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This remote village about 80 km north-west of Hyderabad became an important centre for Jainism and Veera Saivism in the 11th century. It was patronized by the Western Chalukyas who ruled over northern Karnataka and this adjacent Andhra region. Temples in and around Gadag in the Tungabhadra-Krishna Doab are considered representative of the Western Chalukyan style that formed the foundation for temple architecture under the Hoysalas in Karnataka and the Kakatiyas in Andhra Pradesh. (Thanks to Kathy Brobeck for pointing out Kolanupaka's Veera Saiva links).

Someswara Temple
This Saiva temple on the outskirts of the village is preceded by a courtyard with ambulatory. At the centre of this courtyard is a sandstone image of Hanuman, flanked by recovered granite images of Ganesa and Kartikeya. Hanuman's association with Saivite temples is linked to a popular myth where he is an incarnation of Shiva. Behind these images is the kirtistambha and the Nandi pavilion.

This polished, granite image of Mahavira is at the centre of the temple courtyard. Kolanupaka is an ancient Jain centre, being associated with the first tirthankara, Adinatha. The principal Jain shrine in the village has recently been renovated in a nagara style by artisans from Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The ambulatory surrounding the temple courtyard has been converted into a sculpture gallery as part of the ASI site museum. Among the images seen here are a saptamatrika panel and Naga and Sati stones.

A polished image of Rama in the form of a warrior where he is holding an immense bow (kodanda). The finely carved prabhavali has sankha and chakra motifs on the sides, denoting Rama's status as an incarnation of Vishnu.

This deity, rarely patronized elsewhere, seems to have been favoured by the Western Chalukyas, who not only portrayed her in temple sculpture and but built entire shrines to the goddess as at the Trikuteshwara complex at Gadag. Here the deity is shown seated on a lotus-asana. The massive platform below has pilasters with strident yalis in between.

Several commemorative Hero Stones are placed outside the temple compound, some with elaborate narrative sculpture around the main figure. In the farmland outside the Someswara temple are many small ruined shrines, some used as granaries now.

Kakatiya Mandapam
After the Chalukyas, Kolanupaka continued to be patronized, first by the Cholas and eventually by the Kakatiyas who ruled this region in the 13th century. This temple to the west of the Someswara complex is a Kakatiya project. It has sharp base and cornice mouldings, overhanging eave, and multisecion pillars in the open mandapam.

Kakatiya Temple
The superstructure of the vimanam is lost but its red sandstone, moulding on the walls, and the restrained floral band are reminiscent of Kakatiya temples around Warangal.

Photos and Text © Amit Guha