Quest for sacred sculptures

Quest for sacred sculptures

There are many temples dedicated to the God of prosperity and good beginnings in Karna-taka. Let us go on a trail of some of the most popular Ganesha temples in the State.

Let us begin from Bangalore with Doddaganesha Temple in Basavanagudi. The monolithic Ganesha is about 18 ft in height and 16 ft in width. The God is also known as Shakthi Ganapati or Satya Ganapati. Situated on the Bull Temple Road, the Dodda Ganapati Temple was built by Kempe Gowda I. When Kempegowda was on a stroll, he noticed a boulder, which had a figure of Lord Ganesha engraved on it. He then ordered his sculptors to carve out a huge monolithic idol of Lord Ganesha out of the rock.

A little over 100 kms from Bangalore and about 12 kms from Mulbagal you can visit the Kurudumale Mahaganapathi temple. At the foot of the hill there is a half constructed temple with great serenity. The Ganesha idol is 13.5 feet in height. Legend has it that theres no evidence of the installer of the statue in Kurudumale. 

The coastal region of the State has at least five interesting Ganesha temples all along the coast. In all these temples, the idol of Ganesha is in the standing posture. These temples are located at Gokarna, Idagunji, Annegudde, Hatti-angady and Sharavu at Mangalore.

Beginning from Mangalore, we shall travel north to visit these temples. Our first stop is the Sharavu Mahaganapati temple. Besides being a Ganesha temple, it is also dedicated to his parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Legend has it that Maharaja Veerabahu, the ruler of Tuluva region once shot an arrow accidentally killing a cow. To atone for his sin the king erected a Shivalinga giving rise to Sharavu (which means arrow) Mahaganapathi temple.

In Udupi, you will find Sri Vinayaka Temple at Anegudda.  Situated in a place called Kumbhasi, about 9 kms from Kundapur, Anegudda means elephant hill and this hill is the abode of the elephant God. The main sanctum sanctorum contains the majestic figure of Vinayaka resplendent in silver Armour, in standing posture.

Not far from here is the 8th century temple of Vara Siddhivinayaka in Hattiangady. It is situated close to the river Varahi. The idol in this temple is made up of Saligrama Shila (a variety of soapstone for making idols). A little further away is the Idagungi Mahaganapati Temple in Idagundji, located on the left bank of river Sharavathi. The idol made of black stone is in standing posture and has short legs. The fifth and the last temple in the coastal circuit is the Ganapati temple in Gokarna.  It is said that this Ganapati temple was founded by the early Kadambas (5-6th century), who ruled over the major part of the Karnataka and parts of Goa and Maharashtra. The five feet idol is one of the famous and very ancient two-handed Ganapati in Karnataka (the other being Idagunji).

One of the oldest and historically important Ganesha idol is the Kadalekalu Ganesha in Hampi. This giant statue of Ganesha was carved out of a huge boulder at the northeastern slope of the Hemakuta hill. The belly of this statue resembles a Bengal gram (Kadalekalu, in local language) and hence, the name.

This 4.5 meters (15 feet) tall statue is one among the largest sculptures in Hampi.
This trail is by no means complete. There are hundreds of other interesting Ganesha temples. The God of prosperity is seen and found everywhere.

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