Two bronze idols found at Belanje

MSRS College, Shirva Professor T Murugeshi has found two bronze idols— Lord Vittala and Janardhana dating back to the Vijayanagar period, at Janardhana temple at Belanje near Hebri in Karkala.

In a press release, he said that these two idols are historically, culturally and iconographically significant in the study of South Indian iconography in general and Vijayanagar iconography in particular.

They are referred in the dated, but incomplete, inscription found in the temple. The inscription dates back to Saka year 1326 (1404 AD) and is referred as Vittala Devaru and is worshipped by Bhodhanathirtha Sripada, who was a disciple of Sripada Odeya of Kangu Mutt.

During the reign of Harihara II in Vijayanagar , his governor Pandaridava was ruling Barakuru. The inscription states the direction given by a prince, Mallikarjuna, to provide 630 gold coins and nine ‘murras’ of rice to the temple for the purpose of worshipping Lord Vittala at Brelinje, which is the present day Belanje village.

The idol of Lord Vittala is 28 cm in height and stands on the lotus pedestal in Samabhanga posture.

Vittala is shown with both the hands in Kati-sthana, the right holding the palm to the front and the left holding the conch. This elegant and charming bronze figure ornamented with Karanda-mukhuta on the head, Makara-kundalas in the ears and wears arm ring, hand rings and necklace.

It has transparent lower garment up to thigh. “Both from the stand point of iconography and chronology, this idol is a best specimen for the study,” he said.  Janardhana idol is about 18 cm in height, stands on Padma-pitha in Samabhanga. It has four hands and holds Chakara and Shanka in back hands; in front right hand holds pinda and left shown in Kati-sthana.

  It was used as Bali murthi of the temple and has ‘Upavitha’ and ‘Udarabandha.’ Presiding deity of the temple is about 44 cm in height.  Subrahmanya Holla, hereditary trustee of the temple, and his family members Vasudeva Samaga and Shubhalakshmi, and Prof Murugeshi’s students Vishwaraja Bhat and Srikanth Nayak assisted him in studying and copying the inscription, he said.

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