Saturday 9 March 2013

The legend of a Vijayanagar temple

This temple on a hill was built by Parushurama, one of the ten avatars of Vishnu in his Dashavatara. Parushurama meditated here and after Shiva and Parvati appeared, he built four more temples.
Several thousands years later, the temples were repaired and renovated by the founders of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, Hakka and Bukka.
Today, except for the main temple, the other temples are in runs and the only visitor to these neglected monuments are an occasional trekker or a family which is on a weekend picnic.   
This is the village of Pathapalya near Gummanayakanahalli in Bagepalli taluk of Chikaballapur district.
The village is just a little over 100 kilometers away from Bangalore but it is unfortunate that there has not been any effort to preserve the first few structures of the Vijayanagar Empire.
Hakka and Bukka founded the Vijayanagar Kingdom in 1336 and the temple here is among the first of the structures of the dynasty.   However, Bagepalli and its surroundings have a more ancient history to speak of.  They were ruled by local chieftains before they came to be absorbed into the Vijayanagar Empire as provincial rulers.
The town of  Bagepalli was earlier known as Bhairavapattana and the Hiranyeshwara Temple is a standing monument of early Vijayanagar style. The brick and mortar structure is credited to both Hakka and Bukka.
The Hiranyeshwara temple is located about three km away from Pathapalya village of Bagepalli taluk on the national highway. It is constructed between Bhairavapattana and the foothills of Ramagiri, with Chitravathi and Papagni rivers flowing on either side of the temple.
Initially, this was the place where the Pancha Nandeshwara temple was located. According to legends, Parashurama  constructed the Pancha Nandeshwara temple here and consecrated a Shiva Linga on a circular Peeta or a platform. He himself named the temple as  Pancha Nandeeshwara.
This folklore is supported by some rock and stone edicts discovered near the temple and in Bagepalli. What is more, four other smaller temples, all said to be consecrated by Parusharama, can be found in four different directions around the Pancha Nandeshwara Temple.   
Locals say that a commander of the Vijayanagar Army,  Hirannaiah and the son of  the Vijayanagar Emperor,  Kemppannaraya were returning to Hampi after a victorious campaign.
The army halted at this place and a fight broke out between Hirannaiah and Kemppannaraya. Angered over the manner in which he was being treated, Hirannaiah refused to come back to Hampi and preferred to stay back near the Pancha Nandeshwara Temple.
Hakka and Bukka came here and tried to persuade Hirannaiah to come back. The Vijayanagar Emperor had come to Pathapalya by travelling through the valley of Guraladinne Gantlamallamma.
Hirannayya refused to come back to Hampi and he decided to stay in the temple and spent the rest of his life there itself. Hakka and Bukka reluctantly agreed with Hirannaiah’s decision and they conferred on him the title of  Paleyagar of Gummanayakanapalya. He later came to be called as Khadri Patinayak and his successors as Palegars of Iniminchepalli which is a small village in Chikkaballapur taluk.
Another legend states that an Army chief of Vijayanagar was returning to Hampi and he rested here. Shiva and Parvathi appeared in his dreams and ordered him to restore the dilapidated Hiraneshwara temple with materials hidden nearby.
The Army chief dug up the spot and found materials with which he completed the repair and renovation of the temple. He, however, decided to remain here for the rest of his life and sent the army back to Vijayanagar.
When Hakka and Bukka came back here, the Army chieftain refused to leave the temple and preferred to spend his last days here.
The hill on which the temple stand is called Ramagiri.  
The temple was in a dilapidated condition and it has been restored to a certain extent. The Ratotsava, which attracted thousands of people from Bagepalli and surrounding areas, was stopped for the last 60- years after one of the chariot wheels came unstuck.
When I visited the temple, the chief priest Shirkantha Dikshit, told me that efforts are already underway to renovate the temple.
The fort at Gummanayakanapalya is nearby. The temple and Gummanayanakapalya is easily accessible from Bagepalli and it is about 100 kms from Bangalore.

No comments:

Post a Comment