Ancient Kalagi temples of Karnataka, now in ruins

Article by @para_praveen

Kalaburagi, Karnataka.

The 2nd century Kaleshwara temple becomes cynosure of all the eyes during the important VeeraShaiva festivals, particularly Mahashivaratri and thousands of devout hindus throng the temple to have the darshan of the ancient linga installed inside the once beautiful temple.But in the eyes of the Archeological Survery of India (ASI) or the State Archeology Department, this temple, considered to be one of the ancient Hindu temples is a non existent once.

The present; kalagi” known as “Kaluge” in an ancient inscriptions; is 40 kms away from Kalaburagi. It has a temple complex of Chalukyan period. Kalagi was popularly known then as the garden of temples. Kalagi in the seventh century was a well-developed rich city with a population of more than three lakhs –according to the historians. There are more than 30 monuments in and around the Kalagi village. So far eleven inscriptions are reported from this place. Most of the temples belonged to the Shaiva style; of them Bibbeshwara, Gonkeshwara, Jayalingeshwara, Kaaleshwara and Someshwara according to inscriptions found here and now called these temples in different names.

Kalagi is famous for the rare set of Shivalingas in India, which are housed in Kaleshwar temple. According to a legend, these lingas are arranged in four floors, one beneath the other. Presently devotees can see Kaleshwar linga installed on the ground floor. The other lingas beneath the ground are said to be ‘agochara’ invisible. These lingas were consecrated in Krithayuga. Someshwar linga in Trethayuga, Neelakanteshwara linga in Dwaparayuga and Kaleshwar linga in Kaliyuga.

An ancient Suryanarayana temple is on the verge of collapse due to lack of conservation. The temple is considered to be one of the rare shrines and the portion of the side walls of the Suryanarayana temple has already fallen down and roots of the tress that had grown wildly around the shrine can be seen. The ceiling as well as the wall that makes the rare elevation is in a dilapidated state owing to absence of maintenance. The inscriptions were carved between 1043 AD and 13 th Century according to research scholars. The inscriptions on Suryanarana temple and Kaleshwara temple in Kalagi is a standing testimony to the existence of famous kings namely Jayakarna son of the sixth vikramaditya, king Jagadekamalla of Kalyan chalukyas.

Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti peetham visited Kalagi in 1982 and made his stay here for eight days. It was a centre for political, educational, cultural and religious, also a capital city of Mahamandaleshwar of baana dynasty during 12 th century. There are numerous Shivalinga in all most all temples in Kalagi. Outside the temples, beautifully carved inscriptions of Brahma, Vishnu,Ishwar,Bhairav,Nataraj,Uma-Mahashwar, Mahisha-Mardini, Ganesh can be seen.


A Pushkarni (traditional stepwell with natural springs) is also seen nearby Narasimha and Ishwar temple on the bay of Kalagi stream. A few jain basatis are also in panic condition. These Monuments have enriched the culture of the country, but have not been noticed by many. The need is to catch the attention of research scholars, historians and archaeological experts. Now it is necessary that the Archaeology department and tourism department together have to prepare a plan for development of the forgotten cultural splendour and historic monuments of the Kalagi ruins.

Now it is upto HinduSamaj to get the act together for conservation of the Heritage. The structures are crumbling fast, it may have only a few years left unless the Hindu community renovates and revives worship at the temple site.


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