Archaeologists restore 11th century temples at Hottal
The Department of Archaeology, along with Directorate of Archaeology and Museums and Tourism and Cultural Affairs department, was engaged for the last five years to rebuild the temples which were in shambles," a senior archaeology department official said.
"Loss of tensile strength, long time span and frequent earthquakes in the region were among the reasons for the deterioration of the temples located in Nanded district," Rahul Bhosle, the assistant director, Aurangabad division, told PTI.
The difficult task during restoration of the temples was in assembling the stacked architectural items as they had lost their identification numbers due to the long gap in carrying out the work, Bhosle, who also holds additional charge of Nanded division, said.
After sanction of Rs 1.20 crore by the 12th Finance Commission, work on conservation and restoration of the Siddheshwar and Mahadeva temples was allotted to a firm in 2007-08. However, the work could not be completed due to some reasons, Bhosle said.
The work resumed in April 2010, a month after Bhosle was posted at Aurangabad. "The Siddheshwar temple has been completely restored to its original form, while the work of Mahadeva temple is in final stage of completion," he said. Also, Rs 3.5 crore have been sanctioned by the 13th Finance Commission for the Nandi temple during the next financial year, Bhosle said.
The Nanded district administration has also come out with a development plan for the Hottal temples under the Mega Tourism Circuit project, he said. Hottal (ancient name Pottal) village is about 95 km south of Nanded. It borders Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and is in Degloor tehsil.
The temples are built in Hemadpanti style of architecture. There are altogether four temples in ruins, namely Siddheshwar temple, Mahadeva temple, Nandi temple and Parashurama temple. They are state protected monuments under the Maharashtra Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1960.
"We have blending of Hoyasala and Kalyani-Chalukya art aspects in this period, like the Mukuta type and intricacy in carving the ornaments. The Ganesha sculpture on the southern wall is an example of such fusion," Bhosle said.
"At the same time, there is some difference between the female sculptures at the entrance of vestibule (antarala) and the ones on the wall. Those on the entrance to vestibule are typically carved in the style prevalent in Rashtrakuta period in the area of Maharashtra," he said.
From the three inscriptions available in the village, it is known that the area was under rule of Kalyani-Chalukya, he said.
The inscription of Chalukya Somesvara-II (1068-76) is among the earliest and is about the Ashrama of Agastya Rishi on the bank of Vanjara river, he said. The inscription tells us about the rising of Chalukya family and gives geneology of King Dhor, his sons Uttama, Kalichor and Arga, all belonging to the Vanhi Kula, he said.
Arga is also called `Raibheya` in the inscription. Arga had a friend called Siddhugi who constructed a temple of Sidhesvara in Kalyani (Karnataka), the Chalukya capital. The second inscription belongs to the Chalukya-Vikrama era and dates back to 1101, while the third inscription is from Chalukya-Vikkramaditya period and is dated 1120, he added.