Welcome to Basavakalyan, the historic city. As you move around, you could observe the cultural, social, linguistic diversities. Kannada, Marathi, Hindi with Urdu influence is spoken as general language for communication by mass. Majority of the population is Hindu, though you find Muslim colonies in deep city. City is full of temples as well as mosques. There are a lot of places to see in this small city – Anubhava Mantapa, Basavakalyan lake, Basaveshwara Vana, Sadguru Sadanand Swami Math, Jama Masjid, Basaveshwara Temple, Adat (huge grain market), Irani style hotels etc.
I will start our journey with the Basavakalyan Fort. As you see the map, the fort is located pretty much out of the main city. This marvelous structure was built during the Chalukyan era. Later on it was under the Muslim (Nizam’s) rule, and so you could also see some muslim architecture being embedded. This mammoth is still standing strong and beautiful.
These are the pictures taken from outside the fort. I could not make into the fort, as it was a Monday (fort remains closed on mondays). But, I had been inside the fort for couple of times, and it makes you travel through the legend, into the golden days of this fort. Times when, kings marched into the fort, huge army with elephants and horses, swords and canons, wealth and prosperity, knowledge and art, dancers, musicians, beauticians were part of this building. You could still see the paintings, glass work, designs and carvings on the walls as you try to explore this masterpiece. You could also find Darwaza’s (Doors), Mahals, Cannons and artillery unit, Amphitheater, Gym and many more. Don’t forget to visit the museum inside the fort, which has immense collection of historic valuables and information.
Continuing our journey, we come across Basaveshwara temple.
This is an ancient hindu temple. A wedding ceremony was carried on that day, so I couldn’t make inside the temple. But be assured, the temple is beautiful inside as well.
The tourism government of Karnataka has taken up the task to develop this historic city as a tourist place. As of now, you could observe a lot of development going around in the city. The picture below named “Basavakalyan”, shows the city behind Basavakalyan lake (open dry space). The ministry has decided to transform this lake into more attractive place for tourists, which may include boating and some better facilities.
Near this lake, stands the spiritual, cultural institution named “Anubhava Mantapa” founded by the 12th century socio-religious reformer – Shree Basaveshwara or Basava. Basava flourished in 12th century. He was the prime-minister of King Bijala who ruled over Basavakalyan (then kalyani) from 1157 to 1167. You could find a lot of information on this great philosopher on internet.
These ideas of Basava, soon started to attract many other social reformers. Basava founded Anubhava Mantapa, which was a place to practice these ideologies.
The movement initiated by Basava through 'Anubhava Mantapa' became the basis of religion of love and faith. It gave rise to a system of ethics and education at once simple and exalted. It inspired ideals of social and religious freedom, such as no previous faith of India had done. In the medieval age which was characterized by inter communal jealousy, it helped to shed a ray of light and faith on the homes and hearts of people. It rendered the Hindu religion all embracing in its sympathy, catholic in its outlook, a perennial fountain of delight and inspiration. The movement gave a literature of considerable value in the vernacular language of the country, the literature which attained the dignity of a classical tongue. It eliminated the barriers of caste and removed untouchability. It raised the untouchable equal to that of the high born. It gave sanctity to the family relations and raised the status of womanhood. It undermined the importance of rites and rituals, of fasts and pilgrimages. It encouraged learning and contemplation on God by means of love and faith. It deplored the excesses of polytheism and developed the plan of monotheism. It tended in many ways to raise the nation generally to a higher level of capacity both in thought and action.
Nearly 300 people from different caste, society, location, religion and different age group joined Basava in Anubhava mantapa, out of which approximately 60 of them were woman. One of them was Akka Mahadevi. Akka Mahadevi was born about 1150 A.D. at Udutadi, a place of historical importance in Shivamogga District of Karnatak State. Her parents, Nirmalshetti and Sumati, were great devotees of Shiva. Akka Mahadevi, even when a young child, displayed her religious proclivities which she probably inherited from her parents. She was a paragon of beauty and princess of lyrical poetry. Her vachanas or sayings are a poetic testament of her mind's reaction to the wonder and awe of existence. Though the same wonder and poetry are there in her sayings, yet they are deepened and widened by the calm of meditation. Keen spiritual longing shifts the emphasis from the wonder of the outside universe to the significance of the self within.
Besides Basavakalyan lake, you could find a series of caves named – Akka Mahadevi caves. At present, restoration work is in progress at this site. Hope, these caves will soon come to their natural state, and should have a lot of tourists and devotees visiting.
Hope you found this blog useful, and hope you will visit Basavakalyan and its surrounding places. In near future, I plan to write more about current affairs, day-to-day life, education system, employment, occupation, life style etc. of this region. Any Suggestion/Comments are most welcomed. Until then, love. Sandeep.