Locations – Halebidu, Belur, Badami, Bijapur, Aihole, Pattakal and Goa
One should know the place one calls home. For the semester one students; Karnataka is going to be home for the next 5 years; what better way to know the place than to visit and get a flavor of it. With that intention the semester one students along with four faculty set out on a journey across Karnataka and Goa. The tour was a 12-day exploration visiting the ancient and magnificent temples of Karnataka. The journey commenced by visiting Shri Adichunchanagiri Matha and getting the blessings from Swamiji. The second half of the day was a hike up the hill at Shravanbelagola, where stands the monolithic statue of Bahubali. The night stay was arranged at Hassan from where would begin the temple visits the following day.
Day two visit was Halebidu and Belur, where the students visited the Chennakeshava temple in Belur and Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu. These Hoysala temples dating back to 1000CE had developed during the era a new architectural tradition which is now well-known as Karnataka Dravida tradition. Local guides took the students around the temple complex and highlighted on stories, myths and architectural details that stand unique to the temple.
After an overnight journey to Hampi, Day three and four was dedicated to visiting the temples and ruins at Hampi. Ar.Pankaj Modi and Ms. Meera Iyer from INTACH, who are experts in the topic, were in charge of taking the students around Hampi and providing unique insights regarding the history, lifestyle, planning and architecture of the Vijayanagara empire. The visits in Hampi included the Museum, ruins of the old bazaars, the ruins of urban core, live temples of worship, Vitthala temple, Lotus mahal, Elephant stables, Purandaradasa Mantapa and concluded with a hike up the Mathanga hill from where the students got an overall picture of how the old city of Hampi was planned and how the major temple complexes sit along the river Tungabhadra.
Day five at Dandeli was planned to be a relief and rest day, so as to rejuvenate for the following temple visits. Fun activities like water sports and camp fire were arranged at the resort in Dandeli. After a day’s rest the following first half of the day was the journey to Badami. The other half of Day six was planned around quick visits to the cave temples of Badami, Agasthya-Tirtha lake and Bhootnath Temple. Day seven visit to Bijapur gave the students a look inside the Deccan Indo-Islamic Architecture of the region; visits to Gol Gumbaz, Ibrahim Rauza and Bara Kaman introduced the grandeur of scale, proportions and magnificence of structures built as Mausoleums during the Indo- Islamic era. Day eight introduced the students to huge temple complexes by visits to Aihole temple complex and Pattadakal temple complex along with cave temple of Ravanaphadi. The Durga temple at Aihole was the highlight of the day; built in 7th century during the Chalukyan dynasty the temple depicts predominant Dravida and Nagara style of Architecture. The temple has unique ‘C’ shape arrangement with peristyle delimiting an ambulatory around the temple. The complex has a collection of smaller temples which was a test bed for experimentation in temple architecture and construction during the Chalukyan age.
Day nine to day 12 were in GOA, where the students visited the offices of Ar. Dean D’Cruz and Ar. Gerard Da Cuhna. Presentations by the architects on their works and guided visits to some buildings designed by them gave the students a clear insight into the philosophy and works of the architect. The tour concluded with visit to ‘The Kala Academy’, Goa (cultural center) designed by Ar. Charles Correa and further local sightseeing visits to churches in Goa.