Chandaalingeshwara Gudi, Bilagi

November 24, 2012

This was the second surprise discovery of the day; we noticed a sign pointing the direction to Chandaalingeshwara Kshetra. We did not know what to expect here because we had no clue about this place. The terrain was interesting- hilly and wooded, not many people around but we did see few barren fields. The temple stood where the road ended. This is the temple's Mahadwara ~ main entrance, built in a pit. Three steps descend into the gateway, then an aisle flanked by seating platforms. I guess the gateway pit used to be filled with water so that visitors could wash their feet and then enter the temple.

To the left of the Mahadwara are columns and beams... seems like an incomplete shelter for pilgrims.

And to the right is a shelter and the unique walls which create a fort like look.

The gateway as seen from inside.

A short walk thorough a sandy path to the next gateway. This temple seems to be built in the path of a major stream- I say that because of the presence of sand here. Rain water might have washed down sand from the hill next to this temple. In fact the temple is situated in a bowl at the base of a hill.

A temple has been built in the outer wall. A badly damaged but a very interesting sculpture of Trimurthy on the lintel. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. As you see Shiva is dominating in the form of Nataraja. Parvati, Nandi and Ganesha are also present. The character riding the elephant could be Indra.
A close look at the top part of the outer wall.
The inner gateway. I wonder why people are obsessed about painting stone structures.
This is not just one temple but a complex of many temples. This orange-pink coated structure is the main temple. It's a Shiva temple.

The poojari told if rains are normal, the Garbhagudi was be water logged. Right next to this temple is a closed well with a flight of steps leading into it. Water was clear and odor free. A very interesting place, it was very peaceful. Every surface of the temple interior is covered in oil paint. Madness. Anyway, the poojari performed Arati and even allowed Malatesh to made a video.

Opposite the temple is Basavanna... he looks chubby :-) A pair of Ganesha sculptures were places at Basavanna's feet (see inset).

This white structure is the second largest temple in this complex.

I went around the inner wall. Some how this place reminds me of Mahakoota. A sculpture leaning against the inner wall looked like a Jaina image.

Yes, its a Jain image.

Images of two ladies.. they could be princesses. Notice the pattern of the skirt. Thank God, the painters have spared these two sculptures.

This is exactly behind the structure housing the Basavanna ~ Nandi.
Ths row of 24 small temples is along the Southern wall of the complex. I remember seeing a sculpture in one temple- see inset. The sculpture depicts a couple sitting cross-legged. The man is bearded and wearing a heavy looking turban. A Shiva Linga is floating over the woman's head.

Few more small temples. most of them were labeled with names of the Gods they were dedicated to.

The temple poojari could not tell us what period the temple belonged to. Neither did any of the boards placed at the temple entrance. Since the temples are built in sandstone and reminded me of Mahakoota, this could be a temple built during Badami Chalukyan rule. Do check out the video of Chandaalingeshwara Kshetra.

We were hungry but decided against the idea of having lunch at the temple. We drove a kilometer or so and found small tree next to huge rock bed. The spot was deserted, silent, clean and light breeze blowing away the heat. Great! We had a relaxed lunch, menu was katak rotti, madki kaal, cucumber, tomato, curds, chatni...

Few weeks later we happened to read an article on Chandaalineshwara in Samyukta Karnataka. The article states the temple is a Madami Chalukyan creation and mentions the presence of a partly damaged 7-line Halegannada inscription dated 1345 BCE. According to the inscription, land had been donated by two people named Bhandari and Hegde Maramayya. Also another name Nandi is mentioned. However, it is not clear as to who these people are. The article also mentions this might have been a major Jain center.

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