Visiting Karnataka's ancient capital

Visiting Karnataka's ancient capital


Manne, also called Manyapura, situated in Bengaluru rural district’s Nelamangala taluk, was once the capital of the Ganga dynasty who ruled parts of Karnataka and neighbouring Tamil Nadu between 350 to 1000 CE. 

Today, Manne is a tiny hamlet some 28 km outside of Bengaluru, with a few houses and a board that simply reads “Welcome to the Capital of the Gangas - Manyapura”

One of the strongest dynasties of Karnataka, the Gangas started their rule with Kolar as the capital, then shifted to Manyapura before finally moving to Talakadu in Mysuru district.

Manyapura is also the site of the Ganga King Sripurusha’s victory over the Pallavas of Kanchipuram in the late 8th century AD.

The place that abounds with historical monuments has been neglected by the Archaeological Survey of India and the State government.

To begin with, there is the ruins of the ancient temple of Kapileshwara, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This 1,200-year-old temple has a magnificent stone sculpture of two Dwarapalakas at the entrance, which is imposing even today. 

Inside, there is a partly damaged Nandi statue but the idol of the main deity is missing.

Less than 500 metres north of the Kapileshwara temple is the Someshwara temple, built by the Cholas, with a shivalinga and a statue of Nandi.

Saptha matheyaru 

In between these two temples, there are seven idols lying on the bank of an ancient tank, the Saptha matheyaru (Sapthamathrikas) or seven divine mothers of Hindu mythology — Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Indrani and and Chamunda.

Akkathangiyara gudi

The remains of an ancient Jain basadi is also present in the midst of Manyapura. Referred to as the Sooleyara Devasthana by the locals, the basadi was said to be built by temple dancers.

Mannemma Devi temple

This is said to be the only temple where the Goddess is seated on an elephant. The provenance of the idol is better understood when we consider that the royal emblem of the Ganga also features an elephant with an umbrella.

All said, Manyapura is a place bursting with history — home to the capital of one of Karnataka’s greatest dynasties and the site of several important battles.