Kopeshwar Temple – Khidrapur

What it cannot make up for in size and scale, the Khidrapur temple makes up in grandeur and ornateness. This temple is dedicated to the wrathful form of Lord Shiva, known as Kopeshwar. Of the Shiva temples, this one is unique, in that the Nandi is absent. We don’t know why.

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple

Legend

Long time ago, there lived a chief of Gods called Daksha. He was married to Prasuti, the daughter of Manu, who bore him sixteen daughters. Satī was the youngest of them all, and had her heart set on Shiva.

Daksha and Shiva did not see eye-to-eye. There was, to say the least, a general animosity; more on Daksha’s side. When Satī was of marriageable age, Daksha held a Swayamvar, where he invited all, except Shiva. Satī had made up her mind about who she would choose, but not seeing Shiva in the assembly, flung the garland in the air and asked of Shiva to accept it. Shiva appeared there, middle of the assembly – garland around his neck. Daksha had no choice, but to grudgingly accept; Satī and Shiva were married.

Much later, Daksha held an ashwamedh (horse sacrifice) – again, all Gods were invited to partake of the offerings of the sacrifice; except Shiva. When Satī heard of this she was furious and after an argument with Shiva proceeded to the sacrifice, uninvited. Some insults ensued, and Satī released an inward consuming fire and died at Daksha’s feet. (some versions say Satī self-immolated in the sacrificial fire)

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple

Shiva soon got to know of this and was consumed with rage. In that state he tore a lock of his hair and flung it to earth, which gave rise to the frightful form of Virbhadrā, who wrecked havoc at the sacrifice. Daksha was beheaded, among other ‘divine’ casualties. Brahmā and Vishṇu had to intervene to stop the carnage. Shiva bestowed a goat’s head to Daksha and made good, all injuries caused. Thus, all was well; all those present bowed to the Trinity, and departed.

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple

History

Construction of this temple was started by the Śilāhāra King, Gandarāditya I, (the youngest of five sons of Mārasimha) around 1126 CE (Some sources put the date at 1028 CE). For more information of dynasties of Maharashtra, see The Dynasties of Maharashtra

The Śilāhāras were originally feudatories of the Rāśtrakuta empire, and ruled in North Konkan, from around 800 CE. By 900 CE, there were three branches of the dynasty; apart from the original North Konkan branch, they now also ruled South Konkan and South Maharashtra (Kolhapur). Gandarāditya I (r. 1108 – 1138), of the Kolhapur branch, started the construction of the Khidrapur temple. Gandarāditya was a prolific temple-builder and is credited for building four temples in the region and providing grants for a few more, including Jain and Buddhist temples. Gandarāditya was succeeded by Vijayāditya and Bhōja II, after which this dynasty came to an end at the hands of the Seuna Yādavs.

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple

 

Construction of the temple continued for over seventy years during the reign of his successors, Vijayāditya and Bhōja II. The structure was still incomplete when the Yādav king Singhana annexed the Śilāhāra kingdom, and remains such, to this day. Singhana also possibly contributed to the construction of the temple, according to some inscriptions in the temple.

Temple Architecture

Plan - Khidrapur Temple
Plan – Khidrapur Temple (Click to Enlarge)

The temple consists of the garbha-grha (sanctum), the antarāla (antechamber), the gūḍha-maṇḍapa (enclosed hall) and the raṅga-maṇḍapa, constructed in a row. Usually, there is a dvāra-maṇḍapa in front of such a gūḍha-maṇḍapa but here its place is taken  by a detached large octagonal maṇḍapa (called sabhā-maṇḍapa or ranga-maṇḍapa), as in the case of the Sun Temple at Modhera. Inside, are twelve pillars in a circle which open to the sky, because the ceiling was never constructed. It is believed by the local people that a pious man who stands on the slab below that opening, goes to heaven. Hence, it is also called the swarga-maṇḍapa.

The garbha-grha, the antarāla and the gūḍha-maṇḍapa are star-shaped on the outside Their walls are decorated with various images from top to bottom The lowest part of the jaṅghā (pillars) are adorned with beautiful figures of elephants (Gajapeetha), with various Gods such as Indrā, Brahmā and Vishṇu riding them. There are 92 such elephants, 46 on each side. (Adapted from CII Vol. 4)

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple

 

The construction methodology followed is the dry mortar bedding technique. (ASI, Mumbai Circle)

Here’s another extract (with minor edits for consistency and readability) from the The Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency (Vol. XXIV – Kolhapur) about Khidrapur:

Khidrapur, lies on the Krishnā river about twelve miles south-east of Shirol. The chief interest of the village is the temple of Kopeshwar which lies in the centre of the village and is 10½’ x 65’ x 52½’ high, to the top of the dome. The walls are made of black stone richly carved and the dome is covered with stucco. To the main building are attached two richly carved sculptured mandaps or vestibules. In the vestibule are two concentric squares; the outer with twenty and the inner with twelve pillars, richly carved. In front of the temple is round roofless structure called the Swarga Mandapa or Heavenly Hall, on the plan of what would be a twenty-rayed star, only that the spaces for four of the rays are occupied by four entrances. On the outside on a low screen wall stand thirty-six short pillars, while inside is a circle of twelve columns. Further from the temple is the nagārkhāna or drum-chamber. The outer walls of the temple are broken at oblique angles as in the Nilang Hemādpanti temple.

By the south door of the temple is a Devgiri Yādav inscription of Sinhadev in Devnāgari dated Shak 1135 (A.D. 1213) granting the village of Khandaleshwar in Miraj for the worship of Kopeshwar.

*

Khidrapur is about 65kms south-east of Kolhapur and well laid out on Google Maps.

Gallery

References

  1. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum. Vol. 6 Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras
  2. Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency Vol. 24 – Kolhapur
  3. ASI Mumbai Circle. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2017, from http://www.asimumbaicircle.com/m_kolhapur.html
  4. Gupta, S. P., & Asthana, S. P. (2009). Elements of Indian Art: Including Temple Architecture, Iconography & Iconometry. New Delhi: Indraprastha Museum of Art and Archaeology.
  5. Nivedita, S., & Coomaraswamy, A. K. (n.d.). Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists.
  6. Shilahara Dynasty. (2017, March 26). Retrieved March 30, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shilahara
  7. Virabhadra. (2017, March 28). Retrieved March 30, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virabhadra
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The Dynasties of Maharashtra

An overview of the various dynasties that ruled the region that is now Maharashtra, from 230 BCE – 1300 CE. A very short description of all these dynasties follows.

We are very grateful to Brigadier Gerard, who had first posted this as a sketch on Twitter, and gave us permission adapt it and post it here.

Dynasties of Maharashtra
Click to view large size

The Dynasties of Maharashtra

Most of the content below is sourced from Wikipedia. Apart from this, some references have been made to various books listed at the end.

A note on dates: You will notice some discrepancies in the dates in the infographic above and sources (including Wikipedia). This is primarily due to how historians interpret dates. Some take it starting from when a dynasty was established, some take it at later time. Most of the dynasties listed below were vassals or feudatories of the dynasties that preceded them. In such situations, they were semi-independent to an extent.

Sātavāhan

The Satavahana dynasty ruled the Deccan region between 230 BCE – 225 CE. They were probably vassals of the Mauryas, and established their supremacy in the Deccan after the decline of the Maurya Empire. The dynasty was established by Simuka, however, Gautamiputra Satakarni (86–110 CE) is the most well-known king of this dynasty. The Satavahanas ruled from Pratishthana (modern-day Paithan) and Amravati (Dist. Guntur, Andhra Pradesh) [Link]

Vākāṭaka

The Satavahanas were succeeded by the Vakatakas, who ruled during 250 – 525 CE, with their capital at Nandivardhana (modern-day Nandardhan, near Ramtek) and Vatsagulma (modern-day Washim). This dynasty was founded by Vindhyashakti (c. 250 – c. 270 CE). Vakatakas are known for their patronage of art & architecture. The famous Ajanta caves, were built by under the patronage of Vakataka emperor, Harishena. [Link]

Kālāchuri

The Kalachuri dynasty, ruled in Ujjayini, Vidisha, and Anandapura; and their capital was Mahishmati, which lies along the banks of the Narmada River. Not much is known about the founder of this dynasty; the earliest mentioned king was called Krishnaraja. Like the Vakatakas, the Kalachuris were also patrons of art & architecture. The Elephanta caves and the early Ellora caves were built under their patronage. [Link]

Chalukyas of Vatapi (Badami)

One of the most significant dynasties of the Deccan, the early Chalukyas, or the Chalukyas of Vatapi ruled a large area of the Deccan between 550 – 760 CE, covering the entire region between the Narmada and the Kaveri rivers. Their rule is considered to be an era of prosperity. It also saw the birth of a new architectural style called Chalukyan architecture. The Chalukyas were natives of Karnataka; this dynasty was founded by Pulakeshin I. [Link]

Rāṣṭrakūṭa

The Rashtrakuta dynasty ruled most of the Indian subcontinent, between 753 – 973 CE, with their capital at Manyakheta (Modern-day Malkhed). The Rashtrakutas were feudatories of the Chalukyas of Vatapi and at peak, the Rashtrakutas ruled from the Ganges River to Cape Comorin. This period saw the development of many literary works as well as development of architecture, which include the Kailashnath temple at Ellora and the Jain Narayana Temple at Pattadakal. [Link]

Śilāhāra

The Silahara were vassals of the Rashtrakutas and were split in three branches: North Konkan, South Konkan, and Kolhapur. Across these three branches, the Silaharas ruled between 765 – 1215 CE. The Northern branch was founded by Kapardin, and their capital was Puri (modern-day Rajapur, in the Raigad district). The Silaharas of Kolhapur originally ruled from Karad, and later shifted their capital to Kolhapur. The Panhala fort, near Kolhapur was originally built by the Silahara ruler, Bhoja II between 1178 and 1209 CE. [Link]

Chalukyas of Kalyani

The Chalukyas of Kalyani, or the Western Chalukyas, ruled the Indian subcontinent during 973 CE – 1180 CE, with their capital, earlier at Manyakheta, and later at Kalyani (modern-day Basavakalyan). Major ruling families of the Deccan, the Hoysalas, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynasty and the Southern Kalachuris of Kalyani, were subordinates of the Western Chalukyas. The Western Chalukyan architectural style is well known as the transitional style between the earlier Chalukyas and the Hoysalas. [Link]

Kadamba

The Kadamba dynasty ruled northern Karnataka and the Konkan from Banavasi. The dynasty was founded by Mayurasharma in 345 CE. Kadambas were the first rulers to use Kannada as another official administrative language. The Kadambas of Goa, first ruled from Chandor, and laters shifted their capital to Gopakapattana (Goa). The Kadambas of Goa ruled between 960 – 1310 CE and succumbed to the Seuna Yadavs. [Link]

Seuna Yadav

The Seuna Yadavs were feudatories of the Western Chalukyas, and established their independence as the Chalukyan power declined. The Yadavas of Devgiris, as they are also known, ruled from 1189 – 1310 CE, from Devgiri (modern-day Daulatabad). The name Seuna comes from Seunachandra, who originally ruled a region called Seunadesha (modern-day Khandesh), this dynasty was established by Bhillama V (1173–1192 CE). Singhana II (1200–1247 CE), however is considered the greatest ruler of this dynasty who expanded the Seuna kingdom. In 1317 CE, this kingdom was annexed by the Khilji Sultanate. [Link]

References

  1. A., N. S. (1976). A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. Madras: Oxford University Press.
  2. Bhāndārkar, R. G. (1957). Early History of the Dekkan. Calcutta: Gupta.
  3. Nagpur District Gazetteer. (n.d.). Retrieved January 07, 2017, from https://web.archive.org/web/20060603010304/http://www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/FINAL_GAZETTEE/his1.html
  4. Sharma, L. P. (1987). History of Ancient India: (pre-historic age to 1200 A.D.). New Delhi: Konark .
  5. Singh, U. (2008). A history of ancient and early medieval India: from the Stone Age to the 12th century. New Delhi: Pearson Education.

Featured Image: By Dey.sandip (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons