Sculptures from the Ganga period found at the Someshwara temple
Workers repairing the courtyard of the Someshwara temple in Halasuru came across carvings believed to date back to the 8th century.
Historians are excited about the find and believe a close study of the carving will help them better understand the temple.
Dr SK Aruni, Deputy Director of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), who was at the site during the excavations, says: “About 80% of a large sculpture is damaged, but the face and shoulder are intact. Carved from black stone, it resembles carvings found abundantly in Begur, near Silk Board. Looking at this, we could tell that the temple is at least 1,200 years old.
Halasuru takes its name from the jackfruit trees in the area. When the British created a cantonment in the 18th century, its name was anglicized to Ulsoor. Halasuru was previously a major trade route and settlement of Shaiva.
Aruni says the statue needs to be preserved so historians can better understand the Ganges period (5th to 10th CE). The black stone from which it is carved has been found in abundance in and around Bangalore. Temples dating back at least 10 centuries are found in and around the hills of Nandi and Jakkur, and a Hoysala-style temple has been discovered at Chikkajala. Stylistic elements of the sculptures make it possible to date them and to trace the extent of the different kingdoms.
Someshwara Temple is currently documented by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Meera Iyer, INTACH coordinator and member of the documentation team, is delighted with this discovery. “It could give us some insight into the earliest origins of the temple site,” she said. Metrolife.
The broken sculpture is probably a goddess – Chamundi or Bhairavi or Mahishasuramardini, she says.
“It strongly resembles some statues currently in the government museum on Kasturba Road. The style suggests that the carving dates back to the 9th or 10th century. This indicates the antiquity of the Someshwara temple as a sacred site,” says Meera.
The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) dates from the Chola period and is believed to have been built around the 11th century.
The temple was enlarged and additions made during the reign of Kempegowda in the 16th century. “The Kamakshi shrine is said to have been built by the Wodeyars,” she says.
The INTACH team is working on the architectural documentation. “We are in the process of assembling drawings and taking measurements of the temple. We put together photos that will help us investigate whether there was a pattern in the
For example, there are panels of dancers with a panel of lions at the bottom. Does it have any resemblance to the temples of Hampi?
The epigrapher says…
The eminent historian and epigraphist HS Gopala Rao confirms that the style dates back to the Ganga era between the 7th and 9th centuries. “Exact dating can be done by the archaeological department,” he says.
Renovation of temples
The floor of the Someshwara temple is being replaced with non-slip granite tiles. Workers found the statue while digging to remove existing soil. “Many elderly devotees visiting the temple were slipping. So we thought we should change the flooring,” says NS Sandhya, Managing Director of Someshwara Group of Temples. Donors are funding the repairs, the cost of which is estimated at Rs 35 lakh. “The temple committee met recently and decided to submerge the broken carvings,” she told Metrolife.