Shambulingesvara Temple, Kundgol

Although I have driven through Kundgol few times years ago, I did not get a chance to visit Shambulingesvara temple. I planned it for a Saturday, itinerary for the day was Kundgol, Tibetan camps near Mundgod and Mishrikote near Hubli.

July 7, 2012

I had hires a cab for the day. Yellappa, Malatesh and I arrived at the temple by 8-15. The temple has ample space around it. A government school is located feet away from the temple, children were entering the classroom for the day.

Kundagol temple
The temple is Ekakutachala, meaning has one Garbhagudi. Shambulingesvara Gudi is a 11th century temple built by the Kadambas and then later renovated by Chalukyas. Now the temple is being cared for; note the pillars around the temple supporting the stone canopy.

Kundgol Shiva temple
This east facing temple has 3 entrances; east, south and north. 64 lathe turned & polished pillars with rich designs hold up the temple's roof. No two pillars are same in decoration ...which is a norm of ancient temple builders.

lathe turned pillars
Inside the Garbhagudi is a Shiva Linga pale brown in color, this is supposed to be rare. Normally Shiva Lingas are dark grey colored. However the pedestal made of black stone. Rituals for the day is yet to begin, the archaka was preparing for the morning pooja.

Shiva Linga
While facing the Garbhagudi, on the left side is a 1'x1' ventilator. A Halegannada inscription is embedded in the walls around the ventilator shaft. Garbhagudi is flanked by murthis of Ganapati and Parvati. As you see the sculptures are intricately sculptured and well finished.

Kundgol temple
There's Basavanna, facing his lord.

Kundgol Basavanna
The temple is a typical Kadamba style construction. Solid columns and beams. A spacious Sukhanasi runs around the periphery. Local folks have left their marks on the temple floor; a series of small pits for some kind of game.

During its hey days, each of these pillars' turned sections would be like mirrors. We are truly fortunate to be seeing such temples.I wonder if builders of those days designed to stand till the end of time.

About four or five pillar are damaged. The temple caretakers said that many years ago a powerful lightening struck here and damaged these pillars.

Delicate designs decorate the columns.

If I try to draw this design on paper, it might not turn out as neatly as it is on stone. wonder if the design conveyed a meaning too. Surely it cannot be a random design.

A lotus on the underside of one of the beams.

The outside of the temple is covered with sculptures of various gods in small mantapas and a continuous row of mini shikharas below. If you take a close look you can notice the damage- each of the characters are defaced. However, we could recognize some characters- a standing Ganapati.


A beautifully carved stone grill covering a ventilator.

By the time we went around the temple, the archaka had finished with the rituals. We did namaskara to Shambulinga and received theerta prasada.

That's Vittal Shripad Hampiholi, the archaka and caretaker of Sri Ramachandresvara Shambulingesvara Gudi. We chatted about another temple of Kundgol; Harihareshwara Gudi.

We had entered the temple premises from the rear entrance. Vittal Shripad had asked us to check out the temple's front entrance. Here we are looking at an amazing sculpture of a perfectly carved spiral and a large lotus..

There's the temple front entrance, a bit dull looking for such a lovely temple.

Vittal Shripad had asked his brother Malatesh Shripad to introduce us to Ashok Laxman Palande, a senior person of Kundgol who could tell give us some more interesting facts. We headed to Ashok's  home. In fact we ended up spending two more hours at Kindgol.

Link to videos of Shambulingesvara Gudi.

Here's a list of ancient temples of Dharwad district-
  1. Somesvara Gudi, Dharwad
  2. Banashankari Gudi, Amargol (between Dharwad and Hubli)
  3. Chandramouleswara Gudi, Unkal, Hubballi
  4. Paarshvanaath Basti, Garag
  5. Paarshvanaath Basti, Amminabhavi
  6. Amriteshwara Temple, Annigeri, Navalgund Taluk
  7. Shambulingesvara Gudi, Kundgol
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