Reconstructing past glory

Reconstructing past glory

ARCHITECTURAL SPLENDOUR The Archaeological Survey of India has  reconstructed temples on the verge of collapse, at Umapura-Laheshwara in Basavakalyan taluk.

The town of Umapura was earlier known as ‘Uma Maheshwara’ and was full of ponds and craters, with blooming lotuses. It is said that in centuries gone by, the lotuses for the royal palaces were procured from these ponds.

Kalyana was the capital of the Chalukyas during the time of Someshwara I. His second son Vikramaditya, the VI was coronated in 1076, and he ruled for fifty years. It was during his reign that Kalyana reached its peak of glory. Several temples were constructed during Vikramaditya’s period, among them was Umapura’s temples, according to historical records.

The Mahadeva temple that is the shape of a chariot has three mukha mantapas. There are sculptures on the walls of the temple, including those of gods, goddesses, dancers et al. Apart from the Mahadeva temple, is a Parvathi temple, with the deity of Uma-Maheshwara installed.

Then, there is the Neelakantheshwara temple, which had collapsed. Efforts are now on to reconstruct this temple. In the vicinity of this temple is a big well, where it is believed, one can see a reflection of deity Ganesha.

The Ganesha idol installed in the vicinity is eight feet high and five feet wide, and is flanked by 12-feet-high pillars. Try and shake the pillars a bit, and the sound of a series of temple bells ringing resonates. That’s because the two pillars are indeed separated by a row of bells.

It is said that there was a Shiva-Parvathi temple in the town centre. Today, there are only houses there.

One kilometre away from the town is the Padmavathi kere. There’s a statue of deity Padmavathi on top of the hill on the outskirts of the village. It is said to have been a Jain basadi at some point.

One kilometre south of Umapura is a place called Raiwad, where the palace of Bicchala, the ruler of Kalachuri dynasty is said to have been located. Stones from here were carried to Basavakalyan for the construction of the fort there, locals say.

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