Stories in stone: The Trikuteshwara temple in Gadag, and (below) the sanctum sanctorum. Photos by the authorGadag’s temple treasures

The temples are still in use today, and are known for their architectural beauty. As the name suggests, the Trikuteshwara temple has been built for the Trinity of deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. The temple also has a rare idol of Dakshina Murthy, which is said to be Karnataka’s only such idol. There are other idols of Nataraja, Basava and Shakti. The temple also has idols of Ganesha, including the one which has seven rats bearing Ganesha. Special prayers are held at the temple during the time of Mahashivarathri. A rathotsava or car festival is held during Dasara. People throng the temple because it is believed that their illnesses can be cured here. It is believed that the sanctum sanctorum was built during the time of the Hoysalas. It was later that other structures such as the Basava Mantapa came up.

The Saraswathi temple which is inside the Trikuteshwara temple is said to be architecturally wonderful. Each pillar in the temple is designed differently, and no two pillars are identical.

The statue of Saraswathi is said to have been damaged during one of the invasions of the territory. The Trikuteshwara idol, however, has withstood invasions and the test of time. The Veeranarayana temple in Gadag is said to be the favourite deity of the great poet Kumaravyasa. According to one popular story, the poet wrote his poetry in the presence of the deity. Apart from the regular throng of devotees, the temple is also visited by literature lovers eager to see the spot where Kumaravyasa wrote his poetry.

Historical records have it that the Veeranarayana temple was built by Hoysala king Bittideva in 1117 AD. One can also see Chalukya and Vijayanagara style architecture here.

Near the sanctum sanctorum is the ‘Kumaravyasa pillar.’ It is believed that the poet wrote his great work ‘Karnata Bharata Katha Manjari’ near this famed pillar. The two temples are being maintained by the Trikuteshwara-Veeranarayana-Jumma Masidi Trust, which is well-known for its secular intent.

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