Sunday, 19 February 2012

Chandramouleshwar's Temple in Unkal, Hubli

Legends are always fascinating. Are they true or just made up to sound interesting is not the question that will be answered now. Also it does not matter.
I happened to read one such legend about Amarshilpi JAKANACHARYA. He was a flawless architect dwelt during Chalukya's period.
The legend says he left his family consisting of a wife and an unborn child in search of his calling.
He went on to become the greatest architects of all the time. In the later part of his life he encountered his son, who identified a flaw in his design. Jakanacharya had to lose his right hand in the bet to his son. Well the legend says many more interesting things like this and it is indeed fascinating to read.

The reason why I happened to hear about him was because I recently visited one of a great work of architecture near my home at UNKAL (Yes u read it right, it is in UNKAL!!),thanks to my colleague Pranesh.It is the Chandramouleshwar's temple in UNKAL. It is said to be built in 10th century by Chalukya's. The temple is beautifully built with exquisitely carved stones. The exterior of the temple has stone carvings of many Gods and Goddesses including Dancing Lord Ganesh, Lord Narsimha, Lord Vishnu etc. There are two sanctums in the temple. One of the sanctum has Chaturmukh Shiva Lingu in it- Face of Shiva is carved in Lingu in the four directions. I guess this is pretty unique. In another sanctum, a bigger Shiva Lingu has been installed. The sanctums also have four doors in respective directions.

One has to visit the temple to inhale the fragnance of beauty of the architecture. A person sitting there, probably the priest of that place, mentioned that this temple was built by the great Jakanacharya himself. I could not confirm that. He said there are three temples nearby- one in Annigeri, another in Kundagol and this one in Unkal, which were built by Jakanacharya and his associates in one single night!! Woof!! As I said earlier lets not get into the actuality of this legend. The priest also showed us 3 small openings at the top of the main door. These three openings are just visible from the inner sanctum if we see at the level of Shiva Lingu in the sanctum. He said only on the day of Chandramaan Ugadi rays of Sun fall on the Chaturmukh Shiva Lingu. If so, that's serious astronomy and geometrical knoweledge. I was amazed by the skills of the architect. I just kept staring at the Nruptunga Hill which was looking awesome from the temple door. Deep inside my mind I was still appreciating the architect.

Legends are enigmatic with some kind of truth and some kind of myth in them. Nevertheless, they tell some story of past which will be spell-bounding and knowledgeable.
Hublites should visit this temple at least once.