Mahakuta group of temples

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Mahakuta
ಮಹಾಕೂಟ
Mahakoota
town
Mahakuta is located in Karnataka
Mahakuta
Mahakuta
Coordinates: 15°55′58″N 75°43′18″E / 15.93278°N 75.72167°E / 15.93278; 75.72167Coordinates: 15°55′58″N 75°43′18″E / 15.93278°N 75.72167°E / 15.93278; 75.72167
Country India
State Karnataka
District Bagalkot
Languages
 • Official Kannada
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Nearest city Badami
Mahakutesvara temple (painted white) in the dravida style (rear) and Sangamesvara temple in nagara style (front)

The Mahakuta group of temples is located in Mahakuta, a town in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka state, India. It is an important place of worship for Hindus and the location of a well-known Shaiva monastery. The temples are dated to the 6th or 7th century and were constructed by the early kings of the Chalukya dynasty of Badami. The dating of the temples is based on the style of architecture which is similar to that of the temples in nearby Aihole[1] and the information in two notable inscriptions in the complex: the Mahakuta Pillar inscription dated between 595–602 CE (written in the Sanskrit language and Kannada script);[2] and an inscription of Vinapoti, a concubine of king Vijayaditya, dated between 696–733 CE and written in the Kannada language and script.[3]

Basic plan[edit]

Mallikarjuna temple (at rear), a dravida style temple at Mahakuta

The Karnataka artisans of the 7th century achieved a certain eclectism in their architecture by building south Indian dravida style temples adjacent to north Indian nagara style temples.[4] Further, their dravida and nagara styles were local, indigenous variants and unrelated to the architectural styles that prevailed in modern Tamil Nadu to the south, and Central India ("Madhyadesha") to the north.[5] They achieved this by combining the basic plan of one style with characteristics of the other. The dravida style temples here have a tiered tower over the shrine which is capped with a dome like structure. The nagara style temples use a curvilinear tower over a shrine which has a square plan, and is capped by a ribbed stone.[4] The development of this hybrid style, achieved by combining the typological features of the two basic architectural styles, is considered a peculiarity of the Karnataka region and defines the beginnings of the Vesara style of architecture.[6]

Sangamesvara temple with nagara superstructure at Mahakuta

A natural mountain spring flows within the temple complex and feeds fresh water into a large tank called the Vishnu Pushkarni ("Lotus pool of god Vishnu") and an ablution tank called Papavinasha Tirtha ("Tank of Ablution"). Among the several shrines in the complex, the Mahakutesvara temple, built in the dravida style, and the Mallikarjuna temple are the largest. There is a small shrine in the centre of the Vishnu Pushkarni tank and in it is a Shiva linga (universal symbol of god Shiva) called Panchamukha linga ("five faced linga"), one face for each direction and one on top.[1]

Inscriptions[edit]

Vishnu temple with nagara superstructure (left) and a shrine with Kadamba superstructure (right) at Mahakuta

The Mahakuta complex has provided historians two important 7th century inscriptions. The Mahakuta Pillar inscription,[7] dated variously between 595–602 CE records a grant made by Durlabhadevi, a queen of Pulakesi I (the father of king Mangalesa). The queen supplemented an earlier grant with an endowment of ten villages, including Pattadakal and Aihole to god Mahkutesvara Natha. In addition, the inscription provides important information about the Chalukyan lineage, their military expeditions, their conquests and early monuments.[2] The pillar goes by the name Dharma-jayastambha ("Pillar of victory of religion") and is on exhibition at a Bijapur archaeological museum.[3] The other inscription, ascribed to Vinapoti, king Vijayaditya's concubine, is inscribed in the porch of the Mahakutesvara temple. It describes a grant of rubies and a silver umbrella to the deity Mahakutesvara in addition to a piece of land.[3]

7th century Kannada inscription of Vinapoti, concubine of Badami Chalukya King Vijayaditya
Sculpture of Ardhanareeshvara (form of the Hindu god Shiva) at the Mahakuta temples

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cousens (1926), p. 51
  2. ^ a b The Mahakuta Pillar and Its Temples, p. 253, Carol Radcliffe Bolon
  3. ^ a b c Cousens (1926), p. 52
  4. ^ a b Sinha (2000), p. 34
  5. ^ Sinha (2000), p. 35
  6. ^ Sinha (2000), p. 38
  7. ^ The Mahakuta Pillar and Its Temples. JSTOR 3249519. 

References[edit]

Karnataka State Gazetteer 1983.