Chalukya era sculpture restored, but temple loses original glory

It is a common sight in Dravidian temples to see stone inscriptions (Shila Shasanas) on the walls. But to see sculptures in the form of scriptures is quite unique.

Published: 03rd December 2012 10:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2012 10:44 AM   |  A+A-


It is a common sight in Dravidian temples to see stone inscriptions (Shila Shasanas) on the walls. But to see sculptures in the form of scriptures is quite unique. One such sculpture can be seen in the Kalleshwara Temple of Jalasangavi village (Bidar district), a temple built by the mighty Chalukyas. Best known for its stone Fort, Guru Nanak Jhira Gurudwara, Papanash Temple and several other historic places, Bidar district is home to the small, yet historically important Kalleshara Temple (built sometime between 1050 and 1300 AD) in Jalasangavi. The village, 11 km from Humnabad, has a sculpture of Shasana Sundari (Shilabalika), a  mythological woman, behind the Kalleshwara Temple, seen writing Shasanas. However, the temple has lost its original glory, thanks to poor restoration.


Shasana Sundari is seen in a dancing position. Historians opine that the sculpture of Shasana Sundari is writing Shasanas praising Vikramaditya of the Chalukya Dynasty. Academicians have deciphered the writing as- ‘Saptadweepodari Bhutam Bhutam Swikarishyati Chalukyo Vikramadityaha: Saptamo Vishnuvardhana’ (Vikramaditya of Chalukya Dynasty captured and is ruling the land containing seven islands). Though the temple wall houses many sculptures , the most attractive is of this Shasnana Sundari. Other statues are of Lord Ganesha, Vishnu and other Hindu mythological figures.

Testimony to Govts’  Apathy

According to historians, this temple was the source of inspiration for the later works in Belur, Halebidu and Somanthapura temples, built by the Hoysalas.

However, it is unfortunate that this famous temple now lies neglected. Successive governments, both at the Centre and state have continued to neglect this architectural marvel. Now, this 1,000 year old structure stands in a dilapidated condition owing to lack of maintenance. The government made efforts to renovate the building in 2003. But, it destroyed the originality of the temple by mixing it with present technology.

Now it stands as a bad example of a mix of 1,050 AD of Chalukya dynasty and the 21st century work, Taluk Panchayat member Pandurang, who represents Jalasangavi TP constituency in Humnabad TP, told Express.   The government has pasted big stone slabs and damaged the sculptures. Sculptures are seen scattered across the compound.  

The ancient temple, under the control of the State Archeology Department, has now become a safe haven for anti-social elements, as the Department has failed to employ any security personel to keep a vigil, says Pandurang.  Pandurang shows a letter written by the state Archeological Department on December 12, 2011. It states that the Union Tourism Ministry sanctioned `26.14 lakh to develop Jalasangavi as a tourist spot by constructing footpaths, parking lot and toilets.

 “But nothing has been done in the last one year. Humnabad TP will pass a unanimous resolution in the next meeting asking both the state government and Centre to restore the ancient structure,” he said.

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