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Bhimesvara Temple - Nilagunda

DISTRICT: Davangere;
TALUK: Harapanahalli
LOCALITY: Nilagunda (Lat. 140 44' N; Long. 750 53' E)
APPROACH: AIRPORT: Bengaluru;
RAILWAY STATION: Hospet;
BUS STATION: Harapanahalli

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Nilagunda, known for its steatite (soapstone) quarries, was an important village right from the times of the Chalukyas of Kalyana. The temple is constructed during the last quarter of the 11th century AD under the rule of the Chalukyas of Kalyana. The temple is in Vesara style. On plan the temple consists of three garbhagrihas,  each with an antarala on the north, west and south, opening into the sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa on the east with lateral steps at the entrance, and a shrine attached to the mukhamandapa on the east. The walls have projections and recesses decorated with Vesara turrets on double pilasters and with Dravida turrets on single pilaster. The western cella has its superstructure intact and as a whole it is tritala Vesara vimana. Each tala is composed of composite sala, panjara and kuta units. Under the kirtimukha of each sala is Siva as Nataraja, Mahesvara, etc. The garbhagriha doorway is carved with five sakhas and at the base are Saiva dvarapalas flanked by female chauri-bearers. Similarly the doorways of the northern garbhagriha and the west antarala are finely carved. The sabhamandapa has four ornate pillars on the raised floor at the centre. Its interior niches accommodate sculptures of Ganesa, Mahishamardini, Saptamatrikas and seated Yaksha. A small bull is kept in front of the west garbhagriha, in the sabhamandapa.