Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Abode of art and beauty:Devanahalli is replete with strikingly beautiful monuments

DISCOVER TRADITIONS, DISCOVER TEMPLES
Abode of art and beauty
 
Devanahalli is replete with strikingly beautiful monuments that dates back to several centuries. Srinidhi Raghavendra L V explores a Hoysala styled temple here.
 

Less than a decade ago, Devanahalli was a small non-descript town on the outskirts of Bangalore with its share of infrastructure and other problems. But since it has been chosen as the site for the Bangalore International Airport, the town has witnessed hectic development activity both in terms of private enterprise and government initiative. Now after nearly several years of dilly-dallying, government has started work on the Airport and the frenzy of developmental activity in and around the town, is only slated to increase.

Apart from the international airport imbroglio, few are aware of the historical significance of Devanahalli. The small town is replete with interesting and strikingly beautiful monuments that date to several hundred years. If these attractions are well restored, developed and publicised, there is no doubt about Devanahalli transforming into a tourist and heritage destination.

The town is endowed with quite a few ancient monuments including houses where former Mysore rulers Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan lived, the residence of Dewan Purnaiah, the Fort, strikingly beautiful temples dedicated to Venugopalaswamy, Nanjundeshwara, Chandramouleshwara, Kalamma, Veerabhadraswamy, Ranganathaswamy, etc.

Venugopalaswamy temple

The temple located inside the fort close to the entrance can be easily compared to the majestic temples at Belur and Halebid. This small shrine is endowed with beautiful Hoysala style pillars and frescoes that are very similar to the ones found in Belur and Halebid. It can be easily said that this temple is a miniature version of the mega temple complexes that are located in these famous locales. One has to travel four to five hours to reach Belur, but Devanahalli is a mere one-hour drive from Bangalore.

The Venugopalaswamy temple is a medium-sized temple with a tall Rayagopura at the entrance. The temple has a spacious inner Prakara (courtyard) and is complete with a navaranga, mukhamantapa and a small garbhagriha. At the entrance of the temple, there are two Vishnu statues ascribed to the Ganga era, which are believed to have been brought from the village of Gangavara. These impressive similar images are not the mirror images, they are distinctly different from each other, while one has a Prayogachakra (Disc), Shankha (Conch), Abhaya (blessing) and Gada (Mace) in its four hands, the other has different weapons and exhibits a separate demeanour.

As one enters the courtyard leading into the mukhamantapa (verandah), niches adorned with several stucco (a mixture of jaggery, limestone and sand used in construction) images attract attention. The four pillars supporting the mukhamantapa are classy and intricately carved. The entire outer wall of the temple is made of stone and has a frieze containing large images illustrating different incidents of epic Ramayana. The Balakanda chapter of the epic is finely illustrated in the form of detailed sculpts on the northern and southern walls.

The other sections of the frieze have images of Sage Rishyashringa and Dasharatha performing a sacrifice, Vishwamitra teaching Rama archery and a section of the wall also illustrates the pranks played by Lord Krishna when he was a child. These sculptures provide beautiful relief to our city-sore eyes used to viewing only brick and mortar buildings.

The Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) has a standing image of lord Venugopalaswamy sculpted in the Vijayanagar style with a Dravidian style shikhara covering it. The navaranga (inner courtyard) of the temple has four black stone pillars with attractive relief sculptures on all sides – the images include the Hayagriva, dancing girls, musicians playing on traditional instruments, a conch blower etc.

One of the notable sculptures is the image of a Kinnara where the lower portion of his body is a bird and the upper section is that of a female hunter removing thorns from her feet.

According to the temple priest, a special Utsav or festival is celebrated on the Chaitra Purnima day (April) every year, prior to which, the entire temple including the stone pillars and sculptures are carefully washed with water and detergent to remove accumulated dust and then varnished in order to protect them. These efforts are mainly funded by devotees and the townsfolk who flock to the shrine during these days. But as expenses rise and numbers of visitors dwindle, the priest laments, it may not be possible to continue with the elaborate cleaning and maintenance each year.

Despite this regular maintenance and upkeep, a few sculpted friezes on the eastern wall have developed cracks and it is left to one’s imagination as to what would happen if the temple were to be allowed to deteriorate due to lack of funds. The government should take the onus now, when crores are being spent on the International Airport project to allocate a small amount of money to restore and maintain these important heritage hotspots, which possess a great potential for tourism.

How to get there

Travel on Bellary Road (NH-7) and move towards Mekhri circle, 9 kms from Bangalore is Yelahanka satellite town. Proceed straight ahead for another 29 kms to reach the outskirts of Devanahalli town. Turn left at the entrance of the town and half-a-km from here is Tipu’s birth place and fort. As you enter, on the right side, the fort and temple are the first large structures which are visible.

http://www.deccanherald.com/Archives/may312005/spectrum844492005530.asp

October 25, 2007 - Posted by | History of Karnataka

3 Comments »

  1. thanks for the information…been there and seen these from a distance but never really got to go inside as it was late evening..will def go

    Comment by backpakker | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi,
    I would be if you could provide a link to my blog from this article. After all I wrote the article originally.
    regards
    Srinidhi

    Comment by Srinidhi | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  3. Sweet great Archery write up!

    Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Comment by KungFu | August 21, 2008 | Reply


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