The main shrine in the Madhukeshwara Temple was built during the nascent stages of temple architecture. It has minimal decorative sculptures on the walls and pillars. A Sankalpa mandapa was added to the temple during the Chalukyan rule. There is a Nritya mandapa that was built during the Hoysala period. This mandapa has exquisite carvings on the pillars and ceiling. The main deity is Lord Shiva in the form of a honey-colored Shiva Linga. The color of the Linga is the reason for the name, Madhukeshwara. There is a beautiful monolithic Nandhi statue in this temple.
One of the seven Mukti Sthalas of Karnataka. Dedicated to Shiva. Another attraction of this temple is a seven ft high idol of Nandi, the mount of Lord Shiva. The renowned Madhukeshwara temple is the prime attraction of Banavasi, a quaint town located in Uttara Kannada district. Banavasi was the capital city of the Kadamba kings, the first royal dynasty of Karnataka who established their empire in 345 AD. The only remains of the ancient Kingdom of the Kadambas are the famous Madhukeshwara temple of Banavasi. The entire life of the town revolves around this temple. Built in stone around 1,500 years ago, it was renovated with additional structures by later dynasties. The presiding deity of Madhukeshwara (Lord Shiva) is a honey-colored Linga installed during the period of the first king of Kadambas. It also has a seven feet Nandi idol made of a single stone.
The Madhukeshwara Temple is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka. It is believed that Mayura Sharma, the first King of the Kadamba dynasty built this temple. The Kadambas are the oldest Dynasty of Karnataka. They ruled over large parts of Karnataka till the rise of the Chalukyas. The Madhukeshwara temple has undergone many changes, with additions during the rule of other dynasties like the Chalukyas and Hoysalas.
Legend has it that Mayurasharma and his guru, grandfather, and teacher, Veera Sarma went to the city of Kanchi in 345 CE to pursue Vedic studies. A misunderstanding took place with a Pallava guard who unknowingly humiliated Mayurasharma. He changed his name from Sharma (priest class) to Varma signifying that he had joined the warrior clan and set out to seek revenge with his sword.
The Kadambas were quite successful until they were defeated by the Chalukyas and Rashtrakuta empires. They continued to serve their conquerors as feudal lords for 500 years. It was somewhere during the Rashtrakuta rule that the Kadambas built the Madhukeshwara Temple. Later empires like the Chalukyas and Hoysalas added to the temple complex as it stands today.
Timings to Visit Madhukeshwara Temple
All Days of a week, 06:00 AM – 12:30 PM | 05:00 PM – 08:30 PM
How to Reach Madhukeshwara Temple
By Air: Hubli – 100 km
By Train: Haveri – 50 km
By Bus: Sirsi Major Bus terminus – 27 km.
Madhukeshwara temple, Ratha Beedi, Banavasi, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India – 581318.
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