Temple: The Mukteshwara Temple
The Mukteshwara Temple
The district of Haveri in Karnataka is dotted with hundreds of temples dedicated to different Gods and Goddesses and built by various dynasties in their own styles like the Dravidian, Hoysala, Chalukyas and Vijayanagara. The Mukteshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, sitting on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, is a fine example of the Chalukya architecture.
Mukteshwara Temple – Overview
The temple is situated about 40 kilometers from the town of Haveri. The outer structures of the temple have been wonderfully preserved even after centuries have passed. The exteriors are covered with amazingly detailed sculptures depicting various events form the puranas.
Mukteshwara Temple – History
The Mukteshwara temple in Haveri district of Karnataka is renowned in the archeological circles because it was built during the transition period from Kilimukha to Veerashaivam, where other forms of Lord Shiva were eschewed in favor of the Lingam. This movement was spearheaded by Basaveshwara in Karnataka and the earliest scriptures mentioning Basaveshwara are found here in Mukteshwara Temple.
His followers, called Lingayats, practice this form of worship even to this day. There are medieval Kannada inscriptions on the temple walls which mention the Veerashaiva movement for the first time during the year 1191. You can see the historical importance of this temple to scholars and archeologists.
Mukteshwara Temple – Architecture
The Mukteshwara temple in Chaudayyadanapura village in the district of Haveri is considered to be the finest of all the temples of Karnataka.
This is because history shows that it stands witness to the Kannada language in the 11th and 12th centuries. It also signifies the shift to Veerashaivam from the earlier form of Suddha Shaivam that was being practiced when other idol forms like Nataraja were worshipped.
The inscriptions in the temple walls also show that the Gupta dynasty ruled the region at the time, and that King Chandragupta Vikramaditya ruled from his seat of power in Ujjain. Like the Bhrihadheeswara Temple in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu which contains a lot of information about the Chola kings on its inscriptions, the Mukteshwara temple too carries authentic information about the Gupta dynasty.
Mukteshwara Temple – Religious Significance
The Mukteshwara temple in the Haveri district is the definitive temple when it comes to religious significance. The entire shift in the worshipping of Lord Shiva from Suddha Shaivam to Veera Shaivam was spearheaded in this region during the 11th century and it is also well tabulated here in the inscriptions.
This temple is the most religiously significant as it bears witness to the Kannada Kingdom of the medieval ages. The temple testifies to the greatness of Basaveswara who helped the Veera Shaivam movement to thrive and spread across the entire Southern Peninsula, as almost all the temples across the South have only lingams installed instead of other idol forms of Lord Shiva.
How to Get to Mukteshwara Temple
The village of Choudayyadanapura is about 40 kilometers from the town of Haveri. From Haveri you have to travel for about 25 kilometers on the road to Agadi and then take a right turn onto the Ranebennur road to reach the village of Choudayyadanapura. The best time to travel to this spot would be during the months of March and February.
Mukteshwara Temple – Facts
The Mukteshwara temple of Haveri is one of the most important historical monuments in the state of Karnataka as it carries authentic information on the society, its religious practices, rulers and their dynasties etc. during the 11th and 12th centuries.