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Nov 15, 2008


Dr. A. V. Narasimha Murthy

At the outset it is necessary to clarify that the division of Karnataka Into South and North is only for the sake of convenience. In this connection north Karnataka is taken as the area comprising the present Karnataka excluding the old Mysore State. The monuments in these districts have been considered in a chronological manner taking the dynasties also into consideration.
BEGINNERS:The origin of Jaina architecture in north Karnataka is still uncertain as the vestiges of the early period have not come down to us. Jaina structures contemporary to the sojourn of Bhadrabahu to Sravanbelgola have not been found here so far. Even the early historic excavations which exhibit Satavahana culture as at Vadagaon Madhavpur and Sannati have not yielded any antiquity or structure that can be associated with Jainism. However, it has to be noted that the antiquities and structures of the former site have yet to be studied in detail and the latter site is yet to be fully excavated. This leaves us with the Kadambas of Banavasi who were known to be patrons of Jainism as evidenced by their inscriptions.

KADAMBA PERIODThe existance of Jaina temples during the period of the Banavasi Kadambas is amply evidenced by their epigraphs. The earliest references to a grant by a Kadamba king to a Jaina saint is found in the Halasi copper plate of kakusthavarman.1 It mentions that the granted village Khatagrama belonged to arhanta. However, a reference to a Jain temple (Chaityalaya) is found in the Devagiri copper plate of Mrigesavarman.2 The insription states that Mrigesavarman gave a grant for the sammarjana, upalepana, archana and bhagnasamskara of the Chaityalaya located at Brihatparalur. Further he also donated for the enclosure of the Chaityalaya one nivartana of land. This clearly shows that the above Chaityalaya was big enough to have an enclosure also. In the Devagiri inscription of Vijaya Siva Mrigesavarman a reference is made to arhat sale where an image of Jinendra was kept. 3 Mrigesavarman's Halasi inscription of 8th regnal year states that the king built a Jinalaya in memory of his father in Palasika and granted lands to saints of Yapaniya, nirgrantha and kurchaka sangha.4 Ravivarma's eleventh regnal year inscription found at Halasi refers to a grant for the abhisheka of Jinendra.5 Obviously this refers to a, Jaina temple. Another inscription of the same king refers to the worship of Jinendra for which four nivartanas of land was granted .6

The famous Gudnapur inscription of Ravivarman is more explicit on this point.7 According to this inscription King Ravivarma built a temple, kamajinalaya for Manmatha, very' near the palace (rajavesma) and arranged for its worship by granting lands. At the same time he also gave grants to Kamajinalaya at Hakinipalli and Padmavati temple at Kalliligrama. Dr. B.R. Gopal who has edited this inscription has suggested that this Kamajinalaya is a temple for Bahubali, as Bahubali is described as Manmatha. If this is so, the tradition of erecting gommata sculptures goes back to the period of Kadambas and to sixth century A.D. itself. However, Dr. A. Sundara has discovered a sculpture of Rati and Manmatha at the same place. Whether this was the sculpture worshipped in the Kamajinalya cannot be ascertained. What is more important is the tradition of building Jaina temples for Manmatha and even Padmavati.

The Halasi inscription of Ravivarma refers to interesting information.8 It states that the income from the gifted village should be used for eight-day festival in Kartikamasa in the Jinalaya at Palasikanagara. It states at the end wherever Jinendra worship takes place properly, that place will prosper without any fear from enemies and the prowess of the king will improve. The Devagiri plates of prince Devavarma refers to gifts for the worship in the Chaityalaya and for the repairs of the Chaityalaya.9All the inscriptions referred to above mention gifts for worship and repair to Jaina temples. However, many of them refer to a Jaina temple at Halasi. The Jaina temple' now standing at Halasi can not go back to a period earlier than eleventh century A.D. Then the question is what happened to the basadis referred to in the inscriptions. Perhaps they might have been built by wood and obviously perished. A. Sundara's field work at Halasi throws very important light on this point.1O Very close to the Kallesvara temple at Halasi, he discovered an ancient site going back to megalithic and early historic periods. A large number of brick walls of the ancient period have been noticed by him in and around and abviously he thinks that this represents the Jaina temple built during the Kadamba period. Full scale excavations at Halasi and Gudnapur are bound to yield the brick temples of this early period. That would, show the contribution of the Kadambas of Banavasi to the Jaina architecture of Karnataka.
BADAMI CHALUKYAN PERIODAfter the rule of the Kadambas of Banavasi most parts of north Karnataka came under the rule of the early or Badami Chalukyan kings. Their contribution to architecture and sculpture is not only well known but unprecedented. Most kings of this powerful dynasty patronised Jainism also though they were the followere of Vedic Hinduism. This is attested to by many inscriptions including that of the Aihole inscription of Pulakesi II, composed by the famous poet Ravikirti. The Jaina architectural beginnings made earlier by the Kadambas of Banavasi, crystalised into better structures in stone during the early Chalukyan period. As they used stone as the medium of their architecture, they have come down to us in good numbers.

The Chalukyas of Badami ate known for their rock cut temples as well as structural temples. At Badami there are four rock cut temples belonging to Saiva, Vaishnava and Jaina faiths. Incidentally this is an eloquent testimony to the religious tolerance of the kings and the people during the period. The fourth cave is the Jaina cave dedicated to Adinatha Tirthankara. He is seated on the lion pedestal, reclining slightly on the smooth cushion. There is a triple umbrella (mukkode) over his head in relief. There are two Chamaradharis attending on the Tirthankara. On the left wall is a standing sculpture of Suparsvanatha with a seven hooded snake over him. To his right is a Yakshi holding a Chatra; to the left is a Yaksha sitting. On the opposite wall is the sculpture of Bahubali intertwined with creepers. In the inner mandapa on both sides are found two sculptures of Mahavira. In addition there are sculptures of twenty eight Jinas. The whole cave is 31 ft. wide and the depth is 16 ft. The entire composition is very elegant.

Another Jaina cave is in Aihole. It has an open mandapa and a Sabhamandapa. In the garbhgriha is the sculpture of Mahavira in Padmasana. On the sides are yaksha and yakshi standing. In the open mandapa are found high relief sculptures of Parsvanatha and Bahubali. However, this cave is not as refined and elegant as that of Badami.

Now we may refer to the structural temples built by the Chalukayas of Badami. The following are noteworthy among them. They are - Meguti Jinalaya at Aihole; the jinalaya built by Kumkuma Mahadevi at Lakshmesvar; during the period of Kirtivarman II. Kaliyamma built a temple at Annigeri; the Jinalaya at Hallur; the Jinalaya built by Dharmagamunda at Adur in Hangal taluk. The Meguti Jinendralaya was built in 634 A. D. by Ravikirti The temple has a garbhagriha, antarala and a mukhamandapa perhaps a later addition. There is a narrow pradakshinapatha around the garbhagriha. In the garbhagriha attached to the wall is the sculpture of Mahavira. In the antarala was a fine sculpture of Yakshi Ambika sitting in ardha lalitasana. Over the garbhagriha is another garbhagriha which also has a sculpture of Tirthankara. The adhisthana has miniature decorations.

The Sankha Jinalaya at Lakshmesvar is dedicated to Neminatha. Sendraka Durgasakti, a feudatory of Pulakesi II is said to have given gifts to this temple.u It is possible that it may be earlier or atleast contemporary to the Meguti temple. Many other inscriptions show that this was an important Jaina temple during the period. an inscription of Vinayaditya dated 686 A.D. refers to a grant to Jaina acharya of Devagana and mulasangha.12 Another epigraph of the time of Vijayaditya dated 729 A. D. mentions a grant to Niravadya Pandita who was to house pupil of Sri PUjyapada.13 Still another inscription of the time of Vikramaditya II dated 734 A. D. mentions gifts to Sveta Jinalaya.14

The Jain temple at Hallur has garbhagriha, antarala, and rectanular Sabhamandap. The garbhagriha has an upper storey and is similar to Meguti temple. The Sabhamandapa is bigger than garbhagriha and antarala and has a seperate mukhamandapa which is in ruins. Thus it shows a more developed architectural feature. The outer walls of the Sabhamandapa has low relief sculptures of Jaina Tirthankaras. Thus the Chalukyas of Badami contributed in ample measure to the development of Jaina temple architecture and laid firm foundations for further development during the Rashtrakuta period.

RASHTRAKUTA PERIODAltekar ,characterises the Rastrakuta period as the golden age of Jainsim in Karnataka. This is amply demonstrated by a large number of Jaina epigraphs and also generous grants to Jaina temples. Amoghavarsha I used to consider himself purified by the very remembrance of his guru Jinasenacharya.15 He is also described as a follower of Syadvada.16 He had appointed the famous Jaina saint Gunabhadra as the teacher for his son Krishna.17 Krishna gave liberal donations to the Jaina temple at Mulgund. Indra IV was a devoted Jaina and he died committing Sallekhana.18 Many of the Rashtrakuta feudatories like Rattas of Saundatti were staunch supporters of Jainism, From all these evidences Altekar estimates that atleast one third of the total population of the Deccan during the period were Jains.19

The Jaina monuments of the Rashrakuta period are found at Pattadakal, Malkhed, Lakshmesvar, Koppala, Bankur, in the present day karnataka and at Ellora in Maharastra which was included in the Rastrakuta empire, The jaina temple at Pattadakal consists of a garbhagriha, pradakshinapatha, antarala, Sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa, The garbhgriha door jambh has a fine makara torana, Opposite walls of antarala have Devakoshthas to house Yaksha and Yakshis, The sabhamandapa is square and has four pillars in the centre, The mukhamanadapa has been provided with Kakshasanas, The garbhagriha has a dvitala Nagara sikhara, it has another garbhagriha on the first floor like the Meguti temple, The outer walls in the western and northern sides have Jina sculptures which confirm that this is a Jaina temple, It is believed that this temple was built either during the time of Amoghavarsha I (814-874 A.D.) or Krishna I (c. 770 A.D.). From the stylistic features ninth century A,D, seems' to be reasonable for this temple.
The Jaina basadi at Konnur in Dharwad district was built during the period of Amoghavarsha I, by Bankesa in 860 A.D, It has a garbhagriha, antarala, sabhamandapa and a ruined mukhmandapa, The unique feature of this temple is the star shaped gabhagriha, which later became a unique feature of the Hoysala temples in southern Karnataka- There are three niches .in the garbhagriha which is also rare, The antarala has two pillars while the Sabhamandapa has twelve pillars, The latter also has two stone Jalandhras, Th.e mukhamandapa is reached through flight of steps.

The Jaina temple at Naregal in Ron taluk of Dharwad district was built during the period of Krishna III, by Padmabbarasi, the queen of Ganga Permadi Bhutayya in 950 A.D. (Now it is referred to as Narayana temple), It is the biggest Rashtrakuta temple in Karnataka, It has a sikhara of Dravida vimana type over the garbhagriha, Acutally it is a trikuta, The main garbhagriha of this temple was meant for a Jina, and is square, The other two garbhagriha are rectangular, and have rectangular pedestals from wall to wall with twenty-four holes indicating that both of them were meant for establishing twenty-four Tirthankara sculptures, This is also a unique feature of this basadi. This became common in the eleventh century A.D.

The Settavva temple at Aihole is another storeyed basadi. It is more elaborate in execution. It is also a trikuta. Besides it has three ardhamandapas and a common navaranga.

The Neminatha basadi at Malkhed, the capital of the Rashtrakutas belongs to ninth century A. D. Unfortunately the original structure has been repaired often and henc.e it is difficult to know its original features. The garbhagriha has a fine seated Neminatha sculpture. Other sculptures found here are those of Parsvanatha, Dharanendra and Padmavati. Some more Jina sculptures are in the Sabhamandapa; but they seem to belong to later periods.

The basadi at Bankur in Gulburga district seems to belong to the end of the Rashrakuta period. There are many fine sculptures in this temple. Notable among them are Adinatha, Chandraprabha, Santinatha, Parsvanatha, Mahavira, Padmavati, high relief sculptures of twenty-four tirthankaras.

In addition to the above Jaina temples of the Rashtrakuta period many more are also found which are not properly documented. Outside the present Karnataka State, the Rastrakuta basadis are found at Ellora where there are three Jaina cave temples referred as Chota Kailas, Indrasabha and Jagannathasabha.

The Rashrakuta epigraphs supply evidence for the construction of many more Jaina temples which have not been properly located. Some important epigraphs may be noted below. In 875 A. D. Krishna II built a Jinendra bhavana at Savadatti.2O In 902 A. D. Pergada Bittayya built a basadi at Bandanike.21 During the period of Krishna II was built the Mahasrimanta basadi at Pennugunda. 22 In 925 A. D. Nagayya built a temple at Asundi when Chandraprabha bhattaraka of Dhora Jinalaya was the administrator.23 In 932 A. D., Chandavve built a basadi at Nandavara.24 In 964 A. D., a Ratta chief built Jayadhire Jinalaya at Kupana {modern Koppala).25 In 958 A. D. Jakki Sundari built a Jinalaya at Kakambal. 26

The above epigraphical references and the extant Jaina monuments prove that the Rashtrakuta period was a golden age from the point of view to Jaina architecture also. However, it has to be admitted that exploration of Rashtrakuta architecture in Karnataka has to be done more systematically. In this connection the good beginning made by S. Rajasekhara in identifying the possible Rashtrakuta monuments in Karnataka on the of stylistic evidences and epigraphs is worth laudable. 27 Further research is bound to yield more Rashtrakuta monuments including Jaina temples in Karnataka.

KALYANA CHALUKYA PERIODWith the decline of the Rashtrakutas, most parts of north Karnataka came under the rule of the Chalukyas of Kalyana. Though they are known to be Saivas, they built Jaina temples. Many kings of this dynasty also granted gifts to Jaina establishments and individual saints. The development of Kalamukhas on the one side and the Virasaivism of Basavanna on the other were making great progress in north Karnataka and naturally this did not give enough scope for Jainism to blossom as it did in the earlier Rashtrakuta period. Nevertheless, it flourished through the royal patronage and contributed its share in the development of architecture. Taila, the founder of Chalukya dynasty of Kalyana is well known as the patron of the great Jaina poet Ranna. King Satyasraya had a Rajaguru Vimalachandrapanditadeva under whose feet the king is said to have learnt the tenets of Jaina dharma. Attimabbe, known as danachintamani is a well known personality of this period. She is said to have made one thousand copies of Ponna's Santi pur ana and distributed as Sastradana. She built a Jaina temple at Lakkundi to which the king provided a golden Kalasa.28 Somesvara's minister Santinatha persuaded Lakhma to build the Mallikamoda Santinatha basadi at Baligrama.29 All these show the existence of Jainism during the period as well as royal patronage.

The Chalukyas of Kalyana were great temple builders all over Karnataka and they brought out new development in various components of temple. This was adopted to the Jaina temples built by them. This is amptly brought out by K.V. Soundararajan when he states" ….the Jaina temple building efforts went through more or less the same stages of growth and development as the Brahmanical, Jainism nevertheless maintained its entity by taking recourse to certain iconographic specializations which called for a distinctive layout. In surface treatment again, the Jaina temples eschewed all ostentatiously carved richi1ess on the exterior wall or fabric of the temple but were not averse to an extravagant display of ornamentation and figure work in the interior". 30 These distinctive features are found in the Jaina temples built by the Kalyana. Chalukyas at Lakkundi and other places. They generally consist of a garbhagriha, antarala, navaranga and mukhamandapa. Usually they do not have sculptyres on the outer walls. In the navaranga pillars are found with small sculptures. The sculptures generally consist of Bahubali, Parsvanatha, Mahavira, other Tirthankaras, Yaksha, Yakshis, Chaumukhastambhas, Sahasrakut Jinabimba, Dvarapalas and Manastambhas.

The most important Jaina temples of this period are Brahma Jinalaya at Lakkundi, Charantimatha at Aihole and Sankha Jinalya at Lakshmesvar. The Brahma Jinalaya built by Attimabbe represents a second phase of Chalukyan art for it not only represents a progress in architectural work but also uses finer grained schist instead of the usual granite. The latter has influenced its masonry, size and sculpture. The tample is highly imposing with dimentions of 93 ft. and 35 ft. It has a sikhara 42 ft. in height, which rise,s somewhat steeply in three storeys looking like a Chaturasra sikhara, with a sukhanasi. The mukhamandapa is spacious having entrances in east, south and north. The sculptures of Brahma and Padmavati are noteworthy.

The Charanti matha group at Aihole was built before 1119 A.D. on which date king Vikarmaditya VI through his subordinate Kesavayya Setti made arrangements for certain repairs, additions and endowments. The main temple of this group is dedicated to Mahavira. The temple has a garbhagriha, antarala, Sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa. It has a sikhara of the southern vimana type. There is also storeyed temple over the garbhagriha, a typical character of a basadi. The exterior wall is plain without any sculptures. The highly ornate doorways, drooping eaves and cornices of the corridor are highly elaborate and ornate. On the architraves of the front doors of the corridor are carved twenty four Tirthankaras, which add to the beauty of this temple.

Of the two Jaina temples at Lakshmesvar the more famous is Sankha Jinalaya which consists of a garbhagriha, a large ardhamandapa, larger mahamandapa and a rangamandapa. The rangamandapa has three entrances to south, north and west. It has a chaturmukha structure in dim unitive model, each of which carries three figures. it has a rekhanagara sikhara. The unique feature of this temple is the Sahasrakuta Jinabimba in minute form. There is a manastambha in front of the temple. Even though the temple is in ruins and has been renovated later, it presents a rare grandeur and stands as a testimony to the interest of the Kalyana Chalukyas in Jaina a.rchitecture. The other Jaina temple in this place is a trikuta dedicated to Adinatha.
The other Jaina temples of the Kalyana Chalukya period include Parsvanatha basadi at Udri, Bandalike, Parsvanatha basadi at Koppala, a ruined basadi at Halasi, Naminatha basadi at Terdal, a ruined basadi within the fort at Belgaum, Parsvanatha basadi at Ammangi in Belgaum district, a ruined basadi at Malkhed and another basadi at Sedam in Gulburga district. Most of these are in ruins and are simpler in dimensions and designs as compared to the classical basadis found at Lakkundi and other two places. However, these constructions show the widespread popularity of Jaina architecture in the north Karnataka region during the Kalyana Chalukya period.

As the Hoysalas did not have a permanent footing in north Karnataka due to the opposition of the Sevunas of Devagiri, there are no Hoysala monuments in this region. They are confined to southern Karnataka.

THE SEVUNA PERIODThe Sevunas of Devagiri ruled over most parts of north Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra after the decline of the Chalukyas of Kalyana. Tradition connects the Sevunas with Jainism. As evidenced by Nasikakalpa, Dridhaprahara one of the early king of this dynasty grew under the care of Chandraprabhasvamin and in recognition of this he named his capitgl Chandradityapura, after this Jaina saint. 31 Sevunadeva III was a devout Jaina. His Anjaneri inscription opens with an invocation to Pancha Parameshthis namely arhats, siddhas, acharyas, upadhyayas and sadhus.32 Singhana II made a large number of grants to Jinalaya at Purikanagara for the worship of Parsvanatha and to the temple of Ananata Tirthankara. King Ramachandta made the grant of a village Hunisehalli for a Jinalaya. His Sarvadhikari is said to have built a basadi at the instance of his guru Jinabhattaraka. Apart from these epigraphical references, it is not possible to identify any of the Jaina temples built during the period.
VIJAYANAGARA PERIODIt is generally believed that Jainism began declining in Karnataka after the Hoysalas. With the establishment of the Vijayanagara empire, the accent was more on the Hinduism and obviously Jainism suffered a setback. Even numerically references to grants made to Jaina establishments become small in number epigraphically which also confirms the view that Jainism was loosing ground. This is amply demonstrated by the inscription of Bukka at Hampi, which tries to bring about a compromise between the Jainas and the Srivaishnavas. One of the representative Jaina temple at Hampi is the Ganagitti gudi built by Jinabhakta Irugappa Dandanayaka who was a minister under Harihara II, in 1385 A.D. The temple was dedicated to Kunthu tirthankara.

However, South Kanara and North Kanara became important centres of Jaina architecture during this period. Varanga, karkala, Mudabidre, Barakuru and other places became centres of Jaina art due to the patronage extended by Alupa kings of Tulunadu. This has been discussed in another paper, and hence we pass on to North Kanara district. The most important monument of the period in this district is the Chaturmukha basadi located at Gerusoppe. Though its builder is not known definitely, it is generally belieyed that queen Chennabhairadevi was responsible for the construction of this basadi. The entire basadi is built of greyish schist, popularly known as soapstone. It has a garbhagriha, in which four tirthankaras are kept who are facing the four directions. The garbhagriha has entrances on four sides and is a good example of Sarvatobhadra class. The tower has disappeared. There are many sculptures of tirthankaras, yakshas and yakshis which are of fine workmanship. The other temples in Gerusoppe are Neminatha basadi, Vardhamana basadi and two Parsvanatha basadis. But they are small and do not compare well with the Chaturmukha basadi. However, the sculptures of these basad is are interesting.
The Chandranatha temple at Bhatkal is another structure of this period. Actually it is known as Jettappa Nayakana Chandranathesvara basadi. It consists of two blocks of buildings joined together by intervening porch in east and west. The western portion has two storeys. The interior is plain. The eastern portion serves as a porch to the temple. The garbhagriha has the sculptures of Rishabhanatha, Chandranatha and Mallinatha.

The Ratnatraya basadi at Bilgi is almost similar to the basadi at Bhatkal. But it is nirandhara. The three garbhagrihas have Neminatha, Parsvanatha and Mahavira. There is a vide porch and a mukhamandapa which are plain. The pillars are not elegant at Haduvalli or Sangitapura there is a temple of Chandranatha. It is plain and has a flat roof. The sculptures of some Jinas are kept in the . The sculpture of Chandranatha is very elegant and show the Vijayanagara workmanship. However, the temple itself is not of high order. The metal images in this temple are of some interest. One of them identified as that of Rishabhanatha with gomukha Yaksha has an inscription of the Fourteenth century. Seventyone tirthankaras are represented on the prabhavali. There is another metal image of Padmavati of late date and shows the decadent style. Another stone sculpture of Padmavati also belongs to this style. After the seventeenth century, the construction of Jaina temples did not become artistic creations but served the religion. Thus the long tradition of Jaina monuments which perhaps started by the early centuries of the Christian era ended by the eighteenth century A.D. in north Karnataka.The above survey shows that Jaina architectural style developed side by side with other religions but imbibed certain qualities. Perhaps the architects and sculptors were common to all religions. The storyed garbhagriha is a special invention of the Jaina architects, as found in many Jaina temples. The Jainas did not have decoration or sculptures on outside walls but took care to use such decoration in a limited way within the structures. In the early period the temples of Mahavira were more popular but by about twelfth century other tirthankaras like Parsvanatha, Adinath and twentyfour tirthankaras became more popular. In the Vijayanagara period the construction of Chaturmukha basadis gained popularity. The presence of dvarapalakas also became popular from tenth century. The erection of Manastambha also seems to have come into existance from about the tenth century A.D. and later it became almost a general rule. Thus North Karnataka contributed richly to the development of Jaina architecture in Karnataka.


vijayakumarshinge said...

What about Raibag basadi and Jains they are very much connected to kola put Jains

Raksha Varma said...

Excellent Post! Rejoice life during holidays through Dandeli Resorts; located in Uttara Kannada, Karnataka state.

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