Naada Kalasi : Malnads Own Khajuraho
The Malenadu town of Sagar is known for numerous temples and architectural marvels such as ikkeri, beloved, and keladi. Less is known about Naada Kalasi temples. Nadakalasi a town that was formed as a part of Banavasi, a Kadamba Capital. Later was ruled by Kalyani Chalukyas and Hoysalas. These 12th-century twin temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva- Mallikarjuna and Rameshwara. Mallikarjuna temple is impressive with indicates carvings are attractive.
Serendipity .Thats what took us to Naada Kalasi !. An Auto driver mentioned the place to us on a sightseeing trip to Ikkeri with some friends recently. And thats how we went to Naada kalasi , which is full of temples that are fine examples of Hoysalan Architecture.A half an hours drive from Sagar on the Sagar - Ulvi road brought us to kalasi , a tiny village in Sagar taluk of Shimoga district.The place has earned pride of place in the histroy of Karnataka because of its great contribution to the field of art , religion and history.
History has it that Kalasi was popularly known as Naadina Kalasha - Crown of the State.
But as the Hoysala dynasty disintegrated , the temples too were slowly forgotten.For many centuries , the temples of Naada Kalasi were buried in the recesses of the states collective memory.Today there are 2 ( twin ) temples of Mallikarjuna and Rameshwara belonging to the early 12 th century, that stand as a symbol of Hoysala splendour.
Epigraphic evidence says that Naada kalasi was the capital of Hoysala king Ballala II. The Hoysala ruler Baleyamma Hegde ,after gaining victory over a local province, constructed the twin temples in 1140 AD in celebration. According to Historian Keladi Ventatesh Jois , " Initially only one temple dedicated to Mallikarjuna was constructed by Baleyamma hegde, but later his father himself who was jealous of it burnt the temple and constructed the Rameshwara temple.However the local people have a different opinion .According to them , the Mallikarjuna Temple was built during the Kadamba dynasty , while the Rameshwara temple belonged to the Hoysala reign.
The star shaped Mallikarjuna temple is flanked by two identical mantapas with ornately carved outer walls.The statue of huge monolithic bull , called the Nandi with intricate carvings and faces the deity of Mallikarjuna - Lord Shiva. The statue welcomes visitors right at the steps in front of the narrow entrance. As we step in , we come across a spacious hall with finely carved and polished pillars.There are more than 10 pillars , each coloumn has some carvings depicting natyashastra and are as intricate and beautiful as those found in Belur and Halebid.However circular columns and mudras which are star shaped are the main attractions in this verandah.
Adjoining the Mallikarjuna Temple is the Rameshwara Temple .The temple comprises garbhagriha , rang mantapa, sabhamantapa, and pradashina patha .The ranga mantapa has openings in the East , West and South directions.Carvings on the pillars in the sabha mantapa are rare and visual treats
Sculptures in the various erotic postures mentioned in the Kamasutra of vatsayana are carved on the outer walls of the temple earning Kalasi Village the name Malnads Khajuraho for its erotic carvings.
The idols of the bull and elephant are supposed to have been found during restoration and are said to have occupied a place near the doorway. In the temple precincts are the masti stones ( hero stones ) nagarakallu ( Stones with inscriptions of snakes ) and broken idols.The exquisitely carved idols are said to be disfigured by tresure seekers.The antiquities here are a veritable for those who want to take research on the subject. The gopura of this temple is also typical of Hoysala architecture.There are a number of idols in and around the temple containing Hoysala insignia .For a temple of such magnificient architecture ,the temples do not attract many visitors ,In fact , on the day we went ,we were surprised that we were the only visitors there.The temple priest who is also the caretaker told us that devotees or touristsflock to near Ikkeri but rarely do very few make a visit this place.Better transport facilities from Sagar ,providing basic amenities ,sign boards to lead to temple and providing a place on the tourist map of the state by the tourism department will definitely attract more tourists.