Being a Hyderabadi, I always had this two questions from people during weekends…
What do you guys do over your weekend?
Don’t we have any weekend gateways around Hyderabad?
In fact, I used to share few places which most of them are aware of it, I don’t really have many places to share to go out for a drive over the weekends from Hyderabad.
I could now realize the fact that most of us haven’t really explored the surreal beauty around Hyderabad. If you are nature lover, yes you have one now which is 2 hours drive from Hyderabad.
Mannemkonda is best enjoyed when the sky is overcast, which makes the 20kms journey from Mahbubnagar delightful. The varied hues of Nature and fresh air rejuvenated my senses. The secluded green valley’s surrounding the hold this temple best kept secrets.
Before we arrived our destination, we had several stopovers to capture the nature at its best. I felt exactly like rolling greens spread like a carpet, floating clouds jealously hugged the Hillocks alongside and a seamless path ahead dotted with beautiful nature.
Manyamkonda is the hill where the Lord Venkateshwara Swamy Temple is located. This place is very calm, mesmerizing, beautiful and of course a perfect destination for devotees and tourists. It is believed that this ancient temple is more than 500 years old. This temple is located in a cave which is reportedly balanced on top of the three hills. It is considered as one of the important spiritual centres in Mahbubnagar District. Here pilgrims can have a glimpse of the ancient caves where the sages were believed to have practiced penance.Hence this place was called as Munulakonda (Munulu means Saints and Konda means hill) and later as days passed by it has been referred as Mannemkonda or Manyamkonda.
On the heart of the forest and on the hilltop, Lord Venkateshwara Swamy could be found majestically. The shrine is located on a hill which is 915 m high and at a distance of 2 Km from the village.
One can enjoy the nature’s splendour and scenic beauty at the temple. The temple has a beautiful Rajagopuram with the images of Gods and Goddesses carved on it. Very rarely we can find Lord Venkateshwara as a “Swayambhumurthi” which means self manifested. Seeing Lord Venkateshwara in the forest, with lush greens is truly a blissful experience.
If you are a nature lover and wanted to spend time peacefully plan for a trip to Manyamkonda. Have a nice week my dear friends!!
Pattadakal is located on the left bank of the Malaprabha River in Bagalkot district and is 22 km from Badami, 10kms from Aihole and 400kms from Hyderabad. It was once the capital of the Chalukya dynasty of Karnataka between the 7th and 8th centuries is the cluster of ten beautifully carved temples which represents the high point of an eclectic art which achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern(Nagara) and southern(Dravidian) India.UNESCO in 1987 included Pattadakal in its list of World Heritage sites.
The sculptural art of these temples is marked by classiness of the Chalukyan dynasty. Pattadakal emerges as a heavenly site with its superb architectural marvels in a picture-perfect lane.
An impressive series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary, can be seen there. One masterpiece from the group stands out – the Temple of Virupaksha.
Chalukyan rulers are great patrons because of them, their artisans did experiments and innovated a new dimension in temple architecture. . It is in their period that transition from rock-cut medium to structural temples took place.
Out of all, four temples are built in Dravidian style, four in Nagara style and Papanatha Temple illustrates a perfect blend of both styles of architecture.The important ones are discussed below in detail.
Virupaksha temple is the largest and grandest of all temples in Pattadakal built in 8th Century, built by Queen Lokamahadevi (Trilokya mahadevi)in 745 to commemorate her husband’s victory (Vikramaditya II) over the Pallavas of Kanchi. This temple has a sanctum, an inner passage, pillared navaranga and triple entrances from the north, east and the south porches. It has a massive gateway in front from the east and a small gate behind. There are inscriptions and imposing stone carved figures inside the stone mantapa. It has a beautiful Nandi Mandapam with a large Nandi statue gazing in the direction of the Lord. The Kailasanatha temple at Ellora was built based on the model of Virupaksha temple.
Mallikarjuna Temple is a smaller version of the Virupaksha temple and was built by Vikramadiyta’s second queen Trilokyamahadevi in 745. This temple is also was constructed by Rani Trilokyamahadevi to celebrate the victory (by Vikramaditya II) over the Pallavas. The Mallikarjuna temple was built immediately after and close to the Virupaksha temple (It has a similar plan), with a 4 storeyed vimana with a circular griva and shikhara. Mallikarjuna temple in Dravidian style. It is in close proximity with the Sanghameshvara temple in design, construction and sculpture, but smaller in size. The porch has a beautiful image of Narasimha killing Hiranyakashipu and two female idols. Here are two grand images on both the sides of the entrance to the navaranga. The eighteen pillars of the navaranga have figures pertaining to Ramayana, Mahabharatha and those representing social conditions of those days. On the ceiling are beautiful figures of Gajalakshmi and Shiva-Parvathi with Nandi. On the external walls are sculptures like Shiva, Nandi, Lakulisha, Nataraja, etc.The temple is celebrated for its artistic sculptures.
Papanatha Temple is the only temple that has been designed on both north and south Indian styles of architecture. Containing a Nagara styled Vimanam, the temple dates back to 680 AD. Initially, the construction was started with Nagara style, but later it was switched to Dravidian style. The temple is famous for its sculptures that are imbibed from the scenes of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
This Temple was constructed by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta. Built in the Dravidian style, the temple comprises really beautiful sculptures. Perhaps, it was erected either by King Amoghavarsha I or his son Krishna II in the 9th century.
It was the last to be built in early Chalukya style. This temple was built by the Rashtrakutas in the 8th century.
Perhaps the oldest temple in the group, Sangameshvara Temple was built by King Vijayaditya Satyashreya during 697 -733 AD. This incomplete temple appeals with its colossal structure.
Tips from my perspective:
- It is open from Sunrise to Sunset.
- Entrance Fee to the Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 10 per head. Others: US $ 5 or Indian Rs. 250/- per head.
- There are no Hotels available in Pattadakal. If you are planning to stay, the best option is to go to Badami where you can find a lot of options.
- Aihole is 10kms and Badami is 22kms away from Pattadakal.
Aihoḷe is a small village in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka and located 400 kms from Hyderabad. It is known for Chalukyan architecture, with about 125 stone temples dating from 5th century CE. It was the cradle of ancient Hindu temple architecture. Experimentation with styles was undertaken by the artisans of Chalukyan Empire. The artisans worked on the rocks to create the earliest rock-cut shrines. The artisans graduated to the full-fledged Chalukya style of architecture. The early Chalukyas inherited architectural styles largely from their neighbors to the north and south of their kingdom.
After visiting all the must see places in Bijapur. We started to Aihole which was 110kms from Bijapur(via Nh 133/SH66) road till Ameengal was good and the last 10kms stretch was not drive friendly. Within an hour and so we’ve reached our first destination. We got surprised by seeing flocks of tourists. Then we realised that it was Sankranti/pongal (An Indian festival) Holiday season.
The prominent temple groups at Aihole are the Kontigudi group and the Galaganatha group of temples, although historians have divided all the temples into 22 groups. Three temples are referred to as the ‘Kontigudi group of temples’. One of these is the Lad Khan temple (the oldest at Aihole is the Lad khan temple dating back to the fifth century, named after a mendicant that lived in this temple in the 19th century, another the Huchiappayyagudi temple and the Huchiappayya math.
Durga temple: With a Curvilinear Shikhara
It is the best known of the Aihole temples and is just along the entrance to the temple complex. It is apsidal in plan, along the lines of a Buddhist chaitya, a high moulded adisthana and a tower – curvilinear shikhara. A pillared corridor runs around the temple, enveloping the shrine, the mukhamantapa and the sabhamantapa. All through the temple, there are beautiful carvings. The temple appears to be of the late 7th or early 8th century.
Lad Khan Temple consists of a shrine with two mantapas in front of it. The shrine bears a Shivalingam. The mukha mantapa in front of the sanctum has a set of 12 carved pillars. The sabhamantapa in front of the mukha mantapa has pillars arranged in such a manner as to form two concentric squares. There are also stone grids on the wall carrying floral designs. The temple was built by the Chalukya kings in the 5th century. Ladkhan Temple is to the south of the Durga temple are the temples of this group. The Ladkhan temple, so named, as a general of the name had lived here, consists of a square mantapa, a mukha mantapa and the sanctum, built against the backwall. The central square has a flat roof. In the centre Nandi is installed, and just above Nandi, there is a damaged nagara shikhara, appearing to be a later addition. The period of this structure is about 450 A.D.
We had a quick tour of all the other prominent temples of Aihole which includes Suryanarayana temple, Triyambakeshvara Group, Gowda temple, Huchimalli (gudi) temple, Kontigudi group of temples, Rachi gudi, Gaudara gudi, Badigere, Huchappayya (gudi) temple & Museum. Because of a huge number of tourist we skipped some of the other prominent temples like Ravanaphudi temple and meguti jain temple. I made my mind at that moment that I am not done with Aihole yet. 😛
All the temple complexes have different style of construction that indeed indicates that Aihole was the place for early experiments in Chalukyan style of Architecture. This place simply took us back into the time. Aihole is not in the list of UNESCO World heritage places. It has a great potential to be included as a UNESCO World heritage site. Then we left to Pattadakal(Yet to post) which was 11kms from Aihole.
The Chalukya dynasty was an Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty, known as the “Badami Chalukyas”, ruled from Badami from the middle of the 6th century. The Badami Chalukyas began to assert their independence at the decline of the Kadamba kingdom of Banavasi and rapidly rose to prominence during the reign of Pulakeshin II. After the death of Pulakeshin II, the Eastern Chalukyas became an independent kingdom in the eastern Deccan. They ruled from Vengi until about the 11th century. In the western Deccan, the rise of the Rashtrakutas in the middle of the 8th century eclipsed the Chalukyas of Badami before being revived by their descendants, the Western Chalukyas, in the late 10th century. These Western Chalukyas ruled from Kalyani until the end of the 12th century.
The rule of the Chalukyas marks an important milestone in the history of South India and a golden age in the history of Karnataka. The political atmosphere in South India shifted from smaller kingdoms to large empires with the ascendancy of Badami Chalukyas. The rise of this empire saw the birth of efficient administration, overseas trade and commerce and the development of new style of architecture called “Chalukyan architecture”. Kannada literature, which had enjoyed royal support in the 9th century Rashtrakuta court found eager patronage from the Western Chalukyas in the Jain and Veerashaiva traditions.
Pattadakal Temples: A cluster of beautifully carved temples
Badami: Rock cut Cave Temples
Aihole: The Cradle of Indian temple Architecture
Mahadeva Temple, Itagi: Emperor among Temples
Doddabasappa Temple, Dambal: The dazzling temple
Lakkundi: Most Ornate temples
P.S: This is just an introduction post of Chalukyas. Stay tuned to know more about the temple history, architecture, significance etc..
Ram Navami Or Sri rama Navami is celebrated on 15th April, 2016 in order to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama who was considered as the seventh incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu. Rama Navami is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of the god Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya. The holy day falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. Thus it is also known as Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navaratri (Vasanta Navaratri) celebrations. Rama Navami is one of the most important Hindu festivals. This year it is celebrated on 15th April 2016.
On this auspicious day of Sri Rama Navami, I am sharing nine of my best shots. Wish you all a Happy Srirama Navami!!
Dichpally Ramalayam or Khilla Ramalayam is one of the oldest temples in Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh.According to the historical sources it was built in the 12 or 13th century by the Kakatiya Kings. It is also called ‘Indur Khajuraho or Nizamabad Khajuraho’. This temple has its own unique connotation in the books of History. In theertha era when Lord Rama met Hanuman , and in his adoration he headed to kill ravanasura, while they were on their way to Lanka both Lord Rama and Hanuman has stayed in this place for 15 days. No need to say that this place has played an important role in deciding the plot of the historical war between Good and Evil powers And as a remembrance this temple was built.
Temple was built by vengi kings in 13th century BC and one of the rarest Kodanda Rama temple,Where lord Rama is holding an arrow in his hand along with sita and Laxmana in the sanctum sanctorum Lord hanuman is placed at dwaja stamba.This historical temple is listed in UNESCO heritage list.
Lord Kodanda Rama Swamy temple is located in Vontimitta mandal which is about 25kms from the city of Kadapa and is close to Rajampet in Kadapa District, Andhra pradesh. This is a place of historical, spiritual and cultural importance. According to the legend, the temple had been constructed by two devotees (once they where burglars and they are transformed in to devotees) of Lord Rama, named ‘Vontudu’ and ‘Mittudu’, in one single day. Practically speaking ‘no’… Anyways lemme finish the story..After constructing the temple, they sacrificed their lives and turned into statues. I am really not sure how far it is true, but the reality what I have seen at this place is the beauty of the temple.. Which I undoubtedly felt with my eyes and senses…!!! These fine and rich carvings on the gopura are one of the highlights of this temple, No human tongue is able to describe its grandeur..
The presiding deity of the temple is Sri Aprameya Swamy. However it is more popular as the Navneeta Krishna temple. It is believed that Sri Rama had stayed here for many years and worshipped the Lord here and hence Sri Aprameya swamy is also called Sri Ramapreya swamy.The splendour of the temple takes your breath away. There is a written document in Tamil that is preserved till date which says the temple was built and expanded by the Chola King Rajendra Simha in the 4th century.
Hazara Rama Temple in Hampi is a small but beautiful temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. It was once the private temple of the kings and the royal family of Vijayanagara. The temple is famous for the lovely bas relics and panels depicting the story of the epic Ramayana.
I once again wish you all a Happy Srirama Navami!! Found this Rama birth Paintin on Google search.
Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple or Yaganti:
Is a temple to Lord Shiva in Kurnool District in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is in the Banaganapalle mandal, 14 km west of Banagapalle village. This temple was constructed by King Harihara Bukka Raya of the Sangama Dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 15th century.
History behind this marvel:
One of the story is as follows: Chitteppa, a devotee of Lord Shiva, was worshiping Lord Shiva and Lord Shiva appeared to him as a tiger. Chitteppa understood that it was Lord Shiva in tiger form, and shouted Neganti Shivanu ne kanti (meaning: The story according to the priests is that when the sage Agastya completed his uttara desha yatra and started dakshina desha yatra he found the beautiful and pleasant place called yaganti( Nekanti-i have seen)and thought to build a temple for Lord Venkateswara on this site. while roaming around caves one of the caves was found to have a very old statue of Lord Vishnu. After all the yagna, homa and pooja he found that the statue really contains a small defect as broken nail on the foot thumb finger. To seek an explanation he prayed to Shiva and Shiva explained that at this place which contains natural springs and nature only I can be worshipped. Then the sage Agastya asked a boon to Shiva to reside in this place for eternity with Mother Parvathi. So this place is called as Umamahesware (Uma: parvathi, Maheswara: shiva) temple. The shrine contains the statue of Shiva and Parvathi on a single stone.ning: I saw Shiva I saw), and danced with joy.
1. Growing Nandi:
The devotees believe that the Nandi idol in front of the temple is continuously increasing its size. The locals say that the idol was initially much smaller than its present size. They say that certain experimentation was carried out on this idol and it was said that the type of rock out of which the idol is carved has a growing or enlarging nature associated with it. According to Potuluri Veera Brahmendra swamy, the Basavanna (stone nandi) of Yaganti will come alive and shout when Kali Yuga ends.
2. Absence of crows:
Legend has it that while the Sage Agastya was performing his penance, crows disturbed him and he cursed that the crows cannot enter the place. As the crow is the Vahana for Lord Shani, it is believed that Lord Shani cannot enter this place.
Ahobilam is a holy site in the Allagadda mandal of Kurnool district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located 70 km from Nandyal and 150 km from Kurnool, the district headquarters. There are two temple houses, lower Ahobilam and upper Ahobilam. According to legend, this is where Lord Narasimha blessed Prahlada and killed the demon Hiranyakashipu.
According to legends it is believed that when the Devas saw the manifestation of Lord Vishnu as half-lion, half-man, they shouted “Ahobala” (great strength) as well as “Ahobila” (great cave in which the current sanctum is). Hence, this place could be called either “Ahobalam” or “Ahobilam”. The mention of this place is present in Brahmanda Purana. The place where Lord Narayana appeared from the stone pillar to kill Hiranyakashipa can be seen in this place. The name of this pillar is Ugra Sthambha, which is now referred as “Ukku SThambha” in Telugu, which incorrectly translates to iron pillar.
While returning from Hassan, we saw this beautiful temple in Channapatna which was about 60kms from Bangalore. The presiding deity of the temple is Sri Aprameya Swamy. However it is more popular as the Navneeta Krishna temple. It is believed that Sri Rama had stayed here for many years and worshipped the Lord here and hence Sri Aprameya swamy is also called Sri Ramapreya swamy.
Hampi spread across 26sq kms lie the remains of the splendid medieval city of Vijayanagara, the city of victory.Hampi was the capital of the powerful Vijayanagara empire from AD 1343 to 1565. Which was ruled by the powerful kings like Harihara II, Devaraya II, Krishnadevaraya who showcased their immense might in the grandiose monuments they constructed. It is listed in the UNESCO world heritage site.
Vittala Temple is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. Once I entered this temple I totally lost my senses.. “What a beauty it is?” No amount of words can explain this 15th century spectacle. This temple is a mix of Art and science. I think there’s no other temple in the world which is so rich in art and is combined with acoustics sciences. The temple is built in the form of a sprawling campus with compound wall and gateway towers. There are many halls, pavilions and temples located inside this campus. This temple is dedicated to Vittala(Lord Krishna). The highlight of this temple is its impressive pillared halls and the stone chariot. The halls are carved with an overwhelming array of sculptures on the giant granite pillars. The stone chariot located inside the campus is almost an iconic structure of Hampi.
As I entered this temple, My eyes got struck on to a stone chariot that is so beautifully carved. An image of Garuda (the eagle god) was originally enshrined within its sanctum. Garuda, according to the Hindu mythology, is the vehicle of lord Vishnu. Thus the Garuda shrine facing the temple’s sanctum is symbolic.
All around this base platform is carved with mythical battle scenes. Though the chariot is not resting on it, the four giant wheels attached mimic the real life ones complete with the axis shafts & the brakes. A series of concentric floral motifs decorate the wheels. This Chariot has became the trademark of Hampi and the wheels still rotate, This proves that Vijayanagara Kings have a great taste in art of sculptures.
On leaving the Stone Chariot you reach the main hall in front of the Vittala temple. This hall though partially damaged is still awe inspiring. Facing the Stone Chariot, a series of steps flanged with elephant balustrades gives access to this elevated open hall called the Maha-Mantapa (the great hall). The balustrades on the east and west porch of this hall is more dramatic with giant lion Yalis fighting the relatively dwarf elephants. The Maha-Mantapa stands on a highly ornate platform. This fluted platform is carved with a series of floral motifs. The lowermost of it is a chain of horses, its trainers and the traders.
The Maha-Mantapa contains four open halls within. The south, north and the east ones are still intact. The central western hall is collapsed, probably due to the arson that followed the fall of the capital.
The main highlight of the Maha-Mantapa is its richly carved giant monolithic pillars. The outermost of the pillars are popularly called the musical pillars. These slender and short pilasters carved out of the giant pillars emit musical tones when tapped.
The eastern hall which is called the musicians hall is notable for sculptures of musicians on the pillars. Each of the pillars surrounding this hall is sculptured with musicians, drummers and dancers.
The southern hall is dominated with the rampant mythical creatures called Yalis. The capitals of each of the pillars branches into heavily ornate corbels with terminating with lotus buds.
The inner sanctum is devoid of any idol. A narrow and unlit passageway encircles the inner sanctum. A few steps on either sides of the sanctum’s main door give access to this passage. The outer wall of the sanctum that one can only sees from this passageway is richly decorated with the Kumbha-Pankajas (the motifs where lotus flower flows out of a pot). Even after so many Ravages this temple didn’t lose its charm.
Some Tips and Info from my perspective:
1. Taking a knowledgeable guide is a must and mandatory, without them its really very difficult to understand these Architectural wonders. Guides here Speak different languages starting from Telugu, Tamil,Hindi to German, French and Spanish.
2. Though we didn’t do a Bicycle tour. After seeing few people doing it, I felt it as fascinating.
3. If you are an Architecture lover then try to spend 3 days in Hampi.
4. According to me this temple/Hampi is one must see places in India. People are very friendly and hospitable, You won’t regret visiting this place.
5. This is also a romantic getaway for couples.
Keshava Temple of Somnathpur was built by Somanatha, a general of Hoysala Narasimha III funded by the king. It was completed in 1269. Somnathpur is just 36 kms from Mysore. To know more about Hoysala temples you can check my ‘A Nostalgic trip to Hoysala Temples’ post. This is a slideshow of Photographs taken by me. Try to watch it in HD.
I went on a Heritage tour to Hassan district, Karnataka to explore and study the Hoysala temples and it’s architecture in the beginning of the month. I was accompanied by some of my good friends Dr.Praveen, Dr.Girish & Dr.Vamsi mohan. This post is just an introductory post of few important Hoysala temples. I will be writing more in detail about these temples in my coming posts.
The finest expression of the artistic consciousness of humankind is what you see in the temples of Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur in Karnataka.
How many years did this romance between chisel and the stone take to produce these rhapsodies in sculpture?
What provoked them to do extreme hard work in creating such marvels?
What motivation made them to create such art?
How did Hoysalas aesthetic sense found such beautiful art?
How did beauty find so many manifestations?
These are the questions that raised in my mind while wandering around these jewels in Hassan district which sprang from the kingdom of Hoysalas…These temples go beyond the limits and speak volumes, about it’s culture, civilization and most importantly its relentless pursuit of perfection.
Keshava Temple, Somnathpur:
This temple was built by Somanatha, a general of Hoysala Narasimha III funded by the king. It was completed in 1269. Somnathpur is just 36 kms from Mysore.
Chennakesava Temple, Belur:
Belur was an early Hoysala capital in Hassan district. This temple was built in 12th century by the king Vishnuvardhana. Belur is 220kms away from Bangalore.
Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebid:
Halebid was the original capital of Hoysalas. Hoysaleswara Temple was built by Ketamalla, an officer of King Vishnuvardhana. The construction was started around 1120 CE and completed in 1150 CE. This temple is older than Chennakesava temple, Belur. Halebid is 16kms from Belur and 150 kms from Mysore.
Stay tuned to know more about these Marvels…!! 😉