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Old, big and beautiful

V. PANEESHA
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Officials inspecting the renovation works at Someshwara temple
Officials inspecting the renovation works at Someshwara temple

The beautiful and big Someshwara temple in Kollegal taluk, constructed during the 12th century, is a combination of Chola and Hoysala architecture. The temple is situated in Shivanasamudra, an enchanting island created by the branching of the Cauvery into two streams. The place also has two other beautiful temples — Ranganatha and Maramma. Someshwara temple is in octagonal shape and is considered as the earliest built in Chola style. A Tamil inscription engraved on the adhistana of the garbhagriha in 12th-13th century characters registers certain grants made to the temples of Ulagamundishwara (Someshwara), Tillair-alvishwara and Tillaikuttavitankara and also mention their construction. A Tamil record engraved on the kumuda moulding of the garbhagriha of the Someshwara temple, consisting of 19 fragments, is in Tamil and Grantha characters of 12th-13th century. The place is mentioned as an old agrahara in Mudigondasolamandalam. One more record in the same place in 12th-13th century characters refers to the Hoysala king Virabhalladeva. Yet another damaged Tamil record on the south slab of the adhistana in early 12th century characters registers a gift for a perpetual lamp.

Ornate entrance

The temple of Someshwara has a highly ornate granite entrance with a seated stucco Nandi atop. The temple has a garbhagriha front. After this is a spacious navaranga having short cylindrical pillars. There is a mukhamantapa after navaranga, perhaps added by the Vijayanagar rulers. The doorway leading to the navaranga has impressive floral decorations having several deities in between. To the left of the garbhagriha is an image of Dandapani Subhrahamanya and to the right is seated Ganesha. The garbhagriha entrance has dwarapalakas.

Behind the temple inside the inner prakara are five cells in a row enshrining shivalingas and in the front is spacious rectangular hall having many Hoysala pillars. Inside the prakara are small shrines of Dakshinamurthy and Chandikeshwara. To the left of the main sanctum is the Ammanavaragudi, locally called Prasanna Meenakshi, having chola features. It is said that a Sri Chakra was installed in the Prasanna Meenakshi temple sanctum sanctorum by Adi Sankara. The mukhamantapa of the shrine with many Vijayanagar pillars was perhaps added later.

Recently, the Kollegal Assistant Commissioner, Basavaraj, took the initiative steps to repair the Someshwara temple and its premises at an estimate cost of Rs.40 lakh. The east entrance of the temple was closed in 1964 and now efforts are being done to fix a door at the cost of Rs.6 lakh. The parthenium and lantana plants on the temple premises had been removed. A concrete floor had been laid in and around the temple. The construction of compound, yagashale, pakashale and park is under progress. Group-D employees, priest and security person have been employed. The temple has now regained its beauty.

The Chamarajanagar Deputy Commissioner, K. Amaranarayan, and Lok Adalat member and environmentalist, Yellappa Reddy recently visited the temple to see the development. During weekends, the area attracts thousands of tourists to Bharachukki and Gaganachukki falls, Maramma temple, Lushington stone bridge, and the Madhyaranga temple.

V. PANEESHA

The Someshwara temple in Kollegal taluk is being renovated at an estimated cost of Rs. 40 lakh