Hangal Fort and Billeshwara temple

May 27, 2011.

Bird's eye view of Hangal. Anekere lake stand out prominently. I heard that elephants were given bath here and hence the name- Anekere -elephant lake. Present day Hangal fort remains is marked in two places. I got to see the one marked in the circle but not the ruins on the lake bank.

I feel the fort was much bigger, probably occupying the circular boundary adjoining the remains of the fort.

There it is; a pentagon shaped outline. The fort is currently under the horticulture department who maintain a nursery and a mango orchard. Within the fort is a small temple with a Shivalings in the Garbhagriha.

A - Fort entrance

B - Temple

I met two people here, one of them- Shripad S Akkivalli -was from the horticulture department. Shripad told us that this temple was a Jain Basti many years ago. He shows us proof- sculptures of Mahaveera and Theerthankaras. Many parts of the temple have been damaged with an intention to erase Jaina icons. Shripad mentions that these stones are sculpted as though it were wax. He says that there are many theories to how stones were shaped. One theory he heard from his father about a plant which softened stone.

Shripad believes that a plant exists or existed which sculptors of ancient India used to soften stones so that they could create works of art which we see today in thousands of temples.

Another video of the little temple with simple but beautiful art.

Billeshwara Temple

You can find this temple on the outskirts, on the left side as you drive on hangal-Haveri road. The temple is situated on a slightly elevated patch of ground.

The temple is incomplete; no shikhara, no sabha mantapa, abandoned for some reason.

Shivalinga on a stepped pedestal.

A seven-stage doorway adorns the Garbhagriha. Each of the stages has a theme of its own.

The stages that caught my attention are filled with imaginary creatures- serpents with human heads and lion's body with heads of all types of animals and birds. Very interesting. I feel a kid must have come up with this idea.

Backside of the temple.

One video of Billeswara Gudi.

One of the localities mentioned another interesting monument; Kichakana Gardimane. Gardimane is the colloquial term for gymnasium. Legend says that Bheema slayed Kichaka in the Gardimane. To reach the Gardimane one needs to walk through fields. We were running out of time, I had to attend a wedding at Ranebennur. Perhaps I can stop here during my upcoming trip to Kotipura and Balligavi.

Hangal Fort coordinates: 14°45'36"N 75°7'37"E

Billeswara Gudi coordinates: 14°45'17"N 75°7'23"E

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