Kopeshwar Temple Khidrapur, Kolhapur

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1. Was visiting for the Kolhapur Haldi Festival so said see this too. Swarga Mandapam has 48 ornately carved pillars with circular open ceiling having a radius of 13 feet, perhaps a first in India. Note design carefully.

2. Enroute to Khidrapur is Narsobachiwadi, 45 kms from Kolhapur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Dattatreya, an incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It has the holy Padukas (wooden slippers) of Saint Dattaguru. Temple attracts large number of devotees and is on the banks of the river Krishna.

3. This is Sangam or confluence of Krishna and Panchganga rivers with Krishna being on the left. The drive from here to Khidrapur is through villages. Note that pics numbers 1,4,9,11,13,15,16,18,30 are by Saibal Mondal, the rest are by me.

4. This is a side view of temple, front is dancing hall and behind is main temple. Both are on a raised platform. Pic by Saibal. Wish there was a board giving history and key features of temple like it exists elsewhere.

5. Pic from the other side. Temple has 3 entrances, 2 on north south side and one on east side. Sculptures on temple walls, has 92 carved elephants. This temple is a must see. Wish Maharashtra Tourism promotes it.

6. View of temple from entrance. Close by is an old Jain temple. According to Kolhapurtourismsite work started about 6-7th century by Badami Chalukyas, completed in 12th century by the Shilaharas. TOI art says temple was built between 1109-1178 by Shilahara kings.

7. Pillars in Swarga Mandapam. Making a circular top in stone required some skill. Temple deity is Kopeshwar Mahadev.

8. Pillar design, at bottom of each pillar is a temple. On seeing the Swarga Mandapam as I entered never thought would see something as exquisite.

9. Lovely pic by Saibal. Note pillar design, small temples in recess where pillar ends. Was lucky to meet Saibal, he agreed to share pics instantly. Entrance to sanctum. Note the doorjamb. The name Kopeshwar comes from the word Kopa which in Sanskrit means anger. That is how temple got its name.

10. Close up of pillars, ornately carved entrance. Reached out 12 noon so sun on our head. “Each of the 48 pillars has been carved in different shapes -round, square, hexagon and octagon.”

11. In Swarga Mandapam centre is dancing area, and entrance to the sanctum. Loved this pic by Saibal.

12. Pic is to show you pillar design. See small temples in niche and the stone design above that.

13. Pic gives you a clear idea of pillar design, going all the way up to the top. There are 48 pillars in the Swarga Mandapam.

14. Close up of top panel, one person sitting on the shoulders of another.

15. Pic by Saibal gives you an idea of the circular design. Temple made from hard basalt rock, the guide said is available close by.

16. The deities that you on upper part of panel are 12 in number. Local guide said they are called Digpals. Also saw images of Vishnu, Kartik and Shiva.

17. Pillar bottom shows lady, long hair, wearing anklets, ornaments and ear rings.

18. Typical dress worn in rural Maharashtra, most comfortable.

19.Small temples, bottom of pillar.

20. Inside the temple showing few pics. Not sure what the ladies represent and extreme right is Ganesh. Inside temple has many Madanika images. These beautiful women are also on external temple wall with lots of jewellery.

21. Pillar inside temple. Centre is Kirtimukha, to keep away evil spirits. If I remember correctly one side is Lord Vishnu and another is Kartik. Please revert in case of error. The sanctum has two Lingas, called Kopeshwar (Shiva) and Dopeshwar (Vishnu) I deliberately did not take pics.

22. Another pillar has Kirtimukha, peacocks and top of pic is Shiva. I missed taking pic of Dwarpala inside temple, there is only one.

23. Typical column design inside temple.

24. Temple exterior covered clockwise. Right dancing hall and sculptures on temple wall. Lower panels has 92 elephants. Lots of damage during Aurangzeb’s visit in 1702. So also in a Siddhanath Mandir in Omkareshwar which too had rows of elephants, the trunks were broken.

25. Musician.

26. Panel Brahma. Top not sure is it Vishnu.

27. Dancing musician, top think it is Vishnu.

28. Side panel, elephant trunks and somewhere images of person sitting on elephant broken, damaged. When seen from a distance seems that the elephants are carrying the temple on their back just like the Shiv Mandir near Omkareshwar. See temple pics https://www.esamskriti.com/a/Madhya-Pradesh/Siddhanath-Temple-Omkareshwar.aspx

29. Right is Virbhadra, one of the forms of Shiva.

30. Sabha Mandap door, side entrance to temple, pic by Saibal. See panels on door entrance. Top panel is damaged so replaced by simple stone.

31. Lattice Window.

32. Ganesha and above is Buddha.

33. Left Vishnu on elephant, right not sure. Between two elephants is Sri Krishna playing a flute.

34. Centre is Sri Ram and Sita.

35. Observe the sculptures carefully. Right small lady, looks like is wearing a skirt. Right elephant trunk not broken. Local guide said only 6 elephants have their trunks not broken.

36. Left on elephant is Brahma. Centre is Shankar and Parvati on vehicle Nandi. Right is Vishnu.

37. View of side panel north side. Lots of school students came when I visited.

38. Gives you an idea of the west facing and north side panels. It seems Shikhar above sanctum made new, probably the old gave way.

39. Right lady wearing slippers and anklets. Think it is Vishnu on the elephant.

40. Note bangles, ear rings, necklace, anklets and slippers worn by lady.

41. Do not know what these images represent. Help.

42. Lady with bow and arrow, ladies then seemed skilled at archery.

43. South side view. Not sure if temple maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. If maintained by them they usually maintain the garden, not visible here.

44. Saraswati in centre of pic.

45. Looks like lady is pouring water on her head.

46. Lower panel elephant and mythical animal on right.

47. Centre, note lady ornaments and design.

48. Man playing a flute.

49. View of rear panel. To see pics of another wow temple made by the Chalukyas at Lonar https://www.esamskriti.com/a/Maharashtra/Temples-of-LONAR.aspx

50. External view Jain mandir dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankara. I am really glad I visited. To read a good travelogue https://www.inditales.com/kopeshwar-temple-khidrapur-maharashtra/

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