LAKSHMESHVARA (PULIGERE)

 

Lakshmeshvara, (lakSmEshvara) (ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮೇಶ್ವರ) which was known in ancient times as Puligere ((ಪುಲಿಗೆರೆ) is a town of historical importance known for its temples, inscriptions and an educational centre. (GaTikA sthAna) It is located in Shirahatti talluk of Gadag district at a distance of 21 kilometers from Shirahatti. The town and the surrounding regions were ruled by the Chalukyas of Badami and Kalyani. This place is documented in inscriptions and literary texts by its original name, ‘puligere’. A temple of Lakshmeshvara built here in the 11th century was eventually responsible for its current nomenclature. Puligere is one of the places mentioned by Srivijaya in his ‘kavirAjamarga’ delineating the boundaries of the region where pure Kannada (tiruLugannaDa) was spoken.

            Lakshmeshvara contains a number of ancient Jaina temples. (Basadi) ‘sanKa basadi’(Shankha) dedicated to Neminatha Teerthankara, built during the regime of Badami Chalukyas is the most important among them. This “consists of a garbhagriha, a large ardhamandapa, larger mahamandapa and a rangamandapa. The rangamandapa has three entrances to south, north and west. It has a chaturmukha structure in dim unitive model, each of which carries three figures. It has a rekha nagara shikhara. The unique feature of this temple is the Sahasrakuta Jinabimba in minute form. There is a manastambha in front of the temple. Even though the temple is in ruins and has been renovated later, it presents a rare grandeur and stands as a testimony to the interest of the Kalyana Chalukyas in Jaina architecture. The other Jaina temple in this place is a trikuta dedicated to Adinatha.” (A.V. Narasimha Murthy)  Anesajje basadi’ built by a queen called Kunkuma mahAdEvi during the regime of Keerthivarma-2 is also  important. Many more basadis whose names are documented in inscriptions are now demolished. The most important monument at Lakshemshwar is the Someshwara temple complex ( 11th century). The temple complex with three main entrances and surrounded by high walls looks like a fort. It is a splendid specimen of Chalukyan architecture. In the middle of the Temple complex, stands the Someshwara temple. It is surrounded by many small temples mainly dedicated to Shiva, along the compound wall. This compound wall is built with granite. Some huge halls in the complex are meant for resting devotees. VAjEshvara temple was built prior to the Kalyani Chalukya dynasty.

Lakshmeshwar is also home for many shrines, a dargah, Kodiyellamma temple, the Mooka Basavanna shrine, a gigantic idol of Suryanarayana and many more such edifices. Some fifty inscriptions in Kannada as well as Sanskrit are found here. During the rule of Adilshahi (Bijapur Sultanate), the kings built Dargas and Masjids at Lakshmeshwar. The KAli Masjid here is an ornate structure, built by Ankush Khan, the commander of Bijapur. The Jumma Masjid at Lakshmeshwara dates back to the time of the Adilshahi rule. The mosque was built in 1617. Jumma Masjid is constructed in Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The massive doors of the mosque are like a fort entrance. The mosque has 2 tall Minars and a large 'semicircular dome’. There are Dravidian style chains hanging across the ceiling of the mosque.

An educational centre (GaTikAsthAna) was established in Lakshmeshwara during the twelfth century. Agrahaaras meant for brahmins were constructed here by Raashtrakuutas and KaLachuris. A number of minor poets in Kannada such as Brahmashiva, Puligere Somanatha and Mahalingadeva lived in this place during different periods. Devachakra bhattaraka, Shankanacharya, Hemadevacharya, Padmasena, Tribhuvanachandra panDita and Rama devacharya are some of the Jaina scholars who resided here during its long history.

            Lakshmeshvara has flourished for more than a thousand years and it is an important site for students of history and architecture.

 

  1. flickr.com/photos/ashinal/78580699/

    2.  flickr.com/photos/ashinal/78580697/

    3. Lakshmeshwar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

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