Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Nagayi Ghatika, which was once a much sought after centre for higher education, is in a state of neglect today.

 Past perfect

Nagayi Ghatika, which was once a much sought after centre for higher education, is in a state of neglect today. Srinivas Sirnoorkar reports.
Standing in open land, braving the onslaught of nature for over a thousand years, the beautiful temple structure situated in a remote corner of the State is not just any monument. It is different. It perpetuates the memory of the past glory of the ancient system of higher education.

Although it is not counted among Nalanda, Takshashila and Varanasi, Nagayi Ghatikasthana, located in the sleepy village of Nagayi in Chittapur taluk of Gulbarga district, is known as a consequential centre of excellence. It was, in fact, one of the most celebrated and sought-after centres of higher learning in South India, for it offered quality vedic and sastric education.

Unfortunately, this place does not even attract visitors today. Nor has any effort been made to bring it to the limelight. However, this ancient monument which is still intact due to least or no human intervention at all is serving an altogether different purpose today. Wonderful, tiny sparrows which are on the verge of extinction have taken a very safe shelter in it.

Situated 3 km south-east of Chittapur, Nagayi Ghatikasthana was a residential university and scaled new peaks during the period of Kalyani Chalukyas, especially during the regime of Vikramaditya VI. Due to his liberal patronage, Ghatikasthana was able to carve a niche for itself as an excellent centre of higher learning in the State.

Interestingly, it was here that a well equipped library was developed and managed by a professional. It had hundreds of vedic and sastric manuscripts.

Nagayi, which had been an agrahara during the period of Satavahanas in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, gradually grew into an educational centre during the Chalukyas. Five inscriptions have been found here, all belonging to the period of Kalyani Chalukyas. The oldest among the inscriptions is the one on a pillar, erected in the compound of the `aravattu kambada gudi’ (temple of 60 pillars). According to this inscription, Dandanayaka Madhuvapparasa constructed it in 1058 AD as `tripurusha sale’.

Another inscription dating back to 1086 AD also furnishes a lot of information relating to grades of education.
At Nagayi Ghatika, all the important branches of ancient Indian higher education, including the vedas, vyakarana, vedanga, sastra, purana, poetry, drama, music, fine art, etc., were taught.

A number of scholars, members of royal families, diplomats, and students from other prestigious sections of society would come here to pursue their higher education. It had an intake of 250 students – 200 for the vedic branch and 50 for the sastric branch. Students and teachers used to live together in this residential centre of higher learning with free boarding and lodging facilities. There were different grades of scholars such as Ekadandi, Tridandi, Snataka, Brahmachari, Hamsa, Paramahamsa and Anushthani. The members of all these grades had the privilege of residing in designated quarters.

There was also a separate math to render Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvanaveda and Vedanga.
The Ghatika had a systematic staff pattern. There were six teachers for 250 students. While three teachers taught Bhattadarshan, Nyasa and Prabhakar Commentary, the other three taught the vedas. It had one Saraswati Bhandari (librarian).

A notable feature of the topography is that the Ghatika has been constructed in a place rich in water resources. Ram Teertha, the pond of perennial streams, never goes dry.

The east facing temple consists of a garbhagriha, an open antarala and a spacious sabha mantap. In the garbhagriha is a single peetha that previously held the images of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. Sadly, the images are missing now.

Though Gulbarga had more than 30 agraharas, the Nagayi agrahara was the most important one and the earliest known agrahara of Karnataka.

Nagayi Ghatikasthana has immense scope for tourism development, if only the authorities concerned take necessary steps in this regard.


October 31, 2007 - Posted by | History of Karnataka

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