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26th February 2024 (12 Topics)

1,300-year-old temples from Badami Chalukyan period discovered

Context

Archaeologists have unearthed two ancient temples dating back to the Badami Chalukyan period, along with a rare inscription, in Mudimanikyam village of Nalgonda district, Telangana. 

What has been found?

  • Origin: The temples are estimated to be at least 1,300 years old (8th or 9th century AD).
  • Location: on the way to the Krishna river
  • Architectural style: They showcase unique architectural styles, blending Badami Chalukyan and Kadamba Nagara influences.
  • In one temple, a panavattam (base of a Shiva lingam) in the sanctum sanctorum has been found. In another, a Vishnu idol was recovered.
  • The discovery also includes an inscription, labelled as 'Gandaloranru', dating back to the 8th or 9th Century AD, offering clues about the historical context of the region.

 Temple Architecture

Temple Architecture of Chalukya Period

  • From the 5thcentury CE onwards (535-757CE), the Chalukyas of Badami were the leading force in Deccan.
  • They were indigenous Kannara family with Kannaras as mother tounge.
  • Their early inscriptions indicate that they worship both Vaishnavite and Shaivite deities.
  • The temple architecture of Chalukya Period is actually the mixture of Nagar and Dravida styles. However, this style has been termed as Besar style.
  • This style originate and flourished at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal of Karnataka state between 5th to7th century CE.

 Kadamba Architecture

  •  The Kadamba have been regarded as one of the foundations upon which the Karnataka architecture is based. 
  • The Kadamba style of architecture has many distinguishing characteristics, including a few things in common with the Chalukyan and the Pallava styles.
  • They drew from the architectural tradition of the Satavahanas.
    • The Shikara, called Kadamba Shikara, constitutes the most prominent feature of their architecture.
    • The Kadamba Shikara has a pyramid-like shape and rises in steps with a Stupika or Kalasha at the top without any decoration.

Nagara or North Indian Temple Architecture:

  • Origin: 5th century AD.
  • Region: From Northern India to Karnataka to parts of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Gujarat, giving it its pan-India appeal.
  • The Nagara style is mainly associated with the land between the Himalayas and Vindhyas.
  • The basic plan of Nagara temple is square, with a number of graduated projections (rathakas) in the middle of each face which gives it a cruciform shape in the exterior.
  • A temple tower or a conical or convex shikhara marks the elevation of the temples.
  • The shikhara consists of several layers of carved courses usually crowned by an amalaka (notched ring stone).
  • Earlier temples began with a single projection on each face and the plan came to be known as triratha. Later in the course of time, the number of projection was increased.
  • The temple's architecture is characterised by its tower-like structures, known as 'shikhara' or spires, which rise vertically, symbolising the sacred mountain, Mount Meru, considered to be the centre of the physical, metaphysical and spiritual dimensions in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist cosmology.
  • This temple architecture is also closely associated with both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite sects of Hinduism and known for its sculptural elements that echo scenes from Hindu epics like like Ramayana and Mahabharata.
  • Examples: Dashavatara temple at Deogarh, UP, and the brick temple at Bhitargaon, UP.

Basic components of a temple:

Garbhagriha (Sanctum)

  • Earlier, it was just a small cubicle with a small entrance but as time passed, it grew into a large chamber. It houses the idol or image of the deity. 

Mandapa (Congregation Hall)

  • The entrance to the temple and it features space for a large number of worshippers to gather at this place. It can be described as a hall which has a roof supported by a number of pillars.

Shikhar or Vimana (Tower)

  • It is a mountain-like spire which is generally seen in the temples that were constructed after fifth century AD. In North India style, it is called Shikhar while in South India it is called Vimana. Shikhar has a curved shape while Vimana has a pyramidal tower-like shape. 

Antrala (Vestibule)

  • The mandapa in front of garbhagriha is called as Antrala or vestibule.

Mahamandapa or Gudhamandapa

  • The large wall in front of Antarala is called Mahamandapa or Gudhamandapa.

Ardhamandapa (Entrance Porch)

  • There is also a smaller mandapa in front of Mahamandapa which is called as Ardhamandapa or half porch. This is followed by Dwara or doorways.

Pradakshinapath

  • The garbhagriha is surrounded by a corridor or circulatory path called Pradakshinapath.

Significance of the discovery

  • The discovery gives more insight into the religious practices of the Badami Chalukyan period.
  • They are significant as they are Badami Chalukyan shrines that adopted the Kadamba nagara style in the Rekha nagara format, making them the only two of their kind in Telangana today.
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