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Kedaresvara Temple, Belligavi

DISTRICT: Shimoga; TALUK: Shikaripur
LOCALITY: Belligavi (Lat. 14° 64' N; long. 74° 29' E)
APPROACH: AIRPORT: Bengaluru; RAILWAY STATION: Shimoga; BUS STATION: Bellgavi
    
Belligavi, also referred to as Belgami, Belligave, Balligamve, Ballipura in inscriptions was the royal city of Banavasi-12000. It is connected with the demon king Bali according to some lithic records. It was a place of such antiquity that even in the 12th  century AD it was called as Anadi rajadhani (capital of ancient cities) and the mother of cities. It was an important centre for learning and contained five mathas and three puras, besides seven Brahmapuris connected with temples. It is also called as Dakshina Kedara due to its religious importance.  The  Kedaresvara temple datable to circa 12th century AD is in east-west orientation.  It is a trikutachala or triple celled temple of the Hoysala style. The western cell has vestibule or sukanasi and the northern and southern cells have an ardhamandapa, all terminating at a six-pillared mahamandapa,which opens into a spacious pillared sabhamandapa with entrances at north, south and east. Interiorly the mahamandapa walls are pierced with devekoshthas. The western and southern cells have Siva-lingas whereas the northern  cell enshrines an image of Vishnu. The exterior is austere save the indented features of ratha, pratiratha and anuratha offset with similar feature repeated in the region of vimana upto finial. These three towers are similar in form to each other, is of tritala arpita vesara class with the wall details repeated at each tala. The ornate pillared sabhamandapa is the key feature of this temple which has 16-sided fluted polished pillars some of which are treated with leaf decoration. The temple in its heyday attracted a large number of followers of the Kalamukha sect. In the same complex is a miniature replica of the Kedaresvara temple to its north-western side, which is also a trikuta (three-celled),structure is Prabhudeva temple. The wall of the temple is relieved by a madhya banda with lozenge decorations. The navaranga doorway is well-sculptured and the western shrines have shiva lingas and the northern one has a 17th century veerabhadra image.