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Friday, January 21 2022

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Halasi: Complex of Temples Reminding Kadamba Legacy

Kadamba is the first dynasty of Kannadigas, and have left many evidences of their legacy in various parts of Karnataka, especially in Uttara Kannada, Belagavi, Haveri and other districts of Karnataka. Banavasi was the capital city of Kadamba.

Another branch of this dynasty was Goa-Kadamba, who ruled from 11 – 13 th century, and Halasi was the minor capital of Goa-Kadamba dynasty. Today Halasi is the part of Khanapur Taluk of Belagavi District. In earlier days it was called as Halasige or Palasige. But in some inscriptions name, Palasika is also found. It was an integral City during Goa-Kadamba rule, and is notable for beautiful temple complexes, which were built during Kadamba rule.

Among these temple complexes, the one that has the most stand-out architecture is Bhoo Varaha Laxmi Narasimha Swami Temple. As per Hindu mythology, Varaha is one of the Avataras of Lord Vishnu. The idol of Varaha Swami in this temple denotes the story of the Varaha Avatara of Vishnu saving Mother Earth. Along with this temple we also see other Shiva temples like Ramalingeshwara Temple, Gokarneshwar Temple, Kalmeshwar Temple and also some Jain basadis too. The Kadamba dynasty rulers were patrons of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Jainism.

Bhoo Varaha Swami Temple has two Garbhagrahas. The main sanctum sanctorum has an idol of Maha Vishnu in a sitting posture. And behind this figure are idols of Suryanarayana, Mahalakshmi and Lord Narasimha. According to legend, the idol of Narasimha was a swayambhu, that is, it was not made by human hands but just appeared on its own. The other Garbhagraha has a standing idol of Bhoo Varaha Swami. This idol was installed by Vijayaditya III in 1186-87. The five-feet-tall idol is depicted lifting (saving) Bhoodevi using his mouth. The lotus motif on the ceiling is typical of the Kadamba style of architecture. The beautiful Bhoo Varaha idol was installed much after Narasimha idol was in place.

Outside the main temple, there are other shrines for Ganesha, Shiva, and Vittala. There is a beautiful Radha Krishna statue in a separate shrine.

The other places which can be visited while at Halasi are Ramateertha, Dudhsagara Falls, Amboli, and Hidkal Dam among others. The best time to visit Halasi is from October – March.

Image Source: Wikimedia.commons

Raksha Deshpande

The author is a postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from Karnataka University, Dharwad. Her interests range from literature, history, travel to politics, and is keenly interested to write human interest stories and articles relating to literature, travel.

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