Ittagi/Itagi/Itgi, situated in Yelburga Taluk of Koppal district is well known for its 12th century Mahadeva temple belonging to the later Chalukyan period and is regarded as one of the finest of temples in the country. An inscription in medieval Kannada present inside the temple premises states that the temple was built by Mahadeva, a Dandanayaka (army general) of the Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI in 1112 A.D. The temple has been rightfully described as “Devalaya Chakravarti”, meaning ‘Emperor among temples’.
|The Mahadeva Temple, Itagi|
The temple facing east is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a garbagriha which houses the Shivalinga and an antarala (ante-chamber). In front of the ante-chamber is a closed navaranga having porches with doorway and mantapas, towards its north and south. The ceilings are exquisitely carved. An open navaranga or pillared hall at its front is huge, having about sixty pillars out of which twenty six large pillars stand on the floor supporting the main roof, and the remaining shorter pillars stand on the stone bench (kakshansana) around the hall supporting the sloping overhangs of the roof. The pillars are sculpted at its base and carry various designs while the central four are geometrically carved exhibiting angular patterns throughout. The original shikara of the garbagriha is partly damaged at the top and has been replaced by a modern element. The outer walls of the temple are almost plain, devoid of any sculptures and carry niches and pilasters with geometric designs, and friezes with minimal carvings.
|Pushkarni at the front of the temple|
|Open Pillared Hall at the front|
|Pillars with sculpted bases|
|4 Lathe Turned Pillars|
There are two shrines dedicated to Murthinarayana and Chandraleshwari, the parents of Mahadeva and 13 small shrines having a Shivalinga each, surrounding the main temple. The temple has a pushkarni (theertha) in its front and behind the temple is an open stepped well which has an entrance, and sloping walls on its other three sides. It was a treat to see them both filled with water.
The Mahadeva Temple of Ittagi is magnificent and stands as a proof to the greatness and grandeur of the Chalukyan style of architecture.
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