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Who cares for Kanakagiri...

Ananda Teertha Pyati, May 29. 2012,
vijayanagara’s glory: The dried-up ‘pushkarni’. Photo by the author

While Hampi and Kanakagiri have a similar legacy, Hampi has found a prominent place on the world tourist map, and Kanakagiri remains forgotten. A small town in Gangavathi taluk of Koppal district, Kanakagiri played a vital role during Vijayanagar dynasty’s reign.

Situated on the banks of a small stream, this historic place was under the control of Palegars and they were ruled by the Vijayanagar emperors. The influence of Vijayanagar empire’s culture and architecture is evident in the town. There are many beautiful monuments scattered across the town.

The principal deity of the palegars (chieftains) was Kanakachalapathi. A large temple has been constructed in honour of the deity. This temple has a rangamantapa in the middle with the support of 34 pillars and the top portion consists of dolls depicting mythological stories from the epics. The temple has five gopuras (towers) and they can all be spotted from the verandah of the temple.

One of the major attractions of this holy shrine is the 30-feet-deep ‘Venkatapathi Bhaavi’, built by Venkatappa Nayak in 1586 AD and meant for the use of king’s family members only.

You can’t spot the well till you approach it. The three sides of the well have a Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma shrine. Built in the Indo-Islamic style, the carvings on the walls and roof are fascinating. There is a seven-pillared structure in the temple complex which produces music when you strike it. A lion with two round stone structures inside its mouth stands in front of the well. The lion has been damaged now, and the round structures are missing. The water of this well was also used to tend the  nearby floral garden. There still exists a system to draw water from the well. However the garden does not exist anymore. A tank called the pushkarni, is in a bad state. A small mantapa standing at the centre lends a sense of symmetry to the whole space. While this is used for washing clothes, another pushkarni is unfortunately being used as a public toilet! Kanakagiri is also home to other temples dedicated to deities such as Shankaralinga, Panduranga, Basavanna, Veerabhadra, Yallamma and Gajalaxmi. Though this is a historically important place, Kanakagiri has been neglected by the Tourism Department as well as by the ASI. The place has seen no development from the last several years.

Though many devotees of Kanakachalapathi, history students and tourists come here every year; there are no basic facilities for them. The State government celebrated ‘Kanakagiri Utsav’ two years ago, but this has not translated into any kind of development, unfortunately.

While Hampi receives crores of rupees for its development, Kanakagiri, which is equally architecturally rich, has been neglected and is crying for attention.


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