Monday, November 15, 2010

Kamal Basadi and Belgaum Fort : A Photo Feature



Kamal Basadi is a Jain temple located inside the Belgaum fort, Karnataka. It was built sometime in 1204 AD by Bichiraja, a minister in the court of Raja Kartavirya IV, the Ratta king who ruled the Belgaum region.




 Pic: Vintage pics of Kamal Basadi





Pics above: Vintage pics of Belgaum fort











The Belgaum fort is a 'bhumikot' or a landlocked fort located inside the city of Belgaum. The fort was built by Bichiraja a courtier of the Ratta king in 1204 AD. Post the Rattas, the fort came under the control of the Yadavas of Devgiri,the Khilji sultanate,the Vijayanagar kings, the Bahamani sultans,the Bijapur sultans,the Mughals, Hyder Ali of Mysore,the Marathas and later the British.Though the monuments inside the fort have since been destroyed or worn away under the ravages of the five elements, the fort walls still continue to exist along with their bastions and are surrounded by a large moat. The fort is currently in use by the army for their administrative and residential puposes. The fort also holds some temples, a mosque and the Ramkrishna mission.
The idol of Bhagwan Neminath, the Jain tirthankara was found in the jungles some two hundred years back and duly installed in the temple garbhagriha. The idol is made from highly polished blackstone which gleams in natural light.The throne for the the idol is also very exquisitely carved and one cant but marvel at the artwork. 


Besides the main idol of Neminatha are idols of Bhagwan Sumatinath in a standing posture, Bhagwan Adinath in a padmasana posture, Bhagwan Parshwanatha in a sleeping posture under a seven headed snake. There are also the Navagraha idols located in the premises.




The temple has a bee hive shaped nagara styled layered shikhara. 


The roof is supported over a carved freize and supported on brightly polished carved pillars and walls with some beautiful figurines and motif work. Two of its pillars have inscriptions in Kannada Nagari scripts, one of 1199 of Ratta King Kartaveerya IV and another of 1261 of Seuna Yadava king, Krishna. 




The ceiling of the sabhamandapa (mukhamantapa) in particular is very beautiful, with a intricately carved seventy two petal lotus (kamal) design(the petals have twenty four Jain tirthankars carved on them). 




Surrounding the same are various sculptures of animals, snakes and deities.


There is also another temple called Chikki basadi in the vicinity. It houses the ancient idols Bhagwan Suparswanath and Bhagwan Parsvanath said to have been found in the tent and elevent centuries respectively. 



Chikki basadi also has a verandah with delicately carved walls and pillars.

                                                                   
There is a well maintained garden and green lawns inside the temple premises which add to their beauty. The local Doddannavar family (besides the Archaelogical Survey of India) and the Upadhye family take good care of the temple premises as they have been doing for their past several generations.

Text and Photographs : Abhijit Rajadhyaksha (except the credited photographs)

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