Venkatappa Baavi, Kanakagiri

July 27, 2012

This beautiful monument of Kanakagiri reminds me of Musukina Baavi of Lakkundi. Kanakagiri formerly known as Suvarnagiri or Swarnagiri was the capital for the southern part of Mauryan empire and an important place during Vijayanagara rule.

The well-temple complex is situated within APMC premises on the outskirts of Kanakagiri, about 30m air distance from . To reach the monument we had to drive through KSRTC bus-stand to enter APMC. On seeing cattle we were wondering since when APMC started dealing with cattle. It was my uncle Mohan who told that this was a makeshift Goshaala; farmers had sent their cattle here because they had no fodder. Thanks to the prevailing drought conditions.

Venkatappa Bavi is a royal bath constructed by Venkatappa Naik during Vijayanagara rule. This stepped well is surrounded by an aisle on three sides. It also has a temple and shelter for pilgrims.

This  place is also called Queen's bath. There are four entrances to enter the well; three are stairways through narrow passages, almost like secret entrances. The fourth one is a regular wide and open stairway. Mohan mama is descending through one of the entrances.

There he is inspecting the pillars.
I take the regular entrance. The monument is preserved well expect for some damages. On my left is evidence of vandalism by treasure hunters.
I guess that is Nataraja. A three-headed serpent. I hope the looters went away empty handed.
Damages to the face and an arm can be seen. This sculpture looks as though it's been made by an apprentice.
As I reached the end of the stairway my nose sensed the odor of bat droppings, a sure indication that people rarely come here. On the left, behind the row of pillars is a open hall and an entrance of a temple. The hall was littered with used plastic tumblers, plates, carry bags with food and even liquor bottles. Some miscreants had had a booze and dinner party, probably the looters who had opened the wall next to the Nataraja.
I can see faint marks of water on the walls beyond the arch. Flanking this open space are pillared halls for pilgrims to camp.

Prancing horse theme pillars.

The pillars are simple yet beautiful, featuring geometric, floral and animal motifs. This pillar has a lotus on one face and on the other face is a seven-petaled flower enclosed in a hexagram. Pillar opposite the hexagram had a Swastika.

The Swastika.
The entire length of the complex, one long aisle.

Quite a complex design.
The royal balcony, its quite spacious in there.
The top-most part of the structure is designed for drawing water from the well.
The inside of the balcony. Walls are decorated in simple floral designs and birds like parrots. Queens like parrots. So this is surely a queens bath.
The ceiling.
Parrots and flowers.
A lotus?
I went up to check out the top-most part from where water could be drawn. the two projecting beams have circular holes, probably to fix the wooden frame with a pulley. A rope through the pulley would help draw water easily. What happens to the drawn water?
A canal linking to a small tank ...that's where the trial ends.
I do not remember seeing any board declaring this as a protected monument. I could be missing something. Wish ASI protects this Vijayanagara era monument.

We were all hungry. Neelappa and Malatesh fetched our lunch bag from the car. We settled down one the steps for home made lunch; jolada rotti, palya, palav, curds, pickle, and more. Thanks to Malatesh for another wonderful lunch :) Chewing Yeli-Adaki we headed towards Gangawati.

Venkatappa Bavi Coordinates: 15°34'30"N   76°25'15"E

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