Exploring Banavasi Town's Madhukeshwara temple
My introductory article on Banvasi Town is here - please go through it to understand more about Banvasi Town in general. This article will take readers on a visual tour to Banvasi’s famous Madhukeshwara temple.
Heritage Temple of Banvasi Town
Banvasi’s main Madhukeshwara Temple, was constructed during the 9th Century ancient period. The temple’s make is rich with diverse architectural influences of various dynasties that reigned over Banavasi town.
Architectural styles and craftsmanship of various civilizations at Madhukeshwara Temple
The temple’s architectural design, sculptures, carvings have classic styles prominent in the periods of Kadambas, Chalukya, Hoysala, Sonda and Vijayanagar dynasties.
Although the temple was originally built during the Kadamba period and was dedicated to Madhava, a form of Vishnu, it’s name ‘Madhukeshwara’ now refers to a honey coloured Shiva Linga on an embellished yoni-pitha located in one of the temple’s mandapas..
Elegant carvings, pillars of the temple Mandapas
The temple premises has different sections or mandapas supported by pillars, they are cool sections offering a lot of shade even in hot afternoons.
There are seating spots around for visitors after their temple tour and prayer offerings. The mantapas have a richness of art, with elegant carvings representing architectural styles of various dynasties mentioned above.
This is Banvasi’s heritage, that is imprinted with craftful creations of old civilisations, really unique!!
One of the statues that’s easily noticed is that of Nandi, in the Mahamantapa (hall) of the temple.
Curiosities outside of the Mandapas around the temple Campus
Outside of the mandapas within the temple premises there are other architectural curiosities like these chimney tower like structures.
Around the temple campus are various deities housed in small enclosures - Uma Maheshwari, Ganapathi, Vaya, Indra, Virabhadra, Narasimha etc.
There is one particle idol of Lord Ganesha called Arda Ganapathi, where the left half of Ganapathi is at this temple and the right half is at Kashi.
Infact , the temple has more influence of Kashi as it has within it 101 Shiva Lingas equaling to that of Kashi.
Banvasi Town's famous chariots kept at the temple's entrance
One can also notice two chariots at the entrance of the Madhukeshwara Temple.
These chariots are taken out in Banvasi’s own chariot festival that takes place after Ugadi every year during the month of March- April. A model of this chariot is also displayed inside the temple campus signifying the significance of the Chariot festival to the people of Banavasi.
The speciality of Banvasi’s chariot festival is also that the town takes to procession the Big Chariot or Dodda Teru that is one of the most giant Chariots in the entire SOuth Indian region being 75 feet tall and 45 feet wide, weighing about 150 tonnes.
There is a historical value attached to this chariot as well that was donated by the king of Sonda, Ramachandra Nayak in 1608, which makes the chariot over 4 centuries old. Till date, this chariot that was constructed with Honne wood is preserved well using native methods safeguarding the wood from pests. The method employed here for the preservation of the wooden chariot is application of garlic and ground nut oil on the wooden chariot.
This chariot with six wheels is so massive and weighty that it would take hours for a crowd of people to move this chariot!!
Banvasi’s week long chariot festival holds special relevance to Banavasi locals as it involves all sections and communities of the Town in celebrating it.
Welcome refreshments for pilgrims with pineapple and coconut juice stalls about
After completing temple tour, darshan, refreshments stalls are there at the temple’s entrance to quench the thirst of pilgrims, especially during hot weather conditions.
A much recommended have are those juicy pineapples, as they are one of the best pineapples you can have in India!!
Ending the post with some snaps of the entrance campus of the temple, this also showcases the culture of Banavasi Town in a way.
Other places to explore in Banavasi will be covered in my next Banavasi write up, with other sightseeing spots being showcased. Meanwhile you can have a glimpse of Banavasi here at my introductory blog post on Banavasi Town here .