Nov 18, 2007

Kadamba rulers' summer palace

By Rajiv Ajjibal

Gudnapur, a historical place, associated with the Kadamba rulers —
the founders of the first Kannada Kingdom at Banavasi — is in a state
of neglect.

The site is at a distance of 19 kilometres from Sirsi on Banavasi
Road. Gudnapur is located 4 kms from away from Banavasi. Banavasi
used to be the capital of the Kadamba rulers. Relics of those period
are found in ample here even today.

A palatial building, built using red stones and bricks atop a mound,
which is in ruins today, was once a summer palace during the reign of
Ravi Varma-II (485-519 AD). This was the venue for `Vasantotsava', it
is said. The palace is called `Kamajinalaya'. There is also a stone
temple nearby, which houses an idol of `Rati-Manmatha' carved out of
a single stone. There are statues of Jain Thirthankaras in
meditation. An idol of `Veerabhadra' is also to be found; it is said
that the idol was installed in the later periods.

The most important monument found here is a 20-foot
tall `Manastambha', which depicts the genealogy of Kadamba rulers in
Sanskrit. This monument too has not been preserved.
Gudnapur derives its name from a nearby tank called `Guddatataka'
(meaning, tank by the side of a hill or mound), which covers an area
of hundreds of acres. Guddatataka is one of the major tanks of Uttara
Kannada District. The tank was built by King Ravivarma (500 AD), to
help farmers irrigate their paddy fields.

In the recent years, the archaeological department has carried out
excavation work on the site. Historians have collected some
interesting material from the site, but they have not been exhibited
so far. Kadambotsava is celebrated in Banavasi every year. The chief
minister gives away the prestigious Pampa award on this occasion. A
number of tourists visit Gudnapur during this time.

Residents of Gudnapur have appealed to the government to organise
the `Kadambatsava' for a day here, to commemorate the glory of the
Kadamba Kings. They have also suggested that an open air museum be
set up at the site.

Steps to protect the `Manasthamba' from heat, rain and winds need to
be taken immediately. Boating facilities could also be arranged at
the tank to attract tourists. There is also a need for better roads
to reach the site.

Unfortunately, even though Gudnapur has immense potential for
tourism, it has not been given its due, so far.

From Deccan Herald

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