Kamala Narayana Temple

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Kamala Narayana Temple is at Degaon (Degamve/Devgram)[1] in Belgaum District, Karnataka.

Degaon is 5 km from Kittur, 10 km from Halasi and 24 km from Bailhongal. It is famous for Kadamba style Kamala Narayana temple with rich antiquity. The place name might have originated from its temple complex Devagrama, meaning a village of God. The Kamala Narayana Temple was built by the Kadamba queen Kamaladevi in the 12th century. It contains sculptures, including lions and floral motifs.

Degaon near Kittur, Karnataka
Degaon near Kittur, Karnataka

History[edit]

Kadamba Kannada inscription at Kamala Narayana Temple

The Kadambas were known for their own style of temple building. The dynasty was founded by Mayura Sharma in about 4th century AD. Halasi in Belgaum District was their second capital where there are some temples built by the Kadamba rulers. The Kamala Narayana Temple in Devgram[2] is quite well known.

The Hoysalas have used similar styles in their temples.

Kadamba style[edit]

Kamala Narayana Temple, Degaon near Kittur, Karnataka

The distinguishing feature of the Kadamba style is the tapering terraced tower, a perfect pyramid, the vigorous and purposeful line of each of these terraces attracting the eye even from a long distance. The Kadamba style would seem to have reached its perfection in the Kamala Narayana Temple at Degamve. It is a typical example of a temple built in this style which had come under the Hoysala influence. It was constructed by Tippoja, the architect of God Bankesvara at the command of Kamala Devi, the queen of the Goa Kadamba King Sivachitta, in the middle of the 12th century.

Architecture[edit]

The temple is rectangular and consists of three cells with the pillared hall running from north to south in front of the shrines on the west side. Each of these shrines is divided into two parts, Garbhagriha and Sukhanasi. The frames of the doorways of the Sukhanasi are carved with creepers. The pieced stone windows which surround the doorways are more ornamental than in any other Kadamba temple. The Garbhagihas have, as in other Kadamba temples, the dedicatory block with the image of Gaja-Lakshmi.

Kamala Narayana Temple, Degaon, Karnataka
Kamala Narayana Temple, near Kittur, Karnataka
Degaon near Kittur, Karnataka

Cells[edit]

  • The first cell contains the image of Narayana.
  • The second cell has the icon of Lakshmi-Narayana with Lakshmi seated on the lap of Vishnu. Garuda and Maruti are standing on either side of this image.
  • The third cell bears the image of Kamala with two attendants on either side.

Walls[edit]

The walls of the temple are adorned with niche having plasters surmounted by terraced pyramidal towers in the Kadamba style crowned with a Kalasha on the parapets surrounding the Mukhamandapa.

The following friezes are sculptured from top to bottom:

  • pillars with roaring lions between them
  • pyramidal towers surmounting these pillars and having dancing girls in poses between them and
  • beautiful scroll work on top.

Ceiling[edit]

The ceiling has pendant lotuses, all of them artistic pieces of workmanship remarkable for richness of ornamentation and elaboration of details.

Gallery[edit]