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Ugra @_ugra_
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On the occasion of Vaikunta Ekadashi sharing a detailed #WalkToTemple thread on one of the most significant Shri Vaishnava Kshetrams, the Cheluvanarayana Swamy & Yoga Narasimha Swamy temples at Melukote, Karnataka.
This is the entrance to the Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple. The main temple itself dates back to the pre-Hoysala era & enjoyed the patronage of later rulers of Vijayanagara empire & the Mysore Wadiyars. Shri Ramanujacharya spend a significant amount of time here. #WalkToTemple
The Gopuram is in the typical Hoysala/Vijayanagara style, featuring the Kirtimukha at the very top & the "Sala" or the fighting lion at various tiers, the Sala was the royal emblem of the Hoysalas, who were Vaishnavites. #WalkToTemple
This is the south exit of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy sannidhi. Along the walls are carved the Daśāvatāras of Maha Vishnu. As you can see , the sculptures are a victim of islamic iconoclasm. We'll come to this later. #WalkToTemple
As you circumambulate around the inner prakaram of the temple you find many a pillars with magnificent & intricate carvings. Among the very first is this of Ugra Narasimha ripping open Hiranyakashipu. Below that, a carving of a calmer Yoga Narasimha. #WalkToTemple
A pillar with Gopikas dancing while Lord Krishna plays the Flute. #WalkToTemple
Lord Vishnu reclining on the Adi Shesha depicted on one of the pillars #WalkToTemple
Complex geometrical design carved out on one of the many pillars #WalkToTemple
Even though its a Vaishnava temple, one gets to see a significant number of carvings of Lord Shiva as well. Here's one. #WalkToTemple
A carving of Shri Ramanujacharya blessing his disciple. #WalkToTemple
An optical illusion carving of that of an Elephant & a Bull. This was a very common practice in most South Indian temples. #WalkToTemple
Another carving of what looks to be an extremely complex form of Aśvaḥ #WalkToTemple
The consort of Cheluvanarayana Swamy is known as Devi Yadugiri Nachiyar. The dwarapalaka outside the goddess' sannidhi. Sculpture is in typical Hoysala style. #WalkToTemple
On the right side just above the Dwarapalaka we find one more carving of Lord Shiva, this time depicted as Gajasurasamhara. Lord Shiva slays the Rakshasa Gajasura, who takes the form of an elephant & torments Rishis of Varanasi. Lord Shiva rips him open from inside #WalkToTemple
Lord Shiva is again depicted above the other dwarapalaka too, this time has Maha-Nata popularly known as Nataraja, with Apasmara beneath him #WalkToTemple
Now the most stunning pillar of all at the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is this extremely ornate & exquisite pillar. It features this octagonal shaped ring. There are vertical joints that hold it place. No part of the ring itself, touches the pillar. #WalkToTemple
This special pillar depicts various scenes from the Ramayana. Seen here are Rama, Sita & Lakshmana. Below are Rama & Lakshmana in the battlefield at Lanka. #WalkToTemple
Carving on the same pillar of what appears to be Sugreeva, Angada & Lord Hanuman. #WalkToTemple
The other face of the pillar features more carvings from the Ramayana. Seen here Rama & Sita. The octagonal ring is also visible. #WalkToTemple
On the same pillar, a scene depicting the slaying of Ravana. Above it is carvings of what appears to be Vibishana, Sita, Rama & Lakshmana post war. #WalkToTemple
From the same pillar, carving of the great devotee Shabari offering fruits to Rama & Lakshmana, who are in pursuit of the abducted Sita. #WalkToTemple
An isometric view of the same octagonal ring pillar #WalkToTemple
Each pillar is unique & different from the rest here. This one for example has a cylindrical column inscribed within the outer 4 square columns. #WalkToTemple
This pillar for example has a carving of different forms of Maha Vishnu on each of its faces. In order

1) Lakshmi Narayana
2) Bhu Varahaswamy
3) Lakshmi Hayagreeva
4) Lakshmi Narasimha

A carving Maha Vishnu & Maha Lakshmi at their abode, Vaikuṇṭha 🙏🙏 #WalkToTemple
Few more examples of different pillar design. Each pillar is unique. Really a joy for those who enjoy the intricacies #WalktoTemple
The west direction prakaram of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple #WalkToTemple
Some of the pillar designs on the west side. Notice the complex geometrical design #WalkToTemple
If you notice astutely, this carving is an optical illusion too. Step away from the screen & watch the inner squares turn into a sphere being pulled apart from every direction by the hook like object. Got to keep the screen at a distance to notice this. Quote RT if you see this
The south side of the temple is where all the magnificent pillars are. #WalkToTemple
South side pillars that we had a look at just a few tweets back, more carvings of scenes from the Ramayana.
The outer walls of the south side of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple. Its was restored by the Mysore Maharajas after repeated islamic plunder. More on that in the following tweets. #WalktoTemple
Now to the painful part of islamic iconoclasm. This for whatever reasons hasn't been part of the contemporary narrative. While the destruction is so apparent & hits one right in the face, devotees who visit the temple hardly take notice of it. Thats what secular conditioning does
This temple has seen multiple waves of islamic plunder, the first wave was when alauddin khilji sent malik kafur down south to plunder the Hoysala kingdom. The second wave was after the fall of the Vijayanagara empire & finally tipoo who massacred 800+ Brahmins of this place.
The islamic iconoclasm becomes very apparent as soon as you exit the south side of the inner prakaram of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy sannidhi, the heads, hands & breasts(of female deities) chopped off, just like Hampi & elsewhere. Typical jihadi work.
The west side of the temple, arms of Shri Ramanujacharya chopped off, female figurines completely disfigured in typical jihadi fashion, Lord Rama's hands chopped off.
Destruction of carvings of the Vaishnavite saints, the Alwars on the north side of the temple. Typical islamic iconoclasm.
This is all that is left of what one can only assume to be an Alwar. #IslamicIconoclasm
This is on the outermost prakaram, Lord Narasimha emerging out of the pillar to slay Hiranyakashipu. Arms chopped off by islamists.
The very next carving depicts Narasimha chasing hiranyakashipu around before ripping him open. Again maimed by islamists.
Lakshmi & Narayana arms chopped off #IslamicIconoclasm
This one was particularly disturbing. Lord Krishna's arms & limbs chopped off. Gaumata missing her head. Various other figurines maimed. That thin rope is probably what holds another sculpture from losing its head #IslamicIconoclasm
Lakshmi Narasimha, maimed just like the one at Hampi. islamic jihadis particularly went for Lakshmi here. Their hate for female divinity on full display here. Religion of peace indeed. #IslamicIconoclasm
Some of the carvings were so perversely maimed that they've had be completely scrapped out from their niches. Particularly the females ones. islamists have particularly maimed them in unspeakable ways. Such contempt for divine femininity. #islamiciconoclasm
Some of the niches are completely devoid of any carvings, yet one can see the remnants of what once must've been a magnificent set of carvings telling a tale of the glory of Maha Vishnu. All wiped out by islamic iconoclasts.
Can only imagine which deity this niche must've housed before its eventual maiming. Notice the parrot carvings & the beheaded female figurine. It tells you something.
As you look around, all you find is destruction & desolation. A part of history lost forever. Whatever that our ancestors were trying to convey to us through these sculptures, lost forever... let that sink in..its gone.. #islamiciconoclasm
One of the very few carvings to have survived complete destruction (thank you for the small mercies) is that of Lord Ranganatha.
A panoramic view of the south side of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple.
More maimed carvings of Lakshmi Narasimha, Vishnu & Rama. #islamiciconoclasm
A very rare depiction of Lord Narasimha with Lakshmi standing besides him. Its always usually Lakshmi sitting on Narasimha's lap. On the right is a carving of Hanuman carrying Lord Rama on his shoulders. Both maimed by islamic iconoclasts.
Narasimha blessing Bhakta Prahlada.
Then a series of empty niches.... the glorious story of Maha Vishnu abruptly stopped by islamic iconoclasts...
Finally when one is done completing a full Pradakshina/Parikrama around the temple... The Garuda Sthambam facing Lord Cheluvanarayana Swamy. #WalkToTemple
Melukote is also home to the famous Yoga Narasimha Swamy temple. Its situated atop a hill called Yadagiri. It is about 3000ft above sea level & quite a climb. #WalkToTemple
Fortunately the area has a nice tree cover to protect devotees from complete exhaustion during a hot day's climb. #WalkToTemple
En route you find these small mantapams every few meters to rest. #WalkToTemple
Atop the Yadagiri hill. A view of the town of Melukote & its beautiful Pushkarini. The place is a joy for the eyes during monsoons, when every shrub,plant & tree turns lush green. #WalkToTemple
The main Gopuram of the Yoga Narasimha temple built during the Vijayanagara era was undergoing some restoration work. #WalkToTemple
Newly constructed Gopuram in typical present day style found all over South India. #WalkToTemple
Do you see him? These are the people who keep our Dharma alive. 🙏🙏
Had a nice darshana of Yoga Narasimha Swamy before making my way down to the Pushkarini below. #WalkToTemple
The Mantapam adjoining the Pushkarini. Notice the Shesha carving in the 3rd pic!! Though on the maintenance aspect much can be done... especially the pushkarini area... mere Bhakthi will not suffice, it is just one aspect of Dharma... #WalkToTemple
That concludes the #WalkToTemple thread on the Melukote Cheluvanarayana Swamy and Yoga Narasimha Swamy temples. Hope all you found it useful. Thank you for reading. Dhanyavaadam 🙏🙏
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