Svasti - Essays in Honour of Prof. Hampa Nagarajaiah ► Section I: Epigraphy, Iconography, Manuscripts ► Selected Jaina Tri-Kuta Monuments from Karnataka

Posted: 15.12.2010

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Selected Jaina Tri-Kuta Monuments from Karnataka

Karnataka has a rich temple culture and is well known for the erection of many hundreds of temples of various architectural styles belonging to different periods from 5th to 16th centuries. The temples or basadis were built at the instances of several kings of every ruling dynasty, their subordinates, merchants, devotees and individuals etc. The Jaina temples are commonly known as the basadi or basti and Jainas believed that the temple building was also a means to salvation and secured for the builders the delight of heaven in the next life. This accelerated the process of temple construction and gradually gave rise to several temple cities and Sravanabelgola, Halsi, Aihole, Dharward and many other places in Karnataka are fine witnesses to this spirit of Jaina devotion. The people attached great importance to temple worship; they performed almost all sacraments such as birth ceremony, investiture of the sacred thread and marriage before the Jinas in Jaina temples. Jinasena explains clearly the observation of these rites in the Indian temples.

The Jainas have always taken their due share in the development of art, culture and architecture. Both Buddhism and Jainism flourished at an equal state and a distinctive school of art and architecture had grown up. The special architectural characteristics peculiar to monuments dedicated to Jainism are many and are significant. In the Kuntaladesha i.e., Karnataka, the Adi-Gangas and the Adi-Kadambas had initiated an era of Jaina architecture. Aihole in Bagalkot district is an early cradle of Jaina architecture. Along with Aihole Badami Cave No.IV opened a glorious golden chapter in rock-cut architecture. Megudi is one of the early examples of structural shrine, of the flowering of the Chalukyan and Jaina art. The wealth of symbolism and mystical imagery in its vigorous style, wrought in hard stone, leaves an everlasting imprint. The Jains were the foremost patrons of religious architecture. They have profusely patronized craftsmen and artists. Many guilds of śilpins, sculptors, worked for Jaina foundations. Jainism has produced special architectural and sculptural forms based on its regional tradition and mythological concepts. Through experiments and experience, the carvers had evolved some of the Jaina architectural and sculptural features.

The Jaina building activities not only accelerated considerably but also standardized in the age of Chalukyas of Badami sovereigns. It reached its zenith in the epoch of the Rashtrakutas and Chalukyas of Kalyana and witnessed culmination in the reign of the Hoysalas. The Chalukyas initially continued the rich tradition of rock architecuture. They chose soft rocks of the region for architecture and sculptures like the Jaina Cave temples and the in-situ figural relief sculptures at Badami and Aihole. But they also soon shifted to solicit structural shrines with stones quarried from the soft sand stone rocks of Vatapi or Badami and its neighbourhood, putting the Chalukyas’ stamp on the authorship.

The earliest known Jaina temple or basadi in Karnataka is the Megudi or Melgudi at Aihole in Bagalkot district, got constructed in Saka 556 i.e., 634 A.D., by Ravikirti, a poet in the court of Pulakesin II and this temple was described as “jinendralaya”. Although there are references to the constructions of Jaina temples in Halashi and in Banavasi area during the reigns of Kadamba Mrigeshvarama and Ravivarma, the temples have not yet come to light. The inscriptions also attest the practice of temple construction during the 9th and the 10th centuries. Chamundaraya, the minister and general of the Ganga king Marasimha, is said to have constructed a magnificent temple, containing the image of the 22nd Jina Neminatha on the Vindhyagiri hill at Sravanabelgola. The construction of temples and installation of Jina images increased in the 11th-12th centuries and the epigraphical evidence shows that princes and people alike erected numerous Jaina temples and granted lands for various acts of worship in the Jaina temples, which were open for all irrespective of cast and creed.  Pocikabbe, the mother of Ganga Raja, is said to have erected numerous Jaina temples at Sravanabelgola and many other holy places. Santaladevi, the queen of the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, built the Savatigandhavarana temple at Belgola and granted willage Mottenavile to her preceptor for providing regular worships in 1123 A.D.  In the middle of 12th century, Haryyale, a woman belonging to the middle class, is said to have advised her son to build a Jaina temple for obtaining boundless merit.

Inscriptions refer to the construction of Jaina besides in the capital during the times of Harihara II and Devaraya II of Sangama dynasty of Vijayanagara. In 1385 A.D., Irugappa Dandanayaka, a Jaina general of Harihara, built a basadi for the consecration of the image of Kunthanatha, the 17th Tirthankara. This is the only instance of a basadi erected specially to install this Tirthankara in Karnataka. At present this basadi is known as Ganagitti Sivalaya at Hampi. The other basadi was erected under the order of Devaraya II, in 1426 AD, in the Pan Supari Bazar, at Hampi, for installing Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara.

Some of the important and selected Jaina Tri-Kuta basadis are described below : -

01. Chandragupta Basadi, Sravana Belgola, Channarayapatna Tq. Hassan Dist.

The basadi or temple[1] is situated south of the hill, facing south, dedicated to Jaina, assignable to 8th century A.D., of Ganga king Siva Mara II, built of granite with a sikhara of Dravida style above the garbhagriha.

The temple  consists of three garbhagrihas in a row and a rectangular mandapa with flight of steps.

All the three garbhagrihas are rectangular, the central one enshrines Parsvanatha, the right one enshrines Padmavati and the left one enshrines Kushmandini Yakshi.

Above the central garbhagriha has sikhara of Dravida type with dvi-talas and the other garbhagrihas have eka-tala sikhara. The mukhamandapa is rectangular, squarish in appearance with elaborately carved perforated screens of steatite on either side of the shrines. The screens have friezes of narrative panels, revealing the Jaina legends in great details. The entrance doorway side-screens are later additions during the time of Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala period.

The adhishthana of the temple consists of upana, jagati, tripatta kumuda, a kantha with kampas and a pattika with prati on top. The bhadra portion has two pairs of pilasters on each side and the side mandapa has two more pilasters. The wall pilasters are brahmakanta, the padmabandha and kambha. The kapota is decorated with kudu arches with trefoil finials and a vyalavar raft on the top. All these courses run right round the two vimanas. The sikhara is adorned by karnapattas with kodikkurukka work.

02. Jaina Temple or Basadi, Arasibidi, Hunugunda Tq. Bagalkot Dist.

The temple is situated in the village, facing east, dedicated to Jaina, assignable to the second quarter of 11th, century AD, of Chalukyas of Kalyana, built of red sand stone with a sikhara of Dravida style above the garbhagriha. An inscription dated 1047 A.D.,[2]  in the reign of Chalukya king Somesvara I, refers to the village name as Vikramapura and to the construction of tri-kuta Jinalaya in the name of god Gunada Bedargi Jinalaya.

The temple  consists of three garbhagrihas with three antaralas on west, north and south, a common sabhamandapa and an open mahamandapa with mukhamandapa towards east and southern entrances with a fligh of steps.

The main western garbhagriha facing east is square and enshrines a seated Jaina Tirthankara on a pitha, which is parly mutilated. The garbhagriha dvara has chatus-sakhas decorated with creeper scrolls etc., and the lalatabimba is depicted with a Tirthankara. The antarala is square and its doorway is very simple. The antarala is fitted with jalandharas.

The garbhagrihas on the north and south are also square and empty at present, but must have enshrined Jaina Tirthankaras. The doorways are similar to that of the western garbhagriha. The antaralas are square, open, and stand on two pillars at the front.

The sabhamandapa is square and stands on four central square pillars set on an elevated floor in the centre and twelve corresponding pilasters set against the walls. The entrance of the sabhamandapa towards the east and the doorway is similar to that of the main western garbhagriha doorway.

The open mahamandapa is square, open, stands on four central pillars set on an elevated floor in the centre and twelve corresponding pillars set on the kakshasana. The central ceiling of the sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa are decorated with lotus flower in the centre.

The mukhamandapa towards the east is square and stands on two square pillars at the front on kakshasana with flight of steps decorated with balustradala yali. The mukhamandapa has also an entrance towards the south with a flight of steps.

The adhisthana of the temple consists on an upana, jagati, tripatta kumuda, gala, vedika. The outer walls of the temple ae plain and the gabhagrihas have  sikharas of Dravida style.

03. Anantanatha temple, Lakshmisvara, Ranibennur Tq, Haveri Dist.

The Jaina temple[3] is situated in the town, facing north, dedicated to Anantanatha Tirthankara, assignable to circa 1200 AD, of Chalukyas of Kalyana.

The temple consists of three garbhagrihas, antaralas, sabhamandapa and and open mahamandapa with mukhamandapas on east, and west and entrance on south and west.

The garbhagrihas on south, east and west are square. Parsvanatha is enshrined in the eastern garbhagriha and a standing Anantanatha is enshrined in the northern and western garbhagrihas. The doorways of the three garbhagrihas are simple without dedicatory bloks on the lalatabimbas. The outer walls are decorated with pillars and pilasters with central projections have devakosthas toped by Nagara sikharas. The eastern garbhagriha has Dravida sikhara.

The antaralas are square with doorways and connect between garbhagrihas and sabhamandapa. The outer walls are decorated with pillars and pilasters.

The sabhamandapa is square and stands on four central pillars in the centre and corresponding pilasters set aginst the walls.

The open mahamandapa is square and stands on four central pillars in the centre and corresponding pillars set all around. Towards the east the mandapa is converted into a garbhagriha. The main entrance of the mukhamandapa is towards the south.

04. Neminatha Sankha temple, Lakshmisvara, Ranibennur Tq, Haveri Dist.

The temple[4] is situated in the town, facing east dedicated to Neminatha Tirthankara, assignable to circa 1200 A.D., Chalukyas of Kalyana.

The temple consists of rectangular garbhagriha, square sabhamandapa with two garbhagriha's on north and south, square passage and open mahamandapa with three entrances on east, north and south.

The main rectangular gabhagriha enshrines Neminatha Tirthankara seated in yogasana on a simhapitha. The rectangular garbhagriha is divided into six bays by two pillars. The doorway is simple without lalatabimba. The outer walls are decorated with pillars, pilasters, projections, recesses and devakosthas. Above the garbhagriha is a modern sikhara built with brick and morter with stupi.

The sabhamandapa is square, stands on four pillars in the centre and corresponding pilaster set against the walls. Towards north and south are two garbhagrihas where Jaina images are enshrined. The doorway with lalatabimba has a Jina seated in padmasana with dhyanamudra flanked by male chauri bearers toped by chatras. The passage between the sabhamandapa and the open mahamandapa is square and standing on four pillars in the centre and corresponding pillars on all sides.

The large open mahamandapa is square, stands on four pillars in the centre and corresponding pillars set on all the four sides. It has got 25 ankanas and three entrances on east, north and south with a flight of steps. The southern entrance doorway lalatabima has a Jina seated in padmasana with dhyanamudra flanked by male chauri bearers. All the three entrances have flight of steps. The temple is well preserved and in good condition.

05. Mahaveera Jinalaya, Anegondi, Gangavati Tq. Koppal Dist.

The Jinalaya[5] is situated in the village, facing east, dedicated to Mahavira, constructed in 1346 AD, by Iruguppa Dandanayaka, son of Baich Dandanayaka, the general of Harihara I of Sangama dynasty of Vijayanagara.

The jinalaya consists of a garbhagriha with antarala towards the west, another garbhagriha with antarala towards the south and the northern garbhagriha (in a ruined condition), a common sabhamandapa and a rectangular open mukhamandapa.

The main western garbhagriha is square and the pitha is decorated with a small squatting lion on three sides. The sculpture of Mahavira which was kept on this pitha is missing now. The doorway has simple sakhas and the lalatabimba is depicted with a seated Jaina figure.

The antarala is rectangular, the doorway is decorated with sakhas and the lalatabimba depicted with a Jaina figure. The ceiling is rectangular and plain.

The southern garbhagriha is square and empty at present, but it must have enshrined a Jaina Tirthankara. The doorway is plain and the lalatabimba depicted with a seated Jaina figure.

The northern garbhagriha with antarala is completely ruined and the only doorway is available on the site.

The sabhamandapa is square and stands on four central pillars set on an elevated floor in the centre and corresponding pillars set against the walls. The sabhamandapa has an entrance door towards east, has plain sakhas. The elephants depicted on the lalatabimba carry a flag in their trunks and stride towards the doorway. The central ceiling is decorated with lotus medallion and other ceilings are flat and plain.

The mukhamandapa is rectangular and stands on four pillars at the front in a row. The pillars consist of lower square blocks, octagonal in the middle and sixteen sided above. The lower square blocks are depicted with elephants, geese with foliated tails etc. The octagonal portion is decorated with petal motifs and bands with medallions and capital. The ceiling of the mukhamandapa is horizontal and plain. The mukhamandapa is provided with low kakshasana on three sides and the western wall is decorated with hamsa.

Footnotes:
[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]

Author

Source/Info

SVASTI - Essays in Honour of

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Prof. Hampa Nagarajaiah
for his 75th birthday 7.10.2010

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Editor: Prof. Dr. Nalini Balbir.


Publisher: Dr. M. Byregowda
for
K.S. Muddappa Smaraka Trust
Krishnapuradoddi #119, 3rd Cross,
8th Main, Hampinagara
Bangalore - 560 104 Karnataka
Ph : 080-23409512
e-mail : baraha.ph[at]gmail.com
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Edition: 2010

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