An ode to Lord Shiva

An ode to Lord Shiva

An ode to Lord Shiva

Sometimes you are headed towards a certain destination without realising that the journey en route may spring a surprise on you.

Something similar happened to me on a recent trip from Pattadkal to Badami. The driver of my taxi recommended that I stop by at the Mahakuta group of temples.

I was rather surprised, since I had not heard about it before, but I agreed.

A mixed group

I was very glad that I took the decision as this was a hidden gem, waiting to be recovered.

The landscape was scenic and I was pleasantly surprised to see corn plantations being harvested by farmers on the way.

Located in Mahakuta, a town in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, this is an important place of worship with a well-known Shiva temple.

At the entrance, I came across an inscription that said that this place was a part of the ancient capital of Badami.

All the temples in this complex belong to either the 6th or 7th Century and were constructed by the early kings of the Chalukya dynasty of Badami.

A huge blackstone temple chariot was seen outside, giving us a sneak peek into what to expect inside the temple complex.

A large beige-coloured archway and a few steps led us to the entrance of the enclosure that housed the group of temples of Mahakuta. Just outside the temple complex, is a small shrine for Ganesha
Upon enquiring, I found out that a small cradle with a miniature Ganesha statuette was being swung across this tank by childless couples to pray for children.

As we entered the premises, I was struck by the sheer number of beautifully crafted stone sculptures and statutes here. The complex has a lovely green cover with banyan and other huge trees surrounding the stone architecture which makes for a brilliant visual sight.

The centre stage here is a water body in the form of the large tank called the Vishnu Pushkarni and an ablution tank called Papavinasha Tirtha, fed by a natural mountain spring that flows within the temple complex.

What is surprising is that, the place is silent at the entrance, but the pond is crowded with swimmers, revealing the architectural prowess of the Chalukyas in soundproofing. The place itself is scenic but could use better maintenance.

The Dravidian style Mahakutesvara Temple (after which the place is named) and the Mallikarjuna Temple are the largest in the vicinity.

There is a small shrine at the centre of the Vishnu Pushkarni and in it is a four-faced Shiva Linga.

There are several shrines of Vishnu, Varaha and Veerabhadra. Mahaakuta is also called ‘Dakshina Kashi’ due to the presence of many Shiva lingas.

As we were coming out of the complex, we chanced upon a villager selling thick and fresh curd in earthen pots, a speciality of the region. Mahakuta is 15 km from Badami and 10 km from Pattadakal.

The temples are open from 6 am to 6 pm. Since there is no place to stay at Mahakuta, Badami is the best option for accommodation. It is ideal to use a local taxi service as public transport is rare.

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