Gadag’s famed temple

The Veeranarayana Swamy temple is an ancient one belonging to the Hoysala dynasty built by Vishnuvardhana during the 12th century AD, but renovated in recent times. A tall tree graces the front of the temple. The entrance to the temple is through a gate over which is a tall impressive gopuram (tower).

It has a big paved courtyard with a Garudagamba (a tall flagpost) at the centre, and ashwattakatte (the ficus tree) at the corner where women worship naga idols. The gopuram over the sanctum and the sanctum itself are examples of Chalukya sculptures whereas the Gardudagamba and the Rangamantapa are examples of Hoysala sculpture.

A few sculptures on the gopuram at the entrance that are still standing are testimony to the sculptural brilliance of the Hoysalas. The hall in front of the sanctum has pillars but with few decorations. The tall black stone idol of Veeranarayana Swamy is a major draw for pilgrims. A puja is held regularly at designated hours and seva could be offered by purchase of tickets.

Some smaller temples around the main temple include Garuda, Laxmi Narayana, Sarpeswara and Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy. Behind the sanctum is an enclosure, Narasimha Thirtha, a small water tank where it is believed the classical poet Kumaravyasa, had a dip.

There is a popular belief that Mahakavi Kumaravyasa composed his epic Karnataka Bharatha Katha Manjari sitting in the pillared hall (rangamantapa) in front of the sanctum. A kalyana mantapa for conducting ceremonies is located nearby. Water from an ancient well in the courtyard has now been made suitable for drinking, by way of rainwater harvesting.

Gadag is about 375 km northwest of Bangalore and accessible by road and rail. The temple lies in the outskirts of the town and could be reached by an auto-rickshaw.

DBN Murthy

Ancient caves near Chitradurga’s fort

The Chandravalli Gardens near the famous fort at Chitradurga is a place full of rocks and caves. Take the Ankali Math, which is one of the underground caves, in the area. It is 70 feet deep, with steps to reach the bottom of the tunnel. 

Chandravalli Gardens is known to be an ancient archaeological site where painted pottery and coins from the Hoysala-Kadambas and Shatavahana period have been discovered.

The Ankali Math caves date back to the pre-Christian era, historians say. The cave contains passages, hideouts and prison cells. There are stone carvings and paintings showing Buddhist as well as Hindu influences. There is a provision to harvest rain water and corridors that ensure proper lighting.

VL Prakasha

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