Demolished Nanjangud Temple stood on a site of immense archaeological value
By Dr. S.G. Ramadasa Reddy
Huchhagani village is in Mysuru district, Nanjangud taluk, Hullahalli hobli, within the limits of Haradanahalli Gram Panchayat. It is 30 km from Mysuru and 28 km from Nanjangud. If River Kapila flows in its east, river Bhrugu flows in its west. It has a 3,000-year-old history belonging to Megalithic culture. Burial and other antiquities found in the area are worthy of a serious study.
Five hero stones belonging to the Ganga Dynasty of the 9th and 10th centuries and Hoysalas of the 11th and 12th centuries were found by our study team. Adishakti Mahadevamma Temple, said to be built during the Chola period, is found in the south of Huchhagani village.
With the cooperation and help of the villagers, particularly Narasime Gowda, K. Raju, Kenche Gowda, H.N. Naganna, Ragendra and others, the Government First Grade College, Kuvempunagar, conducted the successful study. The team consisted of the author who is the head of the History Department, research scholar B.S. Charan Kumar and NSS volunteer N.L. Puneet Kumar.
These Megalithic remains and unique artefacts are found in the banana orchard of late Shivanna and late Maddur Basappa. Around the burial site, black and red pottery pieces used for household purposes, pieces of iron slag and iron ore are found on the surface of the soil.
According to the villagers, underground granaries called ‘hagevu’ are found. All these conclusively prove that it is human habitation from ancient times cultivating the land, preparing iron implements for agricultural purposes, storing their produce in the underground granaries. Further historical studies are necessary to understand the history of the place.
A visit to the demolished Adishakti Mahadevamma Temple with the cooperation of the local people revealed a temporary sanctum sanctorum where the idols of Adishakti Mahadevamma and Bhairaveshwara are placed. These idols are decorated with metal masks or ‘mukhavada.’ Sri Narasime Gowda opined that these idols were consecrated during the Chola period.
As these idols are covered with metal masks, the style of architecture could not be seen. So far no inscriptions are found in the village regarding the date and period of the Temple. However, Epigraphia Carnatica Volume-3 illustrates that Nanjangud and its environs were under the rule of Chola kings of the 11th and 12th centuries.
The village elders state that in the sanctum sanctorum of the Temple and tall idols of Adishakti Mahadevamma and Bhairaveshwara idol next to it were donated by donors. Narasime Gowda believes that initially the Adishakti Mahadevamma Temple was a small Temple structure with the idols of Adishakti Mahadevamma, Bhairaveshwara and a few hero stones. When the bigger Temple structure was planned and constructed, the idols and the hero stones were retained.
Today, big hero stones are lying outside the demolished Temple structure. These five ‘penbayalu veeragallu’, ‘turugol veeragallu’, ‘veera masti kallu’ throws light on the history of Gangas and Hoysalas. It may be surmised that Huchhagani village was a place of human settlement from Stone Age to the present times. The hero stones and other artefacts throw light on Vaishnava faith.
In this context, it is obligatory on the part of the departments concerned and the local people to conserve and protect them for posterity. In today’s mechanised world that uses heavy machinery for construction and developmental works like road laying etc. there is an urgent need to sensitise and educate all — from supervisors to workers and the general public — about such places of importance and archaeological significance.
[Dr. S.G. Ramadasa Reddy is the Associate Professor of History, Government First Grade College, Kuvempunagar, Mysuru]