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Somesvara Temple, Belligavi

DISTRICT: Shimoga; TALUK: Shikaripur
LOCALITY: Belligavi (Lat, 14° 54' N; Long. 74° 29' E)
APPROACH: AIRPORT: Bengaluru; RAILWAY STATION: Shimoga; BUS STATION: Belligavi

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 temple on stylistic grounds is assignable to the late Hoysala period (13th  century AD).  It has on plan, a garbhagriha, an antarala and a pillared hall which also serves asmukhamandapa. The doorways of the garbhagriha and sukanasi are exquisitely carved. The garbhagriha houses a Sivalinga on a bhadrapitha. The mukhamandapa is provided with two niches in its west wall. The entrance door, very austere, is flanked by pierced windows on either side. In elevation, the adhisthana of the temple over upana has a high pada, plain adhokumuda with dentil decorations. Interestingly, a moulding of urdhvakumuda is provided at east from the hind protion of which the entrance door and perforated screens are built and the space thus available is used as jagati. The jagati is provided with an elephant balustrated steps. The wall is built with plain dressed slabs, the monotony of which is relieved by a madhya bandha of lozenges decoration. The pillars in the mukhamandapa are lathe turned and polished. The exterior walls are plain except for the pilasters at regular intervals.