Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In Search of Kanakagiri's Ashokan Edicts -2

 While researching about this place, our inquisitiveness about King Bindusura (Father of Ashoka) increased. To our surprise, sadly, very little has been found out about him or documented as compared to king Chandragupta Maurya (Father of Bindusura) and Ashoka himself. Though Bindusara was the key person responsible for the consolidation of the Mauryan empire post Chandragupta era, it seems somehow the life story of Bindusura is missing. It is also quoted at many places that Sushima (elder brother of Ashoka) was the choice of Bindusura as the next heir of Mauryan empire. But Ashoka killed him and 5 other brothers to gain the throne. King Ashoka's life may be divided into two phases, that during pre Kalinga war and post Kalinga war, the war being the turning point.. Ashokan edicts give us the insight of Ashoka's second half of his life, the Buddhist way of life. The edicts are present even today across India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There are 9 such documented Ashokan edicts in Karnataka, all of which have been visited by and written about by a fellow blogger. (Link: Ashokan edicts).
Major Rock Edicts of Ashoka Dhauli , Orissa
Major Rock Edicts of Ashoka at Dhauli Orissa 
Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka Gavi Matha Koppal
Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka at Gavi Matha Koppal 
In continuation with our previous post, our perseverance was finally rewarded with a piece of information being disclosed by people at the temple about a rock inscription near Kattle Basavanna temple, though it wasn't sure whether  it was the same one we were looking for. They also gave us directions to this temple. We reached the temple and searched for the inscription, but found none. A person directed us to a few stones close by the temple. On close observation, we found one of them to be inscribed and poured water for further investigation that revealed inscriptions in Kannada language.
Kannada Inscriptions Near Kattle Basavanna Temple

We closely checked all the rocks around the temple but found nothing. We went back and inquired  with people at the temple regarding the edicts. The same person who showed us an inscription near the temple also told us that there are some inscriptions atop a hill located close by. This information gave us goose bumps since Ashokan edicts are located on/close to hills. On asking him for more details about the same, he accepted our invitation to join us in our quest. Hereon, we headed towards the Lakshmi Narashima hill, situated about 2 km from Kanakagiri. And our search for the edicts continued!....
Lakshmi Narshima Hill 

Monday, July 25, 2016

In Search of Kanakagiri's Ashokan Edicts

Our quest to find the surviving Ashokan Edicts in Karnataka took us to the elusive Ashokan edicts at Kanakagiri. Probably there is no Ashokan edicts here or the information on the internet is incomplete regarding the same. 'Kanakagiri', translated as 'Hill of Gold' is located about 30 km from Gangavathi in Koppal district. After visiting a friend's place at Gangavathi, we got a chance to go in search of the edicts. Early next morning we headed towards Kanakagiri. From various sources of information, we had learned that the Ashokan Edicts are placed inside the temple though unaware of its exact location.
Kanakagiri
The Main Entrance 
Kanakagiri is  referred at many places as "Ashoka's Swarnagiri". Our task of finding the edicts began as we entered the the first temple which was the Kanakachalapathi temple. This temple was built during the Vijayanagar period by the Nayakas of Kanakagiri. While our eyes were eagerly in search of the edicts, a room in front the main Gopuram caught our attention. On carefully  inspecting the room interiors for the presence of any edicts, we found none. A beautiful stone slab depicting  a scene involving the king and queen was placed in front of the room.
Kanakagiri Ashokan Edicts
The Stone Panel Depicting a Scene between King and Queen 
Kanakachalapathi Temple
The Kanakachalapathi Temple 
As we entered the temple we sighted three big inscription panels, a close examination of them revealed that they had nothing related to emperor Ashoka. This temple is dedicated to Lord Kanakachalapathi, a form of Vishnu. The Sabhamantapa has beautiful pillars and stories from Ramayana etched at the top of the wall. The temple has been maintained very well, but no one here had any idea about the Ashokan edicts. The priest was not all in the mood to discuss about Ashokan edicts and the temple manager along with others present around too confirmed that there is no such edicts present here.
The Stone Inscriptions 
The Sabhamantapa
The Dwikuta Temple 
A Episode From Ramayana
 On showing them the book we referred to on Kanakagiri that spoke about the edicts, they remained unconvinced, until one among them finally gave in.....

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Panchalingeshwara Temple, Govindanahalli, Mandya

The Panchalingeshwara temple of Govindanahalli is one of the few surviving Panchakuta (Pancha-five; Kuta-shrine) temples built during the Hoysala period. Govindanahalli, an obscure village in the Krishnarajpet taluk of Mandya district was once a flourishing town under Hoysala rule and is believed to have been a part of the ancient Kabbahunadu. The temple was built in the 13th century during the reign of the Hoysala king  Veera Someshwara.
The Panchalingeshwara Temple, Govindanahalli
The Panchalingeshwara Temple
  Originally, this temple was a Chatushkuta (four shrined) built in dravidian style. However, there was an addition of another garbhagriha on the eastern side categorizing the temple under panchakuta type. Each garbhagriha has a separate antarala, opening into a common navaranga. There are two north facing entrances with Mukhamantapas and Nandimantapas. Unlike other Hoysala temples which possess platform as a common feature, this temple is devoid of the same. The five Shiva Lingas here are named Ishanyeshwara, Tatpurusheshwara, Aghoreshwara, Vamadeveshwara and Sadyojateshwara, attributing them to the Pandavas of Mahabharata.
The Five Shrines
 Ravana 
Narashima, Vamana, Parshurama and Rama (4th,5th, 6th and 7th of the Vishnu's Dasavatara)
Vishnu Dasavatara
Matsya, Kurma and Varaha (1st,2nd and 3rd of Vishnu Dasavatara)
Lord Vishnu and  his incarnations 
  The shikharas of all the five shrines are richly decorated in dravidian style. An intriguing feature of this temple is that though the temple is dedicated mainly to Lord Shiva, the outer walls of the temple carry images of various forms of Lord Vishnu as a majority, similar to the Malleshwara temple of Aghalaya. This may be due to the fact that the temple was built during two different phases of Hoysala rule. There are some beautiful sculptures inside the temple, that of Shanmukha, Ganesha, Mahishashuramardini and so on. The lady care-taker in charge of the temple had maintained the temple clean and tidy though she was unaware of any history or information related to the temple. This temple is probably the only Panchakuta temple surviving today which is in good shape compared to the others, namely the Panchalingeshwara temple of Somanathapura and the Panchalingeshwara temple of Halebidu, which are in complete ruins.
Nandi Mantapa
Saiva Dwarapalaka
The Little Guide
The Ground plan of Panchalingeshwara Temple (From S Shettar The Hoysala Temples)

References:
1. The Hoysala Temples - S Shettar
2. The temples of Karnataka - Dr. K M Suresh 

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