India is a country full of surprises and are hidden in places that finding them itself is mesmerizing. Though we had done good amount of googling to find more about this lovely place, Galagnath hidden in a small village on the banks of Tungabhadra, one can get lost, practically.
After having done a quick stop at Somesvara, we headed towards our destination. The fascination with this place was more with regard to structure in which this was created by the western Chalukya dynasty during the period of Vikramaditya.
Galaganath village was earlier called as Palluni Village and was later named as Galaganath because of Galageswara. When we read in history that habitations happen on river banks and cultures flourish, this place can stand out to be one great example. The beautiful temple is tucked on the banks of Tungabhardra, It is also called the place where five rivers meet. They are Tunga, Bhadra & Kumudvathi merge with Varada & Dharma.
The temple is on a real high platform and it gives a great view of the river and village.
We after being lost, managed to slowly move towards the temple after multiple attempts to converse and understand the language. Finally the sign language & humanness took the better of us and we reached this beautiful temple.
As one steps into the temple, what catches our eyes is the structure. Though there is a Chalukya influence, but the base makes you feel that this is that of a pyramid base. But as the structure rises it has got beautiful designs and intricate workings. The structure is that of a mandala and the temple opens up to the east towards the river.
As we walked around, we were mesmerized by this small base and the stone carvings. What fascinated me the most was the Shiva linga. It is a huge linga compared to the ones that I have seen so far in Dakshina Karnataka, where the concept of building is huge linga are evident. More, we got to hear from the locals there who spoke some good Hindi and English.
It is said that this Linga has a “Sparsha Linga” underneath it. Legends say that, people used to put an Iron rod near the Linga and pray, which used to get converted to gold. When the king got to know about the misuse of it, he got the Linga covered with “Galaga” or a protective layer. Since then the temple has been called as “Galageswara” and the village name changed to Galaganath.
It is not just Shiva, but the walls are also adorned by Vishu avatars, and Lord Surya (The sun God).
The temple has a small mandapa and it seems the temple was used for Art and Dance proliferation. There is no denial that temple were built as culture & Communication hubs and religion was used a binder. On the raised platforms within the mandapa are etching of board games that would have been played during that time.
There are stone inscriptions stating that the temple was built around 1080 AD.
We spent time talking to the ASI caretaker, the School headmaster and a few locals who were very enthusiastic to share their knowledge and understanding. One could see the pride they carry for the place. They loved to pose and we loved to shoot them.
The temple shares its boundary walls with the village and the co-existence is so nicely woven in.
It is said that the Kanndiga Literary novelist “Shri Venkatesh Trivikrambhat Kulkarni” was born in Havanur and he had written most of his novels sitting in the mandapa of Galageswara. He is also called as “Father of Kannada Novels”, who had self published and sold his 29 books on the streets to popularize the language too.
After spending close to an hour we headed for our destination for the day, Haveri and not before we had an impromptu stop on the open field to pick up Byadgi Chilly.
A few pointers:
- This is a small village and GPS may not locate the temple accurately. Get onto local people network to find more.
- There is no ASI fees to enter the place and no one asks money in the temple.
- The place is very peaceful so you could spend some “Me time” and soak the beauty.
- Carry your own food & water bottles. You do not have shops to buy what you may like.
- Finally, ensure “Swatch Bharat”
That one hour is well etched in our minds and we just cannot remove the fascination and creative excellence that India had then.
Hats off to Incredible India!!