Siddhesvara Temple
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Siddhesvara Temple   |   Haveri

The Siddhesvara Temple built of soapstone is located in the town of Haveri and is considered an ornate example of 12th century Western Chalukyan art and is well known for the many loose sculptures of Hindu deities that exist in it. However, inscriptional evidence would suggest that the initial consecration of the temple was in late 11th century. An interesting aspect about the temple is that it faces west, instead of facing the rising sun in the east–a standard in Chalukyan constructions. Though it is currently used as a Shaiva temple dedicated to God Shiva, historians are unsure by which faith or sect the temple was originally consecrated and to which deity.

The temple may have been consecrated initially as a Vaishnava temple (to the God Vishnu), later taken over by Jains who may have removed some images from the temple and eventually become a Shaiva temple after coming under the procession of the worshippers of God Shiva. This conclusion is drawn because the image of the Sun God Surya exists below the little Kirtimukhas (gargoyle faces) on the eastern wall (back wall) of the temple, though, an image of Shiva, sculpted out of an independent slab of stone and mounted in front of the Shikhara (superstructure) above the mantapa roof, would suggest otherwise.

Photography: [Dineshkannambadi: #1]

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