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Tripurantaka Temple

    Categories: Shimoga

Tripurantaka or Tripurantakesvara temple is one of the eminent temples in Balligave town of Shivamogga district, in Karnataka state. It is situated at a distance of about 346 KM away from Bangalore and 287 KM away from Mysore.

District: Shivamogga
Town: Balligave
Temple: Tripurantaka temple

Tripurantaka Temple – Overview

Tripurantakesvara Temple at Balligavi. Photographer Dinesh Kannambadi

Tripurantaka temple is an ancient temple situated on the north-east of the Balligave town. It was built in 11th century AD by Western or Later Chalukyas. The temple’s main deity is Tripurantaka, a form of lord Shiva. The temple represents the architectural style of Chalukyas.

The pillars and door frames bear a resemblance to the earliest works at Belur and Halebid. Additionally there are erotic sculptures on the friezes of the temple’s exterior wall. The best to time visit this temple is during Shivaratri, a Hindu festival.

Tripurantaka Temple – History and Mythology

The temple was built by Western Chalukyas, during the king Vishnuvardhana’s era. It was constructed around the year 1070 AD, when their political supremacy on Deccan plateau was at its peak. The kings of the Western Chalukya dynasty worshiped Shiva, the Hindu god. Hence, they built many temples dedicated to lord Shiva.

This temple is one among them. Additionally, they were tolerant towards Vaishnava or Jain faith also. Accordingly, one can find the sculptures of other Hindu gods Brahma and Vishnu along with Shiva above the shrine’s entrance.

Tripurantaka Temple – Architecture

Tripurantakesvara Temple Sculpture and Grill work at Balligavi. Photographer Dinesh Kannambadi

The temple architecture symbolizes Western Chalukyas’ style. Facing east are temple’s two parallel shrines. There are several erotic sculptors on friezes of the temple’s outer walls. This kind of sculpture is uncommon of Chalukya architectural style. The temple is known for its unique perforated windows that have spectacular stone art work. The doorway is decorated on both the sides by window panels.

Each window panel is filled with long and entangled sculptures of three pairs of ‘nagas’ or snakes. At the doorway are the stone sculptures of the ‘dikpalas’ guarding the deity.

Above the temple’s entrance are marvelous stone sculptures of Shiva in the centre, dancing as Gajasuramardhana. To the right of which is Brahma, Kumara and Ganesha figures sculpted. On to the left are beautiful sculptures of Keshava, Garuda and others.

Few sculptures belonging to Hoysala era still exist in the temple. One such is the sculpture of a Hoysala king killing a lion. There is also an inscription below this sculpture describing the hunting expedition of the king.

How to Get To Tripurantaka Temple

Tripurantaka temple, located in Balligave, is at a distance of 72 km from Shivamogga. It is well connected to Shikaripur, Sagar and Shimogga by road. The nearest railway station is at Shivamogga.

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