned stone-building, constructed in a mixed style with a unique conception.



Koodali : 16 Kms from Shimoga , a place where rivers Tunga and Bhadra embrace and flow together from here, hence the name Koodali. A cultural place with rich heritage and temples around. It has a noted Smartha Monastery stated to have been founded in the 16th century by Jagadguru Narsimha Bharathi Swamigalu of Sringeri. Within the premises of the matha, there are shrines of Sharadamba and Shankaracharya. Outside ,there are two temples of hoysala times dedicated to Rameshvara and Narasimha. Koodali is also known as Varanasi of the south, it is home to Rushyashrama, Brahmeshwara, Narasimha and Rameshwara temples. The 600 years old mutt of Shankaracharya still stands with inscriptions of Hoysala and Okkeri Kings.

Chandragutti : situated in between Soraba taluka and Siddapura. The histrolical place and pilgrimage centre of Renukamba. The place was earlier known as Chandragupta Pura, Chandragutti pete, Gutti pete.  16 Kms from Soraba taluka, 848 mtrs above mean sea level on a rocky mountain bed one can find this place.



Humcha : 54 kms from Shimoga city is a renowned Jain Pilgrimage centre. The main attraction of Humcha is the Padmavathi Amma’s temple. The Panchakuta  Basadi (Jain temple) of 10th & 11th Century and Jain Mutt are other places of interest.

Bhadravathi : The Lakshminarsimha temple, built by the Hoysalas in the heart of the town and the Rameshwara temple built on the  banks of the river Tunga attract pilgrims from all  parts of Karnataka and other states. Pilgrims frequent here for darshans of a holy dip in the river.  Bhadravathi is also most prominent Industrial centre in Shimoga district. The renowned Sir M Vishweshwaraiah Iron & Steel factory, The Mysore paper Mills and Sugar Factories were harbingers of Karnataka’s industrial development.

Laxminarayan Temple

Nagar Fort

Nagara :A 16th century place situated 19 Kms from Shimoga. This was also known as “Beendanoor”in the 16th century. This place was also capital of Keladi rulers and later on was captured by Hyder Ali. Other places of interest are Shivappanaika palace, Neelakenteshwara temple, Devagana tank  and Gudde Venkataramana Swamy temple.

Bandalike : 35 Kms to the north of Shikaripura, a place famous for basadis and temples is Bandalika. Here you can find sculptures and writtings of Rastrakutas and Kadambas period. Other places of interest are Shantinath basadi, Sahasralinga Temple and Someshwara threemurthy temples.


Shivappa Nayak Palace

Shivappa Naik Palace :Situated on the banks of river tunga in the busy lanes of Shimoga city. A 16th century place built by Shivappa naik of Keladi. A good architectual piece built with rose wood. The palace is equipped with museum which has several interesting and rare archaeological collections of stone carvings and antiques of Keladi period.  Recovered idols of Hoysala and Chalukya period from the early 16th century to late 18th century are displayed here.

Saint Thomas Church : Situated in the heart of city. The church renovated and said to be second largest church in India with an area of 18000 square feet area . Also equipped with an   prayer hall with an capacity to hold 5000 people at a time.  


Other Places of Interest :

Kanoor fort : situated in the dense forest 50 kms from Jogfalls on the way to bhatkal. This Fort of Keladi dynasty was constructed by Kari Maneesena Rani Abbaka devi ( Spices queen).

Kavaledurga: 5056 ft above sea level is this magnificent fort on the hill. It is 16 Kms from Thirthahalli.

Kubetoor: 25 Kms from Sorab is Kubetoor, has several old temples known for their architectural splendour, though now in a dilapidated condition it still exemplifies the aesthetic sense of the dynasties that reigned. The Veerabhadra and Durgi are worth a visit.  The Kedarashewara Temple is a Chalukyan architectural showpiece.

Talagunda:  5 Kms from Balligave lies Talagunda.  Several ancient inscriptions are found here. The Pranseshwara temple is a must see. To the east of Talagunda is “Prabhudeva Gaddige”.

Heggadu : 8 Kms from sagar, a small village known for its Non-Government Drama training institute called NEENASAM initiated by K.V.Subanna. The institute is well equipped with an indoor auditorium known as ‘Dr. Shivarama Karantha Rangamandira’. Regular workshops and training sessions, finds the place populated by renowned artists from all over the country.

Around Shimoga city : Ganapathi Devasthana located in Ramanna Shreste Park , Basaveshwar Temple located in Gandhi Bazar, Marikamba Devasthana , Kannika Parmeshwari etc are other temples located within the city limits. And it is said that there are 21 or more Ganapathi devasthanas around shimoga city.

July 1, 2007 Posted by | EKAVI SHIMOGA, EKAVI USA | 4 Comments

Kodaganur near Davangere offers a glimpse of 10th Century life

Kodaganur near Davangere offers a glimpse of 10th Century life




HERITAGE Inscriptions on a veeragallu

Kodaganur, once known as Dakshina Ayyavole or Tenkanada Ihole, is 19 km from Davangere on the highway towards Chitradurga. Kodaganur is associated with Chandra Bhimakavi the author of Paarijata Kavya (Madakari period). Anyone visiting here should do so for its 10th Century shasanas and ancient temples. There is the Kalleswara temple — very well known — that has been rebuilt. Only four pillars of the navaranga had remained from the earlier structure. The Malakaradevaragudi is found buried, while the Banada shankari of the Hoysala period may be the Durga found on a mound. These are legendary structures that have to be visited.

There is also the Hanumantadevaragudi in a new look. The temple was originally built in the 17th Century. While it has been refurbished, the tall stone pillar in front and a veeragallu lying below have not been disturbed. The veeragallus of the Hoysala period are particularly good. Even though a veeragallu is also a kind of shasana, it may have a little of inscription or none at all. Hoysalas used schist and the sculpture speaks for itself. There is also the veeragallu at Kodaganur that bears resemblance to those at Balligave, Lakshmeswar and Harihar.

There are three panels tell a story — lower most a fighting scene (probably to protect animal wealth), the middle one the martyr being carried to heaven and the top veera at Kailasa. One leaves Kodaganur wondering why people don’t pay sufficient attention to whatever is left of a glorious heritage.


Kodaganur is around 19 km from Davangere on the highway towards Chitradurga. Take a right turn at Aanugodu and after about 2 km at Ganganakatte Cross, you will find an approach road to Kodaganur on the right. Private buses ply to the town but to save time it is better to hire a vehicle. The place is accessible from Mayakonda railway station. If you have time Neeruthadi Ranganatha and Anugodu Marula Siddheswara temples can also be visited.








July 1, 2007 Posted by | EKAVI DAVANGERE, Kannada Software Development -KSD | 2 Comments

A Glimpse of Karnataka-The Temple of Mukt®¿vara at Cau·ad¡napura

A Glimpse of Karnataka-The Temple of Mukt®¿vara at Cau·ad¡napura


The present State of Karn¡¶aka is situated between longitudes 74 degrees and 12 minutes East; 78 degrees and 30 minutes East and latitudes 11 degrees and 30 minutes North and 18 degrees and 45 minutes North. Its area is 1,91,791 sq. KMS.Its population is 4,48,06,408, according to the Census of 1991.

Different forms and spellings of the name:




Physically Karn¡¶aka is divided in five main regions:

a) The Kanara Coastal Belt, a strip of very fertile land, 30 kms wide at the most, along the West coast.

b) The Sahyadri or Western Ghat, a picturesque chain of hills, culminating at 1925 m. with the Baba Budan peak, often covered with monsoonal type of forest.

c) The Eastern Ranges, a transitional belt between the hills and the plateau; which combines the advantages of the rainy western hills and the drier eastern plains.

d) The Southern Plateau, bordered on the south by the hilly transitional belt between the plateau and the plains of Tamiln¡du, dominated by red soils and an agriculture based on rice, ragi and coconut.

e) The Northern Plateau, north to a line from Chikmagalur to Chitradurga, characterised by large tracts of rich black soils and the cultivation of jowar, wheat, cotton and oil seeds.

The same chain of hills makes the climatic division of Karn¡¶aka: to the west the hot monsoonal regime with some 5ms of rain per year; to the east the more temperate climate with a gradually declining quantum of rainfall, from the 2 ms of the Eastern Ranges to the 50 cms of the dry northern plateau.

Tu´gabhadr¡ River at Haralahalli near Cau·ad¡napura.

The Sahyadri chain is a north-south water-divide between the numerous westward rivers going to the Arabian Sea and the large eastward rivers.

Westward rivers: Mandavi, Kalinadi, Gangavali (or Bedti), Sharavati (with Gersoppa Falls), Haladi, Svarna, Netravati.

Eastward: Krishna and tributaries: Don and Bhima on its northern bank, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha,Tungabhadra on the southern. Tungabhadra is itself the result of the junction of Tunga and Bhadra and has important tributaries: Kumudvati and Varada on its northern bank, Hagari on the southern.

The geological map of Karn¡¶aka displays remarkable parallel belts of the Dharwar system which characterizes the south Deccan. The most prominent are the Dharwar-Shimoga, the Gadag-Chitradurga and the Kolar schist belt. They provide a schist of fine texture which has been the choice stone of medieval architects. The same Dharwar system includes also a wealth of ore deposits, such as the iron and manganese of Sandur, the gold of Kolar etc. A long belt of granite from Bellary to the south has provided a good material of construction in the southern part of the state.

Temple of K®dar®¿vara at Balligave.

Sogayisi baÆda m¡marane

ta½televa½½iye p£ta j¡ji saÆ

pageye kukilva k°gileye p¡·uva

tuÆbiye nallaro½mogaÆ

nagemogado½ pa½aÆcaleya

k£·uva nallare n°½po·¡va be

¶¶uga½o½am¡va naÆdana

vanaÆga½o½aÆ banav¡si d®¿ado½

C¡gada bh°gadakkarada g®yada


½g¡ram¡da m¡nisare

m¡nisarantar¡gi pu¶¶al®

n¡giyum®n° t¢rdupude t¢rido·aÆ

maRiduÆbiy¡gi m®¸

k°giley¡gi pu¶¶uvudu

nandanado½ banav¡si d®¿ado½

TeÆka¸ag¡½i s°Ækido·aÆo½nu·i

g®½do·aÆiÆpan¡½da g®

yaÆ kivivokko·am birida

malligega¸·o·am¡da keÆ dalam

paÆge·ego¸·o·am madhumah°tsava

m¡do·am®naneÆ ben¡

ra´kusavi¶¶o·aÆ nenevudenna

manam banav¡sid®¿amam

“In Banav¡sid®¿a beautiful mango groves pleasing to the eyes, young betel leaves, j¡ti jasmins, campaka flowers, singing cuckoos, buzzing bumble-bees, lovers meeting their beloved with smiling faces are to be seen everywhere in hillocks and pleasure gardens.

O, they are men, those who are abodes of renouncement; enjoyments, affections, chants, discourses; if born, one should be born like those men there, if not, like a cuckoo or even a small buzzing bee in Banav¡sid®¿a.

When the southern breeze passes gently by my side, when the sweet sounding speeches fall on my ears, when fully blossomed jasmins are at sight, when spring festivities are celebrated, even if there is a goad point on my neck, I will not cease to think of Banav¡sid®¿a.”

Temple of Nagar®¿vara at Balligave.

Banadase* n¡·o½elli na·en°rppa·am

alliye ramyavarppa nan l

danavanamalli r¡jisuva hegge

Reyalliye ¿°bhevetta kab

bina posad°Æ¶amalliye vir¡jipa

p£go½avalli k°ki½a

svanada vi½¡savalli be½igeyu½a

dh¡nyam samriddha saÆ-ku½am ll

‘In Banav¡sin¡·u wherever one walks or looks, there are delightful gardens, shining big water tanks, new sugarcane orchards, tanks with flowers (lilies), there resounds the sweet singing of cuckoos, all harvests of grains and vegetables are rich there.”

ll kaÆ ll Ë n¡·a kaÆpa¸aÆ

vasaudh¡n¡r¢tilakadante raÆjisi!

sukhasant¡nado½esevudu siriyi

t¡nagga½av¡giresedu n£RuÆb¡·am ll

“N£RuÆb¡·a was a kaÆpa¸a in that n¡·u (Banav¡sin¡·u) which was like a tilak shining on the forehead of the lady earth, resplendent with children and wealth in plenty.” (Rattihalli inscription no. 1)

From the Rattihalli inscription no. 2. (lines 11 to 14)

“A multitude of bees sucking the sap revolved around newly blown lotuses in beautiful tanks, groups of silvan ladies, wives of silvans tuned their sweet voices to the humming of intoxicated bees, and the charm of their body was equal to that of Tam¡la groves, in that Banav¡side¿a.”

“Besides, mango groves with their young sprouts, bouquets of flowers, heaps of fruits, give excessive joy to multitudes of cuckoos, throngs of bees, hosts of parrots causing great joy to the heart; the juice emerging out of ripe fruits, running in streams, satisfies the desire of rice fields in that viÀaya.”

“Thus, with stately grace, the goddess LakÀm¢ of Banav¡si was shining with the elegance of N£Rumb¡·a, her crest jewel.”

Coconut trees surround fully the mango groves with their waters, mango trees surround banana groves with their sweet juices, banana trees surround fully grown sugar-cane fields looking like rows of fruit carriages, fully grown sugarcanes irrigate rice-fields with their well ripe juice, who knows to describe the plentifulness of Guttavo½al?”



Major dynasties who ruled Karn¡¶aka upto 16th century:Maurya Asoka 3rd cent.B.C.

S¡tavahana, 171 B.C.-174 A.D.

Kadamba of Banav¡si, 350-540

Ga´ga of Talak¡·, 350-1050

C¡lukya of B¡d¡mi, 500-757

R¡À¶rak£¶a of Malkhed, 752-973

C¡lukya of Kaly¡¸a, 973-1189

Kalac£ri of Kaly¡¸a, 1142-1184

Y¡dava of Devagiri, 850-1334

Hoysala of Ha½eb¢d and B®l£r, 1022-1342

Sangama of Vijayanagar, 1344-1485

S¡luva of Vijayanagar, 1486-1505

Tuluva of Vijayanagar, 1491-1576

KadaÆba kings. (350-540 A.D.).

C¡lukyas of B¡d¡mi: (c.500-757 A.D.)

R¡À¶rak£¶a. (c.752 A.D.- 973 A.D.).

K¡v®riyiÆdam¡ g°

d¡varivarmirdda n¡·ad¡ kanna·ado½

bh¡visida janapadam


AdaRo½agam kisuvoßal¡

vidita mah¡kopa¸a nagarad¡ purigerey¡


dada na·uva¸a n¡·e n¡·e kanna·ada tiru½

PadanaRidu nu·iyalum nu·i

dudanaRid¡rayalum¡rpar¡ n¡·avargga½

cadurar nijadim kuRit°

dadeyum k¡vyapray°ga pari¸ata matiga½ ll

C¡lukyas of Kaly¡¸a (973 A.D.- 1189 A.D.)

n¡s¢d asti bhaviÀyati kÀititale

k¡ly¡¸akalpaÆ puram

no d¤À¶aÅ ¿ruta eva v¡

kÀitipatiÅ ¿r¢vikram¡rkopamaÅ l

“On the surface of the earth there has not been, there is not and there will not be a town equal to Kaly¡¸a. None has seen nor heard of a king like Vikram¡rka.”

Kalac£ris (c.1142 A.D. -1184. A.D).

Sevu¸as or Y¡davas of D®vagiri (c. 850 A.D. to 1334 A.D.).

Hoysala of Halebid and Belur (1022 A.D. – 1342 A.D.).



Siva in-the form of lakut¢¿a, at Galagnath.


The history of K¡½¡mukhas in Karn¡¶aka goes back to the eighth century when the C¡lukyas of B¡d¡mi were the overlords of the region spread between God¡vari in the north and K¡v®ri in the South. In an article by Dr. G.S. Dikshit there is a reference to an inscription from Pa¶¶adakal dated 755 A.D. which mentions an Ëc¡rya named Jµ¡na¿iva who had come to that place from Mrigathanik¡h¡raviÀaya on the north bank of the Ganges and who was honoured by the C¡lukya queen Trailokya Mah¡devi. Further the professor writes: “Since Jµ¡na¿iva is a name common to K¡l¡mukhas, he might be one of the first amongst the K¡l¡mukhas, or followers of the L¡kula¿aiva cult, to come to Karn¡¶aka.” The modest beginning of K¡l¡mukha-P¡¿upata movement during the rule of the C¡lukyas of B¡d¡mi continued to be active in the times of the R¡À¶rak£¶as. But, the time was not favourable enough for their activities probably due to the presence of Jains and Buddhists in the kingdom. But in subsequent centuries K¡l¡mukhas, and P¡¿upatas flourished immensely. Their golden days commenced with the advent of Kaly¡¸a C¡lukyas to power, especially with the accession of Vikram¡ditya VI to the throne in 1075 A.D.
According to informations recorded in inscriptions, we may safely say that L¡kula¿¡ivas came to Karn¡¶aka from the four corners of India, Ka¿m¢r, K®d¡r, Bengal, Maley¡½a and R¡m®¿varam. Those who came from K¡¿m¢r settled down in the region of B¢j¡pura; those from K®d¡r made Banav¡side¿a in modern áimoga district as their headquarters. Once established in Karn¡¶aka these áaivites modified the mode of their worship, rituals, customs and manners to fit themselves in the local contexts of the kingdom. In Karn¡¶aka they showed their affiliation to ár¢¿aila irrespective of their original place. It is yet unknown from when and why ár¢¿aila gained importance. May be due to the reason that it is one of the five jyotirli´ga centres of India. In its earlier stages ár¢¿aila was under the control of K¡p¡likas. Taking into consideration the facts recorded in an inscription, we can say that, probably, by mid-eleventh century it came under the domination of K¡l¡mukhas, and P¡¿upatas, Since then, the place has not ceased to increase in importance. K¡l¡mukha and P¡¿upata saints and their schools known as ma¶ha appear quite frequently in inscriptions. The subjects that were taught in these schools (ma¶has) became part of contents of epigraphs.

Of the two main branches in L¡kula¿aiva school, K¡l¡mukha and P¡¿upata, the former belonged to áaktipariÀe and the latter to SiÆhapariÀe. Possibly, K¡l¡mukhas, attached more importance to the áakti or the goddess, P¡¿upatas to the lion (siÆha) Her vehicle. Whether it is áaktipariÀe or SiÆhapariÀe they aligned themselves on the school at ár¢¿aila which they called Parvat¡vali.

In áaktipariÀe there were many branches notably M£varak°¸e at Ba½½ig¡ve, Ki¶¶ag¡vesantati at Ra¶¶iha½½i and another called Be½½esantati.

According to Pamp¡m¡h¡tmya the derivation of the name K¡l¡mukha is as follows: Kal¡mukha means that in which the kal¡s are well-established. That which has relation with only kal¡mukha is accepted as kal¡mukha. Those who practice that, are taught as being kal¡mukha. Niv¼tti, pratiÀh¡, vidy¡, ¿¡nti, ¿¡ntyat¢t¡. All these are kal¡s in the present [doctrine].

A v¢ra¿aiva devotee worshipping the linga in his hand. South wall of the ra´gama¸·apa.

Basava, the founder of the future V¢ra¿aiva movement, has been the finance minister of the Kalac£ri King Bijjala. The believers of Lakul¢¿a áaiva, K¡l¡mukha and P¡¿upata schools had become powerful. Building temples and making grants for temple services was their motto, the primordial means they proposed to attain liberation. But, those who did not have enough wealth to participate in these activities, nor to contribute in any way, were unhappy and worried. Moreover, all revenues of villages and fields were going to the temples. The king’s treasure ceased to increase. In order to save the people and the kingdom, Basava found a very simple way.

He awakened the sense of duty in people’s mind and heart and campaigned with the motto k¡yakave kail¡sa “Work is Worship”. Do your duty and the god will come to you. If the duties are accomplished with devotion that is enough to please the Almighty. To make his thoughts go directly deep in the hearts of common people, Basava used the literary genre of vacana “saying”. In simple words he propagated his ideas. In no time he met with unprecedented success. Many joined hands with him to give an impetus to his principle “work is worship”.

In one of his Vacanas he says :

u½½avaru ¿iv¡layava m¡·uvaru, n¡n®nu

m¡·ali ba·avanayy¡ enna k¡l® kaÆbha,

d®hav® d®gula enna ¿irave honnaka½asavayy¡,

sth¡varakka½ivuƶu jaÆgamakka½ivilla

k®½¡ k£·alasaÆgamad®v¡

“Those who are wealthy can construct temples but I am a poor one. My body is the temple, my feet are the pillars and my head is the pinnacle; Lo ! god K£·alasa´gama, listen, a Li´ga installed in a temple is perishable but not the devotion of a mendicant ja´gama”.)

This kind of diffusing ideas through vacanas became very popular. Every follower of Basava began to compose vacanas and set them to music and sing or recite them. Another principle that Basava adopted was to worship an image of áiva of one’s own choice, that is to choose the name of any image of áiva installed in a temple, be seated at home, take an effigy of a small Li´ga, place it in the palm of one’s left hand, offer all the services like bath, sandal paste, flowers, bell, incense etc. and with concentration on that Li´ga mentally make áiva present in the form of Li´ga one is wishing to pray. This is actually a principle found in Ëgama texts. But, in Ëgamas the worship of áiva in temples is emphasised, whereas Basava proposed to do it at home. According to him going to the temples is not necessary. In case one cannot find time to express one’s devotion to god at home, carrying a small image of Li´ga on one’s body is sufficient. As devotees began to wear a Li´ga on their body, in subsequent centuries, they were called Li´gins and later Li´g¡yats. Now this is one of the most powerful communities in Karn¡¶aka. Some modern historians think that the preachings of Basava curbed temple construction activities. But, this is a baseless attack. In fact, his teachings came as bliss in disguise and became instrumental in the development of temple architecture and embellishment.

Basava also tried to suppress the age old thorn of Hindu society, i.e. the caste system. But this revolutionary idea led to the assassination of King Bijja½a. Basava had to run away from the capital. The whole system ended in chaos. It could only be revived in the fifteenth century when the vacanas were codified and classified under the different categories of the âa¶sthala m¡rga “the six-stage way” and brought out under one general title á£nyasamp¡dane. Thus vacana literature became a genre par excellence.

Before the detailed description of áaiva worship, which is its main subject, a standard áaiv¡gama, the Ajitatantra, begins with an exposition of the theological concept of áiva as supreme principle called brahman, using a typical upaniÀadic vocabulary:”Only that one who is áiva, superior to all, stable, supreme soul, great lord, whose form is existence, consciousness and felicity, who is free from existent and non-existent manifestations, who is all-pervading, only him is named by the sages with the word brahman. “In the ¿aiva tradition áiva is known as free from beginning, middle and end, free by nature from the stain entity, powerful, omniscient, perfect, non limited by directions of space, times etc., beyond the range of speech and mind, without parts, without action, all-pervading, always all-experiencing.”

After introducing the concept of God, the Ajitatantra introduces the concept of worship. It emphasizes the difference between the worship of a yogin through only mental processes, fixation of the mind on God etc., and the activities of other men of lesser mental capacity. Only the former experiences the supreme áiva. The latter is not qualified to enter into relation with him. The concept of the supreme is the concept adapted to the concept of mental practice of yoga.

“The worship of this áiva can be the inner worship of yogin-s only. Men who take pleasure in the practice of yoga, whose mind is purified by the eight components of yoga, restraints etc., worship him in the middle of the lotus of their heart, no others. The action of worshipping him is superior. Without his worship, with any other [rite] there is no benefit for embodied souls.”

There is another, concurrent, concept of God adapted to the concept of worship in the form of rites comprising not only mental attitudes, but also speech activities and bodily gestures. Both types of worship are not conflicting but complementary. Tantra deals chiefly with ritualistic worship, Yoga chiefly with mental actions and psychological states.

30b-32. The undertaking of the inner worship falls upon someone sometimes; the undertaking of the outer worship falls upon those who have a little knowledge. Being aware of that, this lord of gods, áiva, who stands inside everything, who extends his grace to all and gives to creatures experience and liberation, this áiva became Sad¡¿iva whose body is the five brahma[-mantra-s] manifestly.

33-34a. From him arose Ì¿vara, the origin of all the gods, free from decline. From [Ì¿vara] I was born and from me you, the teacher of the universe, arose. From you, in the lotus of your navel, sprung forth Aja, the grandfather of the world.

34b-35. The consciousness who inhabits áiva should be celebrated as M¡y¡. Others [call her] “Root principle [of matter]”. She also stands in a relation of material cause and effect in five bodies. Hear her establishments.

36-38a. From her [is born] the deity Manonman¢ resting in Sad¡¿iva. From [Manonman¢] is born Gaur¢ resting in Mahe¿vara. From [Gaur¢] is born Um¡ who is mine; she should be Bhavapriy¡. From [Um¡] is born Padm¡ resting on you, ViÀ¸u. And from [Padm¡] is born V¡¸¢ resting upon Brahman.

The concept of kal¡ is important in all schools of áaivism and plays a special role in the religion of k¡l¡mukhas. It is closely related to the concepts of áakti and bindu. There are two aspects of áakti. On one side, it is the spiritual essence of God, the power of universal knowledge and action called d¤k-kriy¡-áakti or cit “consciousness”. On the other side it is the prak¤ti or material cause of all that is not cit. In áaiva philosophy the latter has two forms, pure and impure called bindu and m¡y¡. M¡y¡ is the well-known concept of the matrix of the world, psychic and material, of common experience. It produces all the constituents of human body, senses and mind etc. It provides a matter for the bound soul, which transmigrates in worldly lives.

Bindu is a purer form of m¡y¡. It provides matter for the higher souls in the hierarchy, who are close to liberation, such as Vidye¿vara-s delegates of the supreme áiva in his functions of creation etc., Mantra-s instruments of his grace etc. Bindu is divided in five parts kal¡ which form a scale and are from the lowest to the topmost: niv¤tti, pratiÀh¡, vidy¡, ¿¡nti, ¿¡ntyat¢t¡. They are related to ¿akti-s or powers of áiva having definite functions. The concept of these functions, as defined by M¤gendr¡gama in the chapter on adhvan in its Vidy¡p¡da illustrates well the hierarchy and the names of the kal¡-s in relation to the attainment of liberation:

“Those powers by which [áiva ] does the opening of the light of [consciousness of] the soul, are the Lords of worlds called niv¤tti, etc.”

Two important points appear here. The worlds which are transformations of m¡y¡ and bindu are grouped under five heads, which are the kal¡-s, niv¤tti, etc. Each group is ruled by a Lord who is a ¿akti of áiva. These five ¿akti-s have a common character, which is to contribute to the awakening of the powers of knowledge and action of the souls, and thus to contribute to the attainment of their goal.

Their respective functions are as follows:

“The [¿akti] by which [áiva ] checks the creation of elements and living species, is the checking power; the place where it occurs is called check [point] (niv¤tti), and the Lord [áiva considered] in this place is called possessor of niv¤tti.

The [¿akti of áiva] by which the fall of the checked soul [in lower births] is suppressed is the pratiÀ¶h¡ [stabilising power]; its location [is called stabilisation pratiÀ¶h¡)] and the Lord over it is possessor of pratiÀ¶h¡.

The [¿akti] by which [áiva] gives the soul a knowledge the contents of which do not come from verbal testimony or inference [i.e. direct experience], is the vidy¡ [power giving direct experience]; its location [is called place of direct experience vidy¡]) and the Lord over it is Lord of vidy¡.

The [¿akti] by which Hara achieves the pacification of all the sufferings of the soul is the ¿¡nti [pacifier]; its location is called place of pacification ¿¡nti) and the lord who accomplishes it is possessor of ¿¡nti.”

This passage of M¤gendr¡gama deals with only the above-mentioned four kal¡s. There is a fifth one called ¿¡ntyat¢t¡ beyond ¿¡nti. It is easily identifiable as the supreme áakti of áiva. And the M¤gendr¡gama itself in its Kriy¡p¡da qualifies it as bindu – antasaÆ¿ray¡ (VII, 82) “having a residence at the top of bindu”.

Linga called Spar¿a-linga, temple of Galagesvara at Galagnath.

Li´ga is first a philosophical concept defined thus by Ajitatantra:

puruÀasya tu yac cihnaÆ

puruÀavyaktik¡ra¸am l

sad¡¿ivasya talli´gaÆ

áivali´gam iti sm¼tam ll

“That which is a sign of the soul, i. e. a cause of manifestation of the soul, such a sign for Sad¡¿iva is traditionally known as áivali´ga.”

It is remarkable that the word Li´ga is explained here in its common meaning of sign or cause of manifestation. It is something from which one can, not only infer the existence of the soul and Sad¡¿iva, but also perceive it directly. It is an object which makes another entity manifest. It is also remarkable that the expression áivali´ga “Li´ga of áiva” is explained as referring to Sad¡¿iva. The worship of the Li´ga is the worship of Sad¡¿iva, i. e. the form of áiva manifested under the form of five mantra-s addressed to five faces of the god. Even if the faces are not represented on the Li´ga, the worshipper pictures them in his mind and addresses his actions to them.

Linga and Nandin, temple of Som®¿vara at Haralhalli.

The Li´ga is also a mythological concept, well-known in Pur¡¸as and áaiv¡gamas. The account of Ajitatantra is as follows. It involves three hierarchised manifestations of the supreme áiva: Sad¡¿iva who is the Li´ga, Ì¿vara and Rudra. ViÀ¸u and Brahman are also manifestations of the Supreme and of still lower rank. The narration is done by Rudra to ViÀ¸u.

k£¶astha¿ ca mah¡devaÅ

sarvak¡ra¸ak¡ra¸am ll

tvad¡der yo mam¡dis tu

tasy¡py ¡diÅ sad¡¿ivaÅ l

“2b-3a. Sad¡¿iva, the unchangeable, great god, cause of all the causes, is the origin of that entity who is the origin of me, origin of you.”

“3b-5. Both of you, N¡r¡ya¸a and Brahman, even though you are omniscient and omnipresent, were unable to perceive me, your mind being afflicted by delusion. Full of delusion and infatuation about the superiority in strength of one upon the other, each one claiming “there is none superior to me”, out of jealousy in each towards the other, both of you, desirous of killing yourselves mutually, furious, were going for your destruction”.

“6-7. Then, seeing such a delusion in both of you, lords of gods, áiva, the origin of all the gods, embodied in ¿abda-brahman, in order to enlighten you, bore the form of a fire-column, creating wonder, and he, the supreme Lord, stood between [you both]”.

“8-10. You, best among gods, went to the greatest astonishment. Wondering: “what is this?”, ready to examine it, with the desire to see its extremities, you went towards the top and the bottom of that form of the Li´ga, with the respective bodies of a haÆsa and a boar. Both of you, lords of all the worlds, came back, without fulfilling your purpose. Bowing down and praising the lord of gods, you stood on his sides.”

“11-13. Then, seeing your devotion, áiva, the lord of all the gods, despatched there Ì¿vara, as giver of knowledge to you. And this lord of gods, this peace-maker [said] to you: “you do not know the lord of gods, cause of all, imperishable, Sad¡¿iva, the great god, leader of the gods. I, Rudra, and you two, all of us are born from his grace.”

“14-15. This [column] is the sign of him. I, Rudra, and you, let us make a similar [Li´ga] with different materials, as we desire, and let us always worship the Lord of gods. Worshipped on the head of the Li´ga, the omniscient will always give knowledge, to calm down delusion.”

“16-17a. Seeing our procedure of worship, the fourteen-fold world will worship the Li´ga, and it will bestow the highest fruit.” Having spoken thus, Ì¿vara suddenly disappeared with the Li´ga.”

The deity is conceived as an abstract entity, which has numerous external manifestations. There are several degrees of manifestation of the supreme. The idea of manifestation is expressed in Sanskrit by the root aµju “to become manifest” and the preverb vi which indicates the idea of separation. The supreme áiva is a-vyakta “non-manifested”. It differentiates itself in a new entity called vyakta-a-vyakta “manifested and non-manifested”, then in a third one called vyakta “manifested” fully. By “manifested” is understood the quality of being accessible to the senses. Manifestation is achieved by the Supreme God himself through parts (kal¡) of its power (¿akti) in its aspect of pure material cause (bindu). Therefore the supreme is also called niÀkala “without [manifesting] part [of power]”. The second entity is sakala-niÀkala, the third sakala. Each entity has a name: the supreme is áiva, the second Sad¡¿iva, the third Mah®¿a. áiva is one, the other two have subdivisions: Sad¡¿iva five, Mah®¿a twenty-five. This is clearly stated in áaiv¡gamas such as V¡tula¿uddha:

“The essence of áiva is well-kown as niÀkala, o Mah¡s®na. In this [scripture] Sad¡¿iva is told to be niÀkala and sakala. One should know Mah®¿a as sakala. Thus there are three aspects. One should know áiva as one. Sad¡¿iva should be of five aspects. Mah®¿a, o Mah¡sena, has twenty-five divisions.”

The supreme áiva is not the subject of any representation in the temple, because of its unmanifested nature. It is dealt with in rituals only through a mantra, called m£la-mantra “the root-mantra”.

Sad¡¿iva appears in the temple in the form of the li´ga, which can be told to be manifested, since it is a visible object, and also non-manifested, since it is a purely geometrical shape, not revealing any particular aspect of the manifest God. The aspect which remains non-manifested in the Li´ga is properly called Sad¡¿iva or S¡d¡khya. There are five S¡d¡khyas or five heads which remain in the imagination of the worshipper. In rituals the visible Li´ga is not the real object of worship. It is a support on which the worshipper superimposes the five heads by means of mental representation (dhy¡na). The heads are not manifested. They remain in the mind of the worshipper. They are introduced in the rituals through mantras called brahma-mantras. This concept is very important, for it is the very basis of the religious activity, which integrates mental representations in pure ritualistic actions. It answers perfectly to the religious need of integration of mental and material actions.

“He (áiva) should be sakala and niÀkala for the purpose of meditation and worship; o Mah¡sena, this form is well-known as S¡d¡khya.”

The third áaiva entity, Mah®¿a, is the fully manifested form, with characteristic features and actions, detailed descriptions of which are given in mythological accounts of Ëgamas and Pur¡¸as. In general the diverse myths about áiva depict him with the attributes of a king, with a benevolent attitude to submissive and loving subjects or with violent actions against enemies. áiva is the Lord of the universe, chastising powerfully the evil forces and giving grace to devotees. He has a palace on a mountain, Kail¡sa, and a court of other submissive gods, celestial beings, saints, sages, yogins, etc.

“One should know Mah®¿a as sakala, conducting creation, maintenance and destruction [of the world]. This bodily form should be diverse through twenty-five varieties.”

The temple of Mukt®¿vara at Cau·ad¡napura, west facade.

The elaborate theological concept of the supreme god manifesting himself in several grades is well reflected in the architectural concept which comprises a general volume sheltering the Li´ga and numerous secondary structures dedicated to the outward manifestations. The former is the garbhag¤ha, the secluded cella, innermost centre of the monument. The latter have the form of the main temple in reduced size and are superimposed on its external face.

The monument as a whole, with its tower in pyramidal form can be taken as the representation of the Kail¡sa mountain. The interior and central cella sheltering the Li´ga is the private residence of the god-king in his palace. The court of that king is provided with architectural spaces, which are the miniature images of temples arranged outside on the walls. The relation of manifested-cum-non-manifested with the fully manifested is transcribed in the architecture by the disposition which gives a secluded and hidden shelter to the Li´ga, and outward, fully exposed places to the manifested images.

The reduced representations of temples are frequently treated as decorative architectural motifs by historians of art. But they can also be understood as being something more than a decoration. They have a close connection with the main structure, and must have a theological dedication, as well as the main structure. The dedication of some of them to the external manifestations of the deity is shown through images of several m£rtis placed on their prominent face or even inside them in the case of niches.



July 1, 2007 Posted by | KARWAR taluk, Temples of Karnataka | Leave a comment

“Chandragutti beckons trekkers and tourists” travel blog by Raghavendra

Chandragutti beckons trekkers and tourists

Chandragutti was in news at international level two decades ago. Some intellectuals then had tried to convince the people who had been practicing nude worship in the village, which was a custom to pay offerings in this form. But the devotees took it for an obstruction to their worship and had turned violent, which had resulted in a clamour.
And even now people remember the name `Chandragutti’ with nude worship, but very less people know it to be an excellent tourist spot.
Chandragutti of Sorab taluk in Shimoga District is a beautiful village situated in Sahyadri ranges. It has the famous Renukamba temple. Devotees use to take bath in river Varada, about 3 kms from here, and walk to the temple. It is situated on a hill at the northern side of the village and with a flight of steps to reach it.
First you will get a Mutt belonged to `Naatha pantha’ and then Kalabhairava temple. And at the end of steps is the temple of Goddess Sri Renukamba, where a golden statue of the goddess is worshipped inside a cave.
In front of it is a small temple in which Elu Hede Nagendra (Divine King cobra with seven hoods) and Parashurama, son of Renukamba, is worshipped. And beside the temple is a statue of Matangi.
There is another path for the devotees to get down from the temple, which is without proper steps but gives one an exalting experience to while on this path. On this way there is a temple of Shoolada Beerappa, in which thousands of tridents, which are said to be rose from the earth, are worshipped. Even devotees add to the number with their offerings. Beside this temple situated a pond called `Ammanavara honda’, to which water flows from a bigger pond called `Tavarekere’, situated at a still higher region behind Renukamba temple. And from this water flows in a small canal to agriculture fields. At the beginning of the flight of steps is a sacred well in cradle shape called `Tottila baavi’.
Apart from this, there is an old port, said to be of seven folds, situated amid a dense forest. If you walk for in the forest behind the temple, you will get different entrances which take you to the peak, which is a huge rock mass. From there it is all beautiful scenery of the village, hill ranges, farm lands and ponds. On this huge rock are three wells, two of which contain water even in summer days. There is a stone construction, which is said to be used for storing weapons by the then kings.
The villagers and tourists make picnic here cooking food and staying in night. One can witness delightful sun rises and sun sets from here. This place is a fitting place for trekking.

Route: Chandragutti is 106 kms from Shimoga and is on the way from Sorab to Siddapur. It can be reached from Sorab (18kms), Siddapur (16kms) and from Sirsi (40kms).

MORE information on other places on RAGHAVENDRA blog:


July 1, 2007 Posted by | EKAVI SHIMOGA, EKAVI USA | 4 Comments