Mahadeva Temple, Itagi
Mahadeva temple (1112 CE) at Itagi
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The Mahadeva Temple was built based on the general plan of the Amruteshwara Temple at Annigeri (used as the prototype). The Mahadeva Temple has the same architectural components; there is a difference in their articulation.
The Mahadeva Temple at Itagi was built circa 1112 CE by Mahadeva, a commander (dandanayaka) in the army of the Western Chalukya King Vikramaditya VI. Itagi is about 22 miles (35 km) east of Gadag and 40 miles (64 km) west of Hampi. The temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. The well-executed sculptures, finely crafted carvings on walls, pillars and the tower make it a good example of complete Western Chalukyan art which speaks volumes about the taste of the Chalukyan artisans. An inscription dated 1112 CE in the temple calls it "Emperor among Temples" (Devalaya Chakravarti). Art historian Henry Cousens called this monument the "finest in Kannada country after Halebidu". These Western Chalukya monuments, regional variants of existing dravida (South Indian) temples, defined the Karnata dravida tradition. The Mahadeva temple is officially protected as a national monument by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The temple plan consists of a shrine (cella) which is connected to a closed mantapa (hall) by a vestibule (antechamber). The closed mantapa leads to an open pillared mantapa, with the temple as a whole facing the east. Some parts of the temple, such as the cornice and parapet over the outer edge of the roof of the open mantapa are missing. The main temple, the sanctum of which has a linga (symbol of Shiva), is surrounded by thirteen minor shrines, each with its own linga. The temple has two other shrines, dedicated to Murthinarayana and Chandraleshwari, parents of Mahadeva, the Chalukya commander who consecrated the temple.
The closed mantapa has a doorway on each side, with the eastern doorway leading to the open mantapa and the western doorway to the sanctum. The door panels are well wrought and the ceiling of the porches have a ribbed design in them. The decoration of the outer walls follows the same pattern as that of the shrine. The great open mantapa has 64 pillars, 24 of which are full pillars which start from the floor and support the main ceiling. The remaining are half pillars (or "dwarf pillars") which start from the bench (parapet wall) that surrounds the mantapa and support the sloping eaves. The pillars in this hall bear similarities to the porch pillars at the Dodda Basappa Temple at Dambal and the lathe-turned pillars (whose rounded sections are lathe-turned) at the Kasivisvesvara Temple at Lakkundi.
The square ceiling of the open mantapa which are supported by the four central pillars exhibits interesting fretted stonework. The ceiling here has been worked into a decorative arabesque foliage and makaras (mythical beasts) which flow from the mouth of a Kirtimukha (gargoyle or demon face). This type of stonework is considered as high a quality as any. In stark contrast, the interior of the closed mantapa and the sanctum are plain and simple. It is believed that bracket figures that once adorned the outside pillars are now missing. These forward leaning bracket figures (Salabhanjika), which normally represent female forms in various poses (such as dancing or adorning themselves), would have rested on small blocks on the shaft of the pillars (capital), finding support from the underside of the overhanging cornice via a slot in their upper end.
Kirtimukha on superstructure of Vimana
Mahadeva Temple at Itagi (or Ittagi) in the Koppal district, Karnataka
- Cousens (1926), p. 101
- Kamath (2001), pp. 117–118
- Rao, Kishan. "Emperor of Temples crying for attention". The Hindu, June 10, 2002. The Hindu. Retrieved 10 November 2006.
- Quote:"A title it fully deserves, for it is probably the finest temple in Kanarese districts, after Halebidu" (Cousens 1926, p101)
- Hardy (1995), pp. 6–7
- Cousens (1926), p. 100
- Rao, Kishan (10 June 2002). "Emperor of Temples' crying for attention". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 November 2007.
- Cousens (1926), p. 102
- Cousens, Henry (1996) . The Chalukyan Architecture of Kanarese Districts. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India. OCLC 37526233.
- Rao, Kishan. "Emperor among Temples crying for attention". Southern States – Karnataka. The Hindu. Retrieved 10 November 2006.
- Hardy, Adam. "Indian Temple Architecture: Form and Transformation, the Karnata Dravida Tradition, 7th to 13th Centuries". JSTOR. Artibus Asiae. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
- Hardy, Adam (1995) . Indian Temple Architecture: Form and Transformation-The Karnata Dravida Tradition 7th to 13th Centuries. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 81-7017-312-4.
- Kamath, Suryanath U. (2001) . A concise history of Karnataka : from pre-historic times to the present. Bangalore: Jupiter books. LCCN 80905179. OCLC 7796041.
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