Doddabasappa Temple was built during the period of the Later Chalukyas – the Western or Kalyani Chalukya dynasty. Dambal used to be a major center of Buddhism till the 12th century. The main deity here is Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Linga. The interior of the temple is of conventional design with a sanctum and a mandapa with a passage connecting the two.
The temple is based on a very original 24-pointed uninterrupted stellate plan and uses soapstone as its basic building material. Contemporary stellate plans of the Bhumija shrines in central India from where the inspiration for this temple came from were all 32-pointed interrupted types. No temples of the 6-, 12-, or 24-pointed stellate plans are known to exist in Karnataka or Maharashtra, with the exception of the Doddabasappa temple, which can be described as a 24-pointed uninterrupted plan. In an ‘interrupted’ stellate plan, the stellate outline is interrupted by orthogonal projections in the cardinal directions, resulting in star points that have been skipped.
Nandi faces the shrine through the eastern doorway. The Doddabasappa temple marks the mature development of Chalukyan art which originated from the basic Dravida architecture of South India. Its departure from the conventional Dravida plan used in the Virupaksha temple in Pattadakal is so extreme that it would be very difficult to find similarities without detailed examination. A star shape is obtained by rotating a square about its center. The star points form equidistant projections. The angles and re-entrant angles thus formed make the perimeter of the outerwall of the shrine.
The star projections are carried right up the superstructure, giving it an exotic look, though it loses strength in comparison to the square superstructures found in conventional Dravida plans. The storied arrangement of the superstructure found in Dravida plans is not easily distinguishable here. The upper tiers of the seven-tiered super structure look like cogged wheels with 48 dents.
The pillars in this temple are finely chiseled and “complicated” but lack the elegance of those at the Kasivisvesvara Temple in Lakkundi. The entrance to the shrine has above it a decorative architrave with space for images of the Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Depending on the dedication of the temple, either Vishnu or Shiva would take the central position in this arrangement. The entrance to the sanctum is elaborately decorated on either side with designs that are floral containing tiny images of dancers, musicians, and even a Mithuna couple. In the main mantapa, there are three images, one of the “five-headed” Brahma with vahana, the goose, and two images are of Surya, the Sun God.
The temple has two doorways each with a porch, one facing south and the other facing east. The east-facing door has on either side the remains of what must have been elegant lintel decoration and an open hall type of pillared extension containing a large recumbent image of Nandi which faces the shrine.
Timings to visit Doddabasappa Temple
07:00 – 12:00 PM | 04:00 PM – 07:30 PM.
Shivaratri, Karthika Masam
How to Reach Doddabasappa Temple
By Air: Hubli Airport – 83.1 km
By Train: Gadag – 25.4 km, Hubli Junction – 76.7 km
By Bus: Gadag – 23 km, Hubli – 74 km
Doddabasappa Temple, Gadag, Dambal, Karnataka – 582101 India.
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