Beauty of life lies hidden in even the most seemingly desolate of places. Kopeshwar Temple, relatively unknown to masses, some 60 Km from Kolhapur at the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka is one such beautiful world of stunning beauties and hidden gem of an architectural marvel blended with mesmerizing and awe inspiring extravagant masterpiece of sensuous carvings and sculptures.
Dedicated to Lord Shiv Ji, the Kopeshwar temple, at Khidrapur Village on the bank of the Krishna river was originally built in the 7th century AD during the reign of the Chalukya kings. However, it was abandoned due to frequent invasions from enemy kings. Then the temple was rebuilt by the Shilahara king Gandaraditya, Vijayaditya and Bhoj-II between 1109 and 1178 AD. This architectural marvel stands on the 92 Elephants in the base supported by 108 extensively carved pillars.
It’s one of the unique and rare temple of India where where both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are in ‘Ling’ form and the mandatory vahana of Lord Shiva seated ‘Nandi’ is missing.
Legend has it that Parvati rode on the Nandi to go to her father’s palace which explains missing Nandi and a temple somewhere few kilometres nearby hosts that nandi. Lord Shiva was furious when sati Parvati jumped into Daksha’s sacrifice. Lord Vishnu brought Lord Shiva to the temple to calm him down, hence the name Kopeshwar, (Wrathful God). ‘Kop’ means anger and ‘Eshwar’ means Lord Shiva.
The marvellous Temple is divided but interconnected into four major sections — the Swargamandap, Sabhamandap, Antaral Kaksh and Garbha grih.
The Swarga Mandap or Heavenly Hall is separated from the main temple and has 12 round pillars ascending towards the ceiling. It has beautiful engravings of kings, queens and their vehicles. The three rows of 12 pillars each are adorned with beautiful artistic designs. A large, black, flat stone 14 feet in diameter is installed at the center of the Swargamandap. The Swargamandap also has a circular open ceiling of 14 feet in diameter exactly above to the centrally-placed stone. It is intricately carved and meant to let out smoke during a Yagn.”
The Swargamandap further connects the Sabhamandap (assembly hall) which is a dark thinly illuminated room . There is a Antarala (vestibule) separating it from the Garbhagrih (sanctum).
The interiors are decorated with figurines of Gods, Godesses, Yaksha, Gandharva, Apsara, Surasundari, animals, motifs etc carved on the walls, in aedicules and on the kirtimukha of the pillars. Some even depict stories from epics like Ramayana & Mahabharata and parables from the works like Panchatantra.
The exterior mandovara (temple walls) is decorated with pilasters with the narathara (human-freize) depicting carved sculptures of surasundaris (celestial maidens)Gods, Goddesses (Shiva,Parvati,Durga,Bramha,Vishnu etc), ascetics and animals like the Vyaals (mythical/extinct beasts), Gaja (elephants)etc.
The most astonishing fact about this temple is the fact that the black stone used to build the temple are found no where near 600 Kms in any direction. One of the theories regarding transportation of these stones from South India to this location proposes that it was done through water channel of Krishna River.
This temple also says the story of barbarism and brutality unleashed on these dis figured yet awe inspiring masterpieces by Sick Mughals.. Such were the ethos and values of those cruel enslavers. Ironically, the village of Wadi-Kopeshwar later came to be known as Khidrapur, on the name of invader Khyder Khan who mutilated and unleashed his barbarism to disfigure almost all the carvings.
Unfortunately ours is the ONLY society which demands and protects the rights of Aurangzeb and alike whereas they and their ideas should meet and be treated with exactly the same brutality. May your Allah never forgive for the things your religion did on earth. BURN IN HELL.
As the entry, the front and back
Its unbelievable that a very simple looking facade holds such an beautiful extravagant treasure inside.
First Glimpse.. Beautiful SwargMandap.
The Swarga Mandap or Heavenly Hall with its beautiful opening. The top of the 12 stone pillars of Swarg Mandap have 12 Gods or mythological characters. If we stand at the center of the swarg mandap we can see idols of Lord Brahma on the left hand side wall of the entrance of sabha mandap In the center we can see the Lord Shiva Kopeshwar shivling situated in the Girbh Gruha & towards right hand side wall we can see the beautifully carved idol of Lord Vishnu. So at one glance we can see the Tridev ‘ Brahma Mahesh Vishnu.
Spectacular pillars of Swargamanpad.
Beautiful Dwarpal in Antral Kaksh greets before one enters in Garbhgriha, The divine sanctum.
I paid my obeisance to Lord Shiv and Lord Vishnu.
The unique and rare thing here is that Lord Vishnu too is in Ling form(Dhopeswar). Also the wall of garbhgriha is adorned by beautiful engravings and sculpture of sursunadaris as seen below.
I am dumbfounded by these exquisite celestial beauties. Its awe inspiring to watch these artistic masterpieces of ethereal beauties on walls.
Ours perception of beauty in this modern world is so much distorted. Look at these fabulous creation with its amazing and stunning beauty… A world full of Joy and Happiness.. an extraordinary phenomenon… a meaning to life. I soak in to the beautiful world of these stunning beauties with hours blanketed by the deep silences. Sensuousness grasp you at it peak with these voluptuous GanNayikas and SurSundaris.
Black Beauties in Garbhgrih…
Cultural genocide by religious fanatics, The Mughals….
Mughals and their kin have deliberately and systematically apart from looting of wealth, have also destroyed our cultural heritage over a period. ….this picture says the story of barbarism and brutality unleashed on these beautiful sculptures influenced by their misleaded bigotry religious fanaticism. Such were the ethos and values of those cruel enslavers.
This grand temple is exterior has stunning carvings of various Hindu deities riding on elephants. 92 Elephant statues sustain the weight of the temple at the base. The deities that ride the elephants are from the Hindu Pantheon and include female deities like Sarasvati also. The rear image of the mulaprasada base is Shiv Somantha riding the bull along with Uma. It looks like the procession of Somanatha accompanied by gods and goddesses on elephants and apsaras dramatizing the feats of Shiv. The procession is radiating in all directions, like digvijaya. Great and unique concept.
What it cannot make up for in size and scale, the Kopeshwar Temple makes up in grandeur and ornateness. Worth a visit…