Balambeed – A Lost Matha

Introduction – Balambeed, also spelled Balambid, is a small village in Hangal taluk of Haveri district in Karnataka. In ancient times, the village was known as Ballareyabidu. The earliest inscription found here, dated 1118 CE, belongs to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI. During his rule, the village was under the Kadamba chiefs of Banavasi-12000 and Panumgal-500.

After the Western Chalukyas, this region went to the Kalchuris. An inscription of their king Bijjala is found here. After them it would have come under the Seunas and Hoysalas, falling ultimately to the Vijayanagara rulers.

Monuments – There are temples of importance in the village.

Kalmeshvara Temple

Kalmesvara Temple – Henry Cousens referred the temple as Kalmeshvara or Kalleshvara. This temple is devoid of any sculpture on the outer walls. There was a plan to put sculptures over the vimana and upper level however it was left incomplete. The temple is consisted of a mandapa, antarala and garbha-grha.

Temple Vimana

The mandapa is supported on lathe-turned pillars. There is a Nandi placed facing the garbha-grha. The antarala has jali doors, a characteristic feature of the Chalukyan architecture. There are four niches in the mandapa, one housing Ganesha and one Kartitekeya. One would have housed the loose Saptamatrika panel which is now lying on the floor. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu on antarala lintel, with Shiva in middle, suggests that the temple is dedicated to Shiva.

In inscriptions, the temple is referred as Boladera-gudi/ Baladevara-gudi. The deity is referred as Brahmesvara. There was a matha (monastery) attached to the temple at that time. It might be a Kalamukha (lingayats) monastery as they were active around this region during twelfth century CE.

Ramesvara Temple

Ramesvara Temple – This dilapidated temple is currently devoid of any vimana superstructure. Its open mandapa has lost its surrounding walls. There has been lots of renovation carried out in this temple. The temple consists of a mandapa, antarala and garbha-grha. Antarala had characteristics Jali windows on either side, one side window is replaced with a plain one. A stone Nandi faces the garbha-grha. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu on antarala lintel, with Shiva in middle, suggests that the temple is dedicated to Shiva.

Temple Mandapa

The external walls have niches provided but all are empty. One striking feature on external walls is the depiction of Dravidian and Nagara style vimanas. Though there are provision for niches however there are no sculptures are provided.

As per an inscription found here, the temple deity is referred as Grameshvara. A certain part of collected taxes was provided for oil for the temple.


  1. Slab set up in the Ramesvara temple – South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – Dated Chalukya-Vikrama year 41, corresponding to 1118 CE and belong to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Tribhuvanamalla (Vikramaditya VI). The inscription records a gift of land and garden for the benefit of the temple Of Gramesvara by Barmmagavunda of Ballareyabidu, who was the subordinate of Mahamandalesvara Tailahadeva of the Kadamba family governing Banavasi-12000 And Panumgal—500 and by the other prajes of the place. The gift was entrusted to Amritarasi-pandita, the acharya of the temple. It further records other gifts of Oil and income from taxes to the same temple by the 1000 tambuligas and others.
  2. Slab set up in Baladevara Gudi – South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated Chalukya–Vikrama year  47, corresponding to 1123 CE and belongs to the reign of the Western Chalukya king  Tribhvanamalla ( Vikramaditya VI ). The inscription records  a gift of land, for offerings and worship to god Brahmesvara by Baumagavunda who had the temple constructed at Ballareya- bidu when was under his administration the gift was made over to Vimalasaktipandits who was the disciple of Nirvvasaktideva, the acharya of the Matha attached to the temple of Chikkesvara. The latter is said to have been the rajagara of Mahamandalesvara Tailapadeva who was governing Banavasi –12000 and Panumgal –500 provinces.
  3. Slab set up in the temple called Boladera-gudi  – South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated 1165 CE on calculation and belongs to the Kalachuri king Bijjala. The inscription records a grant of land made by Kesava-dandanayaka,  the officer In charge  of  taxes  (sunkadhikari)  for  the  benefit  of  the  temple  of  God Brahmesvaradeva, attached to that of the God Chikesvaradeva of Ballarabidu. The grant was made in the presence of the karanas, beaded by Siddhugi- Dandanayaka, Hariharagavunda, lveggade Birana and other and was entrusted to Vimalasaktideva, the acharya of the temple. The conquests of Bijjala are enumerated and other genealogy of Kesava-dandanayaka is given.
  4. Hero stone set up in the temple of Ramesvara Tailapa – South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – The inscription  which refers itself to Tailahadeva ruling from Naraymangal and dated in the 2nd year of his reign. The name Tailaha suggest that he belonged to the family of the Kadambas of Hangal. It records a grant of land at Kakere  made by Bammagauda, in honour of his father who died in a raid made by Tailaha on Ballabidu in course of his attack on Huritigi-nadu, the fort of which was in charge of a certain Sovarasa
  5. Hero-stone set up near the village Chavdi – South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – This record, in late characters, registers the death of Elle-Nayaka at Hommadi.



How to Reach: Balambeed is about 11 km from Hangal on Sirsi-Haveri road. Haveri is the nearest railway head, Hubli is the nearest airport and Bangalore is the nearest International airport. Balambeed can be reached via buses traveling on Sirsi-Haveri road.


  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. Cousens, Henry (1926).The Chalukyan Architecture of the Kanarese Districts. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi.