Treasure Hunt or Ignorance

Just few days back sad news surfaced. An ancient Hoysala era Mahakali idol was found damaged in Doddagaddavalli near Hassan District, Karnataka.

This sad news took me back to lockdown memories, when I got chance to visit Belur and Halebidu after lockdown was open and only intrastate travel was allowed. 

I had been to Belur before but this time I was hoping less crowd and ample time to explore temples in Belur and Halebidu. I was not disappointed though it was drizzlling all the day.

After crossing Hassan and before Belur, we took a right turn and reached small village of Doddagaddavalli to see the lessor known Laxmi Devi Temple.

Temple is unlike other Hoysala temple as its not built over Jagati (platform) and its unique because of chatuskuta design as it has four shrine of Mahakali, Mahalaxmi, Vishnu and Bhutnatha

When we reached no one was there. Temple is located next to small lake, we could see emblem of Hoysala kingdom (Sala fighting the tiger) at the top of temple towers. we parked our car and opened a small gate first. Then a voice came from a house opposite to temple, priest of the temple told that door is open and we can go inside and offer our prayer.

We opened beautiful designed door to get inside and awestruck by the carving on the walls, ceiling. 

Inside, the main hall is supported by lathe turned pillars. 

Another unique thing we noticed is the Mahakali is guarded by two life size demonic dwarapal (door keeper) known as Betal, standing facing each other. 

Both the Betals, looks scary, tongue out. One holding big sword and severed head. 

Goddess Mahakali in her calm form was nicely decorated with garlands and I was speechless looking at the statue of Mahakali, so beautiful and calm. Inside this shrine, it was dark but the lights was coming from Mahakali statue making the entire shirine divine.  

On the top of the door, other forms of Betals, Shakini, Dhakhi is carved. You can notice some of them were playing musical instruments and dancing. 

Unfortunately this statue of Mahakali is now damaged

There are two types of stories emerging, one the idol was toppled and damaged by some miscreants trying to find hidden treasure. There was no security at the temple. Many believed that this could not have happen had ASI deployed night watchman for the security.

Second the idol was not properly maintained and broken due to negligence. Interesting thing to note that other idols were not touched and no evidence of vandalism. Priest of the temple had complained to ASI official many time about idol being shaky and not stable.

Whatever the reason is, one thing is sure that it's great loss to our heritage and history. This incident also questioned the ASI ability to maintain, protect historical sites and monuments. 

1 comment: