Kalya- The bygone centre of glory that witnessed the clash of religions and the re-tracing of poet Palkuriki Somanatha’s descendants.

Kalya, as it remains a small village ,  but before ten centuries ,  it was a prominent ancient town inhabited by Buddhists, Jains, Sri Vaishnavas & Shaivites.

This centre of religions has witnessed several names like Kalyaha, Kalleha, Kalyana Pura, Kalavati pattana as recorded in many inscriptions.

From the Turuvekere inscription of 1553 AD , it was recorded as Bouddhavasamapuri, interpreting this as an ancient Buddhist religious center.

Post this period , this Kalya became a Shiva sharana prominent place where Sharane “Sarvasheela Chennamma” lived in a cave hill.

Being inspired by her teachings ,  the famous Kannada origin & Telugu poet Palkuriki Somanatha visited this place and lived in this place till the rest of his life. He was an adherent follower of Saint Basava ( Sri Basaveshwara) and composed a Telugu epic poem “Basavapuranam”, It is in an indigenous Telugu literary style with the least Sanskrit influence.

Later Kalya became an epicenter for Jainism and Vaishnava religious activities. During the Hoysalas reign, King Vishnuvardhana(Bitti Deva) embraced the Sri Vaishnava faith impressed by sage  Ramanujacharya.

Many Jains left the capital and migrated to this region and laid a foundation for many basadis as it emerged as a prominent Jain center.

There were seventy-five Basadis existent and among them one wooden Jain temple. The whole place was set on fire and destroyed by a fierce dispute between Vaishnavites & Jains.

Even today one can witness the remnants of Manasthamba, Kushmandini stone carving, inscriptions depicting the presence of Jainism .

This deep sense of curiosity about this village drew my attention and made me  affectionate towards Kalya and I made a visit …..

Kalya Village

En route to this village , I  came across the enhanced beauty of lakeside on one side with greenery farmlands & this path led me to Kalya, the village on the foothill of small hill boulders.

I primarily inquired some elders to record the main places across this small hill and they showed a path to the hill.

On the way, I met Prabhulingiah kalya as he was on the way to his field and I appointed him as guide & he was good at storytelling and proud of his village.

Firstly we visited the Kalleshwara Temple, this temple lies on the east side of the hill and  reached the temple after climbing a few steps.

It is a cave temple constructed on a cluster of stone boulders, while at the entrance , found a peculiar stone carving of an aged woman and inquired my guide and he told that it was of Gulekai Ajji

Gulekai Ajji (Kushmandini)

From this, we can understand that this temple might be a Jain basadi previously , but has been  converted to a temple.

Further to the entrance of the temple, my guide showed me a Granite black  stone slab right towards the temple entrance – this being the samadhi of Poet Palkuriki Somanatha.

Sri Palkuriki Somanatha’s Gadduge/Samadhi

It is in a saddened state with no information available on his samadhi, whereas the Telugu people should pride in their Aadi Kavi (First poet)  , Hope in the coming days the Government will take appropriate measures to develop this place.

On to the entrance of the main sanctity, there are two stone boulders across the entrance doors with an old Kannada inscription carved on both stone boulders.

From the right source ,  the inscription on the right stone boulder is about Vijayanagar dynasty of Bukka Raya period about the dispute settlement between Vaishnavas and Jains.

Further, we made our way to the summit of the hill by climbing on the stone boulder further and trekked in the thorny bushes and finally , we were at the summit where there is one beautiful Stone mandapa beckoning.

Further,  we moved to an ancient Jangama mutt (Mata) where we found a beautiful Nandi at the entrance of the mutt, the Nandi coated with lime.

It is a Jangama’s (A Veerashaiva monastery) place for religious activities and the village people abide by the guru of this mutt.

It is a place where the Shiva sharane Chennama’s Gadduge exists inside the Jangama Mata (Mutt) rest Gadduge belongs to Sharane Chennamma’s son, Palkuriki somanatha’s son, and the rest  have no information on them.

The latest Gadduge is of Siddalinga Aradhya guru in the mutt premises, he is the final guru of this monastery & their family is still residing in this village.

Interestingly they are the direct descendants of Palkuriki Somanatha.

Gadduge:  According to Veerashaiva tradition the Jangama (Guru) of Monastery performs his last rites – buried in a sitting posture holding the atma linga on his left hand palm filled with cakes of Vibhuthi (Sacred Ash), Salt, Bilva leaves (Aegle marmelos)  & rudrakshi.

As we began to descend from the mutt and moved to an open field and noticed a big stone pillar just near a  big stone boulder.

Stone pillar (Manasthamba)

The gigantic stone pillar (Manasthamba) just reminded me of a similar one I had seen at Nidugal opposite to Jogavatti parshvanatha basadi.

There was a big Jain basadi that existed opposite to this stone pillar but due to religious conflict ,the basadi has been razed to the ground leaving onlt this stone pillar.

Meeting the Descendants of Palkuriki Somanatha

Sri Palkuriki Somanatha (Image source:Internet)

It was an opportunity to meet the descendants of the great poet  “Palkuriki Somanatha”

A prominent Kannada scholar, historian Dr. Chidananda Murthy’s did a versatile research about Palkuriki Somanatha’s samadhi and their descendants are still living in this village

Finally reached their house with the help of villagers and happened to meet one of the family members.

Earlier their forefathers were living at Jangama Mata (Mutt) on the hill, after their last Guru’s demise they vacated the Mutt and settled in the village.

On Auspicious days they perform the pooja to Gadduges.

Mr Renuka prasad shared his moments and support given by famous scholar late.Dr Chidananda murthy.

Renuka prasad→K Mallikarjuniah→Mallaradhya

# Siddalinga Aradhya (1922-1993) Co-brother of Mallikarjuniah, last guru of Jangam mata from their lineage

Kalya had been favored to Yogis, Siddhi’s, Sharana’s of many traditions. From my visit ,  witnessed that many Buddhist, Jain, Shaiva yogis stayed in the cave and meditated

I tell with conviction that Kalya is not a small hillock village as it is now, but was once main center for trade,religious activities and many saint’s philosopher’s have played thier roles.

The descendents of Palkuriki somanatha continued to stay in this village, it shows their unshaken trust and believe in thier ancestors.

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