Temple: Puradeshwara and Ankeshwara Temples
Saundatti is located at a distance of 78 kilometers from Belgaum city, in Belgaum district of Karnataka. It is a Taluq which was previously known as Parasgad.
Saundatti – Overview
Saundatti, also known as Savadatti, is an ancient town in Belgaum, a pilgrimage center, a historical site where inscriptions were discovered, and a temple town. It also has the Renuka Sagara reservoir formed by the Navilathirtha dam over the Malaprabha River.
Saundatti has many temples, but the most famous is the Renuka or Yellamma temple. It is a temple dedicated to Goddess Shakti. This is a famous pilgrimage center, and the temple is especially crowded on the auspicious occasion of Bharathi Hunime and Banada Hunime. During this time, the congregation in this region crosses ten lakhs.
Saundatti – History
Saundatti was originally known as Sugandavarti. Saundatti served as the capital of the Rattas from the 9th to the 13th century. Two inscriptions have been discovered here, one a Jain inscription in Sanskrit and Kannada which refers to the rule of Rashtrakuta kings. The other is carved on the wall of the Ankeshwara Temple, which is attributed to the Ratta Chief Ankarasa. The Rattas were mostly Jains.
Saundatti is most famous for the Yellamma temple and the temple fair, Yellamma Jatre. The Savadatta fort was built in the 10th century by Shirasangi Desai. This fort has eight bastions and houses the Kadasidheshwara temple. This temple is surrounded by four bastions. The inner eaves or chajjas of his temple have rows of carving of different geometric patterns.
There are other temples around the town – Puradeshwara, Ankeshwara, Nagarkere Mallikarjuna, Ankeshwara, Ulvi Basavaeshwara, Veerabhadra, Mouneshwara, Venkateshwara and Dyamavva.
Saundatti – Architecture
The Puradeshwara temple has two mukha mandapas and three ardha mandapas. All the Sanctums have Shiva Lingas. The temple was built in the Western Chalukya style of architecture. The Vimana over the sanctum, which is damaged, is of Kadamba style. The main hall is surrounded by polished pillars.
The niches are decorated with figures of Parvati and Veerabhadra. On Ugadi days, the Sun’s rays fall directly on the main Shiva Linga. This temple was recently renovated.
The Ankeshwara temple is an underground temple with steps leading down to the mukha mandapa. Built by the Rattas in the 11th century, this is also in the Western Chalukya style.
How to Get to Saundatti
By air, you should take a flight to Hubli, the nearest airport. By train, Dharwad is the nearest station. From either of these places, you would have to use the bus service to reach Saundatti.