Wednesday 1 May 2013

A village that Sahadeva founded

Once a prosperous town, today it is little more than a small town. Though it is about 110 kilometres from Bangalore, it is still relatively unknown and very few tourists come here and fewer also know the ancient history of the place.
This town has an interesting link with the Mahabharata and Puranas say that it was founded by Sahadeva, the youngest of the Pandavas.
The locals refuse to this day to cultivate jowar or maize as they still recall a curse about it. They also point to a small hillock nearby which they say is the remnant of the old town. Even to this day, you can still see mounds of ash all over the place and this the locals say is the original town founded by Sahadeva.
The town was initially called Sahadevapura or Sahadevapattana and centuries later it came to be abbreviated as Sahadevapalli and subsequently Sadahalli Today, it is better known as Sadali, a small town in the newly carved district of Chikaballapur.
Sadali has mythological and historical links and it is located in Sidlagatta Taluk. It is small town north of Sidlagatta on the road to Bagepalli.
The village is surrounded by small hillocks. It has two big tanks built by the erstwhile  Wodeyar Kings of Mysore. Tradition has it that it was founded by Sahadeva when he was on his visit to the place here.
During the Vijayanagar period, Sadali province included Chikkaballapur and the adjoining areas and it was under the ambit of  Naganna Odeyar from 1370 and 1385. Their exact relation with the ruling family of Vijayanagara is not known. Subsequently, the village changed hands several times and Khasim Khan, a Mughal Commander, conquered this area and annexed to the Sira.
He then bestowed it as a Jagir on two Muslim chiefs and one of them was Fateh Mohamad, father of  Hyder Ali and grandfather of Tipu. When the Nawab of Cuddapah, Abdul Hakim Khan Saheb (1752-1792) decided to attack Sadali, the two Muslim Jagirdars  privately disposed  it in 1759 to Dodda Baire Gauda of Chikaballapur.  Subsequently, it was seized by Hyder Ali in 1762.
There is an interesting story about why the locals do not cultivate maize. There area was once ruled by Thirumalayya, a Palegar.He had one hundred wives and he was known for his administrative skills and strict adherence to rules and regulations.
One day, the palegar received a complaint about some thieves having stolen maize from a house in Sadali. When he sent his soldiers to investigate, they found some remnants of the grain in front of the house of an old woman who did not have any cultivable field.
The soldiers assumed that the old woman and her sons had stolen the grain and took them to the Palegar. The sons told the Palegar that they had found the grains on the banks of a tank and they had taken it home. They said they had no hand in the theft. Nor did they know that the grains had been stolen.
The Palegar, however, ordered the execution of the old woman’s two sons. Soon after the cremation of the bodies of her sons, the old woman cursed the Palegar that his village would be destroyed by a rain of fire. She then ended her life jumping into the tank. She also cursed that henceforth any jowar crop sown by any farmers would be destroyed without a trace and that the farmer would be subjected to the fury of the village deity, Sadalamma.
A day after the curse, the original Sadali was destroyed by a rain of fire and the present town had been built to the east of the old town after this event. Until recently, the farmers of the town were afraid of sowing Jowar in their fields.
Though there are no records available as to when and why exactly these events happened, ashes of a potters' lane can still be found at the foot of the north side of Thirumalayyana Gudda near Sadali.  
Sadali is also home to the Chennakeshava temple, which is also known as Peddagudi or the Big Temple. The temple is in a dilapidated and neglected condition. Villagers say the temple was an eyewitness to the entire incident, including the rain of fire.
The architecture of the beautiful temple resembles the Vijayanagar style of the temples at Hampi.
Locals say that the temple was constructed during the rule of Naganna Odeyar and Depanna Odeyar. The idol of Lord Chennakeshava was removed from Peddagudi and re-installed in the present town.
The Sadalamma temple is another structure worth visiting. Locals consider Sadalamma to be a very powerful deity.

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