Medieval Karnataka Religious combat over supremacy

Abbalur, a small village in the Haveri district in the central part of Karnataka region, once it was a prominent center of worshiping for both Shaivas and Jains.

In the 12th under the regime of Kalyana Chalukyas, there was a great religious movement with great consequences under the leadership of Sangana Basava (Basavanna)  a new religious faith Veerashaivaism (Shaiva Warriors) engulfed in the country. That time Jainism was a predominant religion of the state, and the Jains became staunch opponents of the Shaivas.

There is evidence to show that even before Basaveshwara ushered in the new pattern of Shaivism-Kalamukha-Veerashaivism was already in the Karnataka already a movement of Saivite revival.

There was an epigraphy that clearly indicates a religious quarrel between Shaivas and the Jains:

Ekantada Ramayya a great Shiva devotee who was worshipping in Abbalur Brahmeshwara temple, the Jains in the town along with the village head (Sanka Gavunda) enters the Shiva temple where Ramayya was praying, purposefully the Jains shouting with the greatness of Jaina and its supremacy.

These Jains challenged him to prove the superiority of his god. He took up the challenge. The Jains promised to leave their Basadis and the if  Ekantada Ramayya agreed to do a miracle. They stipulated that his head must first cut off and that must get back to the head back with the original condition with the grace of Lord Shiva.

Ramayya agreed to this challenge and  the Jains on their side agreed that if he should successfully perform this miracle, they would destroy their Jain temples and become Veerashaivas
Ramayya sang the praise of Lord Shiva and cut off his head from Gandukattari(type of Knife), which came back to him on the 7th day after the mutilation.
                                 Ekantada Ramayya
Ramayya appeared again before the Jains who, however, refused to part of the contract they agreed to, this enraged Ramayya to began to destroy their Basadis and Idols.
He built a temple of Somanatha under the name of Vira Somanatha.
The Ramayya followers move on to persecution against the Jain village head and the Jains, this news was carried to Bijjala of Chalukya of Kalyana.
Ramayya produced the written agreement of the Jains and offered to repeat the miracle, letting the Jains even burn the head detached from his body promising to recover it as before if the Jains would stake their 700 temples as wager therefor.



The Jains would not accept the challenge.  Bijjala ordered the issue of a Jaya Patra, “a certificate of Victory,” to Ramayya. Bijjala so far appreciated the single-minded devotion of Ramayya.


Thus Ramayya was assigned with his name as Ekantada Ramayya with a strong devotion to lord Shiva.
Thus the Someshwara temple of Abbalur originally was a Jain Basadi, inside the temple the other Shiva linga was consecrated in the name of Ekantada Ramayya and Agnihonnayya(Ramayya’s Guru)
Even today you can witness the graphical description of combat between the Ekantada Ramayya and with the Jains, breaking up the image can be seen at the Veera Someshwara at Abbalur.

The inscription and the sculpture depict the story of Ekantada ramayya winning over Jains.


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