Saturday, April 25, 2009

27th Nov 2005: Kudal Sangama

It was afternoon when we reached Kudal Sangama. November in North Karnataka is hot. We passed the Sabha Bhavana, it had a huge metal dome shinning in the afternoon sun. I was amazed how the progress was happening in this remote place, unawares that I was going to be surprised no end as we moved on. We lunched at the KSTDC's Mayura Hotel, enjoyed the North Karnataka thali with Katak jolad roti.

We then proceeded to the Sangamanatha Temple. As is customary removed our chappals on the stands and raced through the tiled courtyard our feet blistering due to the heat. There wasn't much rush and we got darshan immediately. I do not remember much about the insides of the temple now. This temple is located at the confluence of the Malaprabha, Ghataprabha and Krishna rivers rendering the place holy. The temple service is on since the last 800 yrs.

I am Marathi and if it had not been for the Amar Chitra Katha there was a rare possibility of knowing about Basaveshwara. He was a social reformer who propagated casteless society and as it always happens this great reformer was reduced to be known as the founder of Lingayat Dharma. It is a pity why we have to make great men Saints and limit their visions by our thoughts. Basavanna or elder brother as he was loving called was beyond all this and his life story enumerates just that.

We were sitting at the edge of the river when we noticed many people walking towards some bridge like structure. We too started walking towards it.

The top had a dome we took rest a while and took in the beautiful views of the glistening rivers confluencing, yet showing distinct colors. I inquired with a person if there was something there that we were missing. Quite hesitantly he said if you are ready to walk down 9 floors. Then there is a Samadhi that you can see. Wow! a Samadhi in the middle of the river and we were standing at the top projection of it! I was awestruck !! What an engineering marvel.

The story goes like this. When the Almatti Dam was built. The river bed expanded submerging the Samadhi of Basavanna which was supposed to be on the shore. So the engineers built this dry well. It is about 9 floors deep. There was rush near the Samadhi that day but am sure must be a divine experience to sit there in silence on most days. I loved the simplicity of the Samadhi.


Later we went to a nearby place which was like a theme park on the spiritual history from the region. It is a modern day depiction and did not really impress me.

We started back for Bangalore and reached Corporation in the morning on 28th Nov 2005.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

26th-27th Nov 2005: Bijapur

It was late evening by the time we reached Bijapur. The KSTDC hotels were full so we were put up in a budget hotel. It was stinky on the stairs and I got worried about what kind of a room we would get. It was clean and minimal. I told my self it was the last night, before I would be in my own bed.

We had dinner of North Karnataka Thali and retired to bed. Next morning we were going to see the city. I had been to Bijapur couple of times before and knew a bit about its history. Our first visit was to the signature of Bijapur the Gol Gumbaz. The beauty of Gol Gumbaz is in its simple but artistic design and acoustics that are a marvel of architecture even today. The dome is the second largest in the world! The whispering gallery echos even the tear of paper 7 times. It was designed for pleasure performances when microphone were not invented. Today is home to the tombs of the courtesans. It gives a wonderful view of the city from the terrace around the dome.

When Bijapur is mentioned this Gol Gumbaz flashes first in memory
The tombs and the simple designs on the exterior

We then went to the see the Mailk-e-maidan the canon that was made in Ahmadnagar and then brought here. This canon when fired had caused 500 people to go deaf. It weighs 55 tons and in 4 mts long and 1.5 mt in daimeter with the mouth like a lion swallowing an elephant.

Malik-e-Maidan, the cannon that deafened 500 people

The citadel of Bijapur

The Jami Masjid hall, The stone chain handing from the ceiling

The empty tank that must have been full of water at some time in history

The carvings on the pillars, arches, doors evrything is so exquisite


The Quran inscriptions in gold

Jami Masjid campus

We then went to see the Jami Masjid, it is home to the inscription of Quran in gold. The prayer halls are empty at most time, it take you back in time with the beautiful arches and the water tank reminding you of th Adilshahi era.

At times I felt like I was in Lucknow. We went on to Kudal Sangama from Bijapur. I was awestruck by an engineering marvel in this remote place but for now I will close here. Come back to read and find out what it was?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

26th Nov 2005: Aihole

It was dusk when we reached Aihole and the entire heritage site looked wonderful. soaking in the pinkness of the evening sun. While the Durga temple looked luminous as the though the sun streamed a focus on it. It looked resplendent golden. I was stunned by its beauty and at such a moment I am still.

As is seen here the mix of architectural styles gets us guessing. I thought I was entering a stupa when we went into the Durga temple. It is neat sculpturing charachteristic spacing out of large figurines than intricate carvings.

Mahishasur Mardini in Durga temple: you see it in Pattadkal too.

Lad Khan temple : Would you believe this was the home of a Barber?

This temple has Shiv linga but due to the panchayat hall built in people wonder if it was a meant to be a temple or was it home to a barber? I was wondering about the status of barbers in the kingdom. Our guide told us about the barber angle and am trying to find it on records about this temple, not been successful yet.

Here the interlocking of stone is what leaves you spell bound. No concrete was used and the building still stands the test of time, wishing that the barbarians had not touched it, we would have been able to study the structures in their completeness. The jali windows are beautiful allowing just enough light and air for people circumventing the temple.
Align Center

Long shot of the complex

The excavation and restoration at the heritage site.

Aihole is such a small town. When our bus stopped at the site. The tea stall owner ran to get tea powder so he could get bussiness from us. Tough the tea looked disgusting we bought it coz we knew for another couple of hours we would get nothing.

The bus took off in the direction of Bijapur through bumpy roads and impenetrable darkness. We were to halt for the night in Bijapur. Come back for the next post to read about it.