One of the finest examples of the Rashtrakutas, Kalyani Chalukyas (Western Chalukyas) and the Marathas is the Purada Siddeshwara Temple in the ancient town of Haveri. This place of great antiquity has been mentioned in the Mahabharat and is revered for its spiritual and religious potency.
Also known as Siddeshwara Temple, this west-facing temple is designed as an ekakuta (single sanctum) but interestingly has a shrine dedicated to Lord Ugra Narasimha in the eastern part. This temple of the late 11th – early 12th century has fascinated historians, artists, architects and art connoisseurs for centuries for its exemplary 1300 stone carvings.
In fact, though the temple layout comprises of the typical mandapa, antarala and garbha griha, each and every part of the temple from the base of the pillar to its capital, to the ceilings and roof panels and tiers in the shikhara is a sight to behold and transports you to a mesmerizing world of extraordinary artistic mastery and architectural excellence.
Words fail to express one’s delight and astonishment while viewing the different types of decorated and polished pillars, intricately carved sculptures on the external facades with great attention to the facial expression, posture, mudra, jewellery, garments and proportion, panels depicting stories from the Puranas, gods and goddesses, musicians, dancers and sages and the richly embellished ceilings in series of repetitive patterns, lotus design and Hindu symbols.
The miniature niches with ornate carvings on each tier in the shikhara are a revelation and exude charm, delicacy and grandeur.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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