Between 1001 and 1500 CE, Karnataka, Western Chalukyas

Sudi – Twin Temples of Karnataka

Introduction – Sudi is a small town in Gadag district of Karnataka. It is referred as Sundi in inscriptions. Though now it is reduced to a small town, it was the capital town of a significant region, Kuskudi-70. The earliest reference of Sudi comes in Western Chalukya inscription where it appears that Kuskudi-70 would have been an important region as it was governed by Akkadevi, sister of the Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya V. She was also administrating Torgare-60 and Masavadi-140 with Kuskudi-70.

Sudi became capital town of Kisukadu-70 region in about 1069 CE as mentioned in an inscription dated 1069 CE (no 8 of this article). It is mentioned  as rajdhani Sundi while the governor was the Nolamba king Permanadi Singanadeva, who was a feudatory of the Western Chalukya king Bhuvanaikanalldeva (Somesvara II). It enjoyed the status of the capital town till at least 1084 where it is mentioned as rajdhani Sundi in an inscription of the Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI.

Dharwad gazetteer mentions that The goldsmiths of this town were licensed to mint coins and foremost among them was the royal mint-master Uttavoja who struck coins for Vikramaditya VI. An inscription (no 12 of this article) mentions gift of gold by Uttavoja during the reign of the Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI.

A Kalchuri inscription found here mentions that Kiskadu (same as Kuskudi of Western Chalukya times) was governed by Sinda chiefs. Later it was governed by local chiefs under the patronage of Suenas. Ultimately it would have been passed to Hoysalas, however no Hoysala inscription is found here. It seems Sudi was forgotten by all later empires, as no Vijayanagara inscription is found as well.

Monuments – There are two main temples and three small mandapas. The small mandapas either have Nandi or a Shivalinga enshrined. There is also a kunda/kalyani (tank) in the town.

Architecture – Adam Hardy takes Sudi school of art as a distinguished school with examples like Jodu-kalasa & Mallikarjuna temple in Sudi and Kalleshwar temple in Kukkanur. He distinguishes the Sudi school from Lakkundi school, however there are not many examples of the former in contrast to many found for the latter school. The major difference between these two schools is treatment of smaller shrines (aedicule) on the vimana wall.

Pancha-linga-deva – An inscription dated 1113 CE (no 13 of this article)  mentions that on the north of the town of Sudi, there are several sanctuaries dedicated to the god Pancha-linga-deva installed by Pandava brethren. Many names of various gods are found in inscriptions. These are Akkeshvara, Achaleshvara, Nageshvara, Kammateshvara (inscription no 12 of this article) and Chakeshvara (inscription no 9 of this article).

Akkeshvara is present Mallikarjuna and Nageshvara is probably Jodu-kalasa temples. The other three might be scattered around Sudi. Can it be surmised that these five gods, all together, constituted the Pancha-linga-deva whose main priest was Someshvara-panditadeva?

Someshvara-panditadeva is mentioned in an inscription dated 1069 CE (no 8 of this article) with regards to Achaleshvara temple.  Someshvara-panditadeva is again mentioned in an inscription dated 1075 (no 9 of this article) when a village named Musiyagere was granted to him for the benefit of god Panchalingadeva. Someshvara-panditadeva is again mentioned in another inscription (no 11 of this article) dated 1084 CE and the god mentioned is Achaleshvara.

Mallikarjuna Temple

Mallikarjuna Temple – The front portion of this temple is much renovated as it is a live temple. Front mandapa, which is open on three sides, is supported on ten pillars, eight pillars supporting the main roof and two supporting a projecting porch. It is a tri-kuta temple where three shrines share a common mandapa (hall). This common closed mandapa is supported on four pillars.

Makara-torana

A makara-torana is setup in front of the main garbhagrha (sanctum), which is dedicated to Shiva. A small Nandi is placed between the torana and the sanctum. The torana has Brhama, Shiva and Vishnu on its lintel. Similar toranas are setup in front of other shrines however all not left uncarved. Shrine on north has Uma-Maheshvar while shrine on south has Vishnu as Anantashayana. Ashta-dikpala and all ten incarnations can be seen on the prabhavali around Vishnu.

Anantashyana Vishnu

The mandapa and eastern shrine is connected with an antarala (vestibule) or sukhnasi. However there is no Hoysala emblem on top of this. As no Hoysala inscription is found here, it may be surmised that this temple was not patronized under their rule.

Uma-Maheshvara

An inscription dated 1054 CE (no 5 of this article) mentions that the constitution of the temple was set up by various officers assembled at Vikramapura. The deity is referred as Akkeshvara, which would have been drawn from Akkadevi, the governor sister of the Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya V. Therefore it can be said with certainty that this temple was constructed in 1054 CE.

Jodu-kalasa Temple

Jodu-kalasa Temple – This twin temple has two garbhagrhas (sanctums) sharing a common mandapa. The mandapa has entrances on north and south. Shikharas on both the sides, east and west, are intact in their full glory with kalasha and finial. It is built on a high raised platform (jagati).

Makara torana on the back wall

The eastern shrine has a Shivalinga inside. A unique feature of this garbhagrha is that there is makara torana on the back wall. There is figure in middle of the torana which I am not able to identify properly, he might represent Surya. A huge Nandi is placed in mandapa facing the eastern shrine, this suggests that the eastern shrine was the main among both. The western shrine is empty at present.

Nandi

The god is referred as Nageshvara and the priest was Someshvara-panditadeva  An inscription dated 1069 CE (no 7 of this article) mentions that “Nagadeva, the Emperor’s (Western Chalukya king Somesvara I) agreeable High Minister, foremost among councilors, radiant with brilliant glory, raised in the excellent town of Sundi for Nageshvara a surpassing dwelling pre-eminent in the whole world, so that the (people of the) earth praised it, saying that it is loftier than Himalayas or Kutkila, likewise more spacious than the great Silver Mountain (Kailasha).”

Vimana

The inscription also mentions that Nagadeva constructed on each side of the temple white-plastered buildings such as might be called nest of gods, and a quarter for public women. It further mentions that Nagadeva caused to be dug a pond which may be said to exceed in greatness the Milk-Ocean and Manasa-lake.

Mandapa

The temple is not maintained properly, it is protected under the Karnataka state archaeological & museum department. I found on internet that a tender for maintenance and restoration has been tendered in year 2014 for the same temple. Hopefully this will put the temple in place and conserve this heritage.

Inscriptions:

  1. Hero-stone buried in the field og Gulappa bin Ayyappa, in survey no 139 – Epigraphia Indica vol XV – characters Kanarese, language Kanarese, of 10th century CE – Hail!….. the steward of the fortunate Turaga….when the Acharya of ….. said: “O Turaga, stand in this place and conquer the base man,” when he [? Turaga] did not agree to that speech, and saw (the prospect of) defeat, he said: “We must not be defeated,” and advancing in front of him [? Turaga], and stabbing (the enemy), he won fame. For him the mother …. She who is named Lachchhakka, set up this stone.
  2. A stone buried in the road of the quarter known as the Chalavadi-keri – Epigraphia Indica vol XV – characters Kanarese, language Kanarese, of 10th century CE – The subject is the endowment of a religious charity. The formal ceremony of the endowment was performed in the presence of the god Baddegeshvara (that is, in a temple of Shiva founded by, or in honor of, a person named Baddega), the witnesses being a Shaiva teacher, whose name seems to be Murtti-Shivacharya, and the seventy, probably the head of local Brahmans. It then mentions Puligere, i.e. Lakshmeshvar and a place named Baddega-Brahmapuri, which must be quarter tenanted by Brahmans connected with the above mentioned temple. An another section of inscription mentions feeding of thousand ascetics before the same temple at the time of uttarayana-samskranti, after which comes a description of the guilt of appropriating the estate of Baddega-Brahmapuri; this guilt is declared to be equal to the sin of destroying the thirty-two thousand, seven crores of devotes and Benares (i.e. Varanasi) itself.
  3. On a slab set up inside the temple of Jodu-kalasa-deva – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 55/Epigraphia Indica vol XV – The record is dated Saka 932, corresponding to 1010 CE. The inscription belongs to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Tribhuvanamalladeva (Vikramaditya V).  It mentions the king’s sister Akkadevi, who was governing over Kisukadu-70 and registers the leasing out of certain estates by the Six Gavundas and the Eight Settis of Sundi, to the Mahajanas of the Brahmapuri of the locality.
  4. On a stone in front of the Karasthala-Matha – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 87/Epigraphia Indica vol XV – This record belongs to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Trailokyamalla (Somesvara I) and is dated in Saka 973, corresponding 1050 CE.  It records that seven royal ministers and other administrative officials granted to the eight Settis and eighty households a renewal of their corporate constitution which had partly broken down in the stress of the war with the Cholas, when had partly administering Kisukadu-70, Torgare-60 and Masavadi-140 from Pannaleya-kote. Akkadevi was administering Kisukadu-70, Torgare-60 and Masavadi-140.
  5. On a pillar in front of the temple of Mallikarjuna – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 91/Epigraphia Indica vol XV – The record is dated Saka 976, corresponding 1054 CE. The inscription is damaged and refers itself to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Trailokyamalladeva (Somesvara I).  It seems to register a gift of land made to the god Akkesvara of Sundi by Perggade nagadevayya and other officers assembled at the standing camp (nelevidu) Vikramapura, while Akkadevi was governing Kisukadu-70, Torgare-60 and Masiyavadi-140. They formed a statutory constitution for the temple of god Akkeshvara in Sundi. The full staff of the temple is specified with their names and corresponding posts.
  6. On a pillar in front of the temple of Mallikarjuna – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 93/Epigraphia Indica vol XV – It is dated Saka 980, corresponding 1058 CE  – As the record is on the same pillar as no 91 above and is dated only four years later, it is assigned to the reign of Trailokyamalladeva (Somesvara I).  The object of the inscription is to confirm the grant made in No. 91 above.
  7. On a stone set up inside the temple of Jodu-kalasa-deva – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 95/ Epigraphia Indica vol XV – The record is dated Saka 981, corresponding 1061 CE. The inscription refers itself to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Trailokyamalladeva (Somesvara I), and records that Mahasamantadhipati Nagadevayya granted the village of Sivunur in Kisukadu-70 to Someshvara-Panditadeva under the royal warrant, when the king was camping at Puliyappayanavidu in Sindavadi-nadu. Nagadevayya of this inscription must be identical with the homonymous minister of Someshvara figuring in no 91 above.
  8. On a stone set up in front of the village Chavadi – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 109/ Epigraphia Indica vol XV – It is dated Saka 991, corresponding 1069 CE. The inscription belongs to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Bhuvanaikanalldeva (Somesvara II) and is much damaged.  It records a gift of lands made by the king’s feudatory named Bhuvanaikamalla Nolambadhiraja-Permanadi Singanadeva, who was governing the Nolamabavadi-32000 and the Kisukadu-70, to Somesvara-Panditadeva, of the temple of Achalesvara at the rajadhani Sundi. A second record, here, of the same king mentions his feudatory Dandanayaka [Kotti]mayya, who was administering Kisukadu-70 and another district (probably called Chandravarti) and records certain grants made to the temple of Achalesvara by the jeweler (manigara) Maddi-Setti.  This is dated Saka 997, corresponding 1075 CE.
  9. On a stone set up in the compound of the house of Krishnaji Khando Kulkarni – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 114/ Epigraphia Indica vol XV – The inscription consists of a main record of the reign of Western Chalukya king Bhuvanaikamalladeva (Somesvara II) and two supplements of which the second belongs to the reign of Vikramaditya VI. The main inscription is dated in Saka 996, corresponding 1075 CE  and records the gift of the town Musiyagere made to Somesvara-Panditadeva, for the benefit of the god Panchalingadeva, for imparting education and for feeding scholars and ascetics, by the king, who was then camping at Vikramapura (modern Arasibidi). The first supplement records a grant of lands made by Chalukya, the Karana or Commissioner of Kisukadu, for the benefit of the temple of Chakesvara.  The second supplement records the list of lands which Kalyanasakti obtained from one Molleya Samka-Gaunda with the possession of which he was formally invested by king Vikramaditya VI.
  10. On a slab set up near the temple of Basavanna – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 130/ Epigraphia Indica vol XV – The record is dated Chalukya-Vikrama year 9, corresponding 1084 CE. This damaged inscription belongs to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Tribhuvanamalladeva (Vikramaditya VI) and mentions his feudatory, Dandanatha Srivallabha who was then administering a district (probably Kisukadu-70).  It records that this chief granted the town of Mudiyanur to a trustee (name lost), apparently was a son of our old acquaintance Someshvara, who was a votary of Vigrahesvara.  The charity was placed in charge of Six Gavundas and the Eight Settis.
  11. On a stone on the left side of the village gateway – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 131/ Epigraphia Indica vol XV – The record is dated Chalukya-Vikrama year 9, corresponding 1084 CE. The inscription belongs to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Tribhuvanamalla-Vallbha (Vikramaditya VI) and records the grant of the village Pomgari in Kisukadu-70, by his queen Lakshmadevi, to Somesvara-panditadeva of the temple of Achalesvara at rajadhani Sundi, for the benefit of the temple, for feeding ascetics and for imparting education.
  12. On a slab set up at a corner of the front wall of the house of Siddapa Ron – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 153 – The epigraph is dated Chalukya-Vikrama year 28, corresponding 1103 CE. This record refers itself to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Tribhuvanamalladeva (Vikramaditya VI) and registers a gift of gold by Uttavoja, the king’s goldsmith, to god Kammatesvara of Sundi.
  13. On a stone standing at the right wall of the village Chavadi (village-hall) – South Indian Inscriptions vol XI, no 164/Epigraphia Indica vol XV – The record is dated Chalukya-vikrama year 38, corresponding 1113-14 CE.The inscription is for the most part badly damaged and effaced.  It belongs to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Tribhuvanamalladev (Vikramaditya VI) and records the grant of 1000 mattar of land in Achalapura, made by Mahasamanta Dadiga, son of Gunda of the Bappura family and Bali race, who was ruling over Kisukadu, to some one, may be to Kalayanasakti, who was attached to the Nagaresvara establishment of the capital town Sundi for supplying food and giving instruction to ascetics.  A few minor gifts are further recorded of which the first is by a chief (name lost) of the Bali race. It is mentioned that on the north (of the town) is a sanctuary of several deities, called the Pancha-linga which was founded by the Pandava brethren. Connected with this establishment, there is a godly and renowned divine of high lineage. This establishment was founded by a holy divine named Parameshvara-budha; his disciple was Vareshvara-budha and his disciple was Kalyanasakti.
  14. On a stone in front of the Karasthala matha – South Indian Inscriptions vol XV, no 141/Epigraphia Indica vol XV – The record refers to the reign of the Kalchuri king Sankama – It praises Vikramadeva of the Sinda family whose genealogical account is given.  The chief is said to have been governing Kisukadu.  The record is mutilated after the historical introduction.
  15. On a stone in front of the Karasthala matha – South Indian Inscriptions vol XV, no 154 – This is dated Saka 1124, corresponding to 1202 CE – The inscription would have been from the reign of the Yadava king Singhana. It mentions a subordinate of the king bearing the epithets Khanderaya, etc., and Kisukadu-nadu-70.  It seems to refer to the remission of some taxes.  The inscriptions is badly damaged and worn out.
  16. On a broken stone near the Vithoba temple – South Indian Inscriptions vol XV, no 92 – 12th century CE – This inscription commences with the Chalukya prasasti and refers to the reign of a Chalukya king whose name is lost.  Of the date portion, only Pushya ba.  13, Thursday is preserved. It described the family of Sinda feudatories and mentions Simha and his queen Ketaladevi. It registers a gift of land and seems to refer in this connection to the preceptor Somesvara who was its recipient.  The epigraph is damaged and some portions are lost.

How to reach – Sudi is located about 19 km from Ron and 50 km from Gadag. Gadag is the nearest railway head.

References:

  1. Burgess, J (1885). Lists of the Antiquarian Remains in the Bombay Presidency. Government Central Press. Bombay.
  2. Campbell, J M (1884). Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency vol 22: Dharwar. Government Central Press. Bombay.
  3. Hardy, Adam (1995). Indian Temple Architecture: Form and Transformation. Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts. New Delhi. ISBN 8170173124.
  4. Thomas, F W (ed) (1921). Epigraphia Indica. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi.
  • Kiran Naik

    The ornamental well, one of the protected temples in the heart of the village which is closed by 50 feet high encircled domb from bottom till top, and also a temple in the heart of the village which is said to have an underground path till the Jodu Kalasa temple should have covered.

  • Kiran Naik

    All the monuments in this village are left to die their own death!

  • N S Sharada Prasad

    Enlightening the locals to preserve these monuments to posterity is the most important thing. Otherwise they will be completely ruined. Thanks for the nice write-up.