A small village, Khidrapur, about 22 Kms from Narsoba Wadi is the home to Kopeshwar Mandir. A temple reported to be constructed approximately 1700 ago. A Legend depicting the life of Lord Shankar (Mahadeva).
Khidrapur, is the home to hardly 1000 habitats, is on the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka on the banks of River Krishna. A village predominantly engaged in farming for its livelihood.
The recent serial on Devo – ka -Dev – Mahadev on Life OK has brought this legend back to life in the human minds.
As is known ………When Sati (Parvati) jumped into Daxa’s sacrifice, Lord Shiva was angry. He got peace of mind at this place. When he came here he was alone along with Lord Vishnu. Nandi was sent to protect Sati and so is not present here, but there is a separate temple built for him nearby.
The Kopeshwar Mandir is an ancient & artistic temple situated on the bank of Krishna in Kolhapur district near Kurundwad, It is a fine example of ancient sculpture. It was built in 11-12 century by Shilahar. In the interior you see first Vishnu (Dhopeshwar) and Shivling facing north. But there is no Nandi who has separate Mandir. Separate Actor-Pendal, hall, old pillars, carvings of gods & male-female artists in various poses are attractive. The ceiling is semicircular with matchless engravings. On the outside complete ‘Shivaleetamrit’ is carved.
The temple was built sometime in the seventh century AD during the reign of the Chalukya kings. However it was abandoned due to frequent invasions from neighboring kings like the Rashtrakutas. It was later patronized by the Silhara kings Gandaraditya, Vijayaditya and Bhoja II (12-13th cen AD). Later its jeernoddhar (renovation and consecration) took place during the time of their succeeding dynasty the Seuna Yadavas of Devgiri (sometime during the reign of their king Singhana, 13th cen AD).
The temple has a stellate plan and is essentially divided into a swargamandapa, a sabhamandapa and a garbhagriha.
The swargamandap (antechamber/porch) is built on total fourty eight pillars arranged in a circlular pattern . The temple has total ninety five pillars. The roof of the swargamandapa is open. It can be assumed that the yagnas were performed in its premise with the smoke making way to the skies (swarga-heavens) as an offering to the Gods. The Nandi (bull) idol so typical in Shiva temples is curiously missing in this mandapa. Mythology attributes it to Shiva having instructed Nandi to escort his consort Sati to her fathers kingdom. Hence his absence.
The swargamandap connects the sabhamandap (assembly hall) which is a dark thinly illuminated room . There is a antarala (vestibule) separating it from the garbhagriha (sanctum). The shikhara (Nagara style conical-roofed-superstructure) above the garbhagriha appears a latter addition. The kapota (part of the entablature) is decorated with urahsringas (minor spires) and other frame like elements.
The interiors are decorated with figurines of Gods, Godesses, Yaksha, Gandharva, Apsara, Surasundari, animals, motifs etc carved on the walls, in aedicules and on the kirtimukha of the pillars. Some even depict stories from epics like Ramayana & Mahabharata and parables from the works like Panchatantra.
The exterior mandovara (temple walls) is decorated with pilasters with the narathara (human-freize) depicting carved sculptures of surasundaris (celestial maidens)Gods, Goddesses (Shiva,Parvati,Durga,Bramha,Vishnu etc), ascetics and animals like the Vyaals (mythical/extinct beasts), Gaja (elephants)etc. Many of these sculptures are defaced and are attributed to the vandalism during the Islamic invasions. It is alleged that one moslem commander Khydar Khan order the mutilation of the elephant trunks. The village Khidrapur is named after this Khyder Khan.
The vedisthana (socle that holds the walls) is built on the adisthana (plinth) and has the gajathara (elephant freize) with deities mounted on elephants. The doors/entrances (two side entrances each for the swargamandap and sabhamandap , besides the main entrances) have the typical makartoranas (floral-reptile motifs)carved on the doorstep . There is also the ganeshpatti (image of Ganesha on the top/ centre) and other figurines (at the base) on the doorframe.
The rear of the temple has a stone fountain described as the Taraka kunda. The entire temple is surrounded by a stone wall with a nagarhana. The entrance and the exit are through a passageway in the nagarkhana.
Everything is so finely detailed not only the sculptures but the story and the the rest, that, it’s really noteworthy. The depictions on it’s wall match with what we have known in our mythological beliefs.
Each and every mural on the wall has a story of its own to tell and it’s importance. Writing about each and every mural would be difficult.
I could snap only 97 photographs. Unfortunately. Actually countless photographs can be taken as each and every mural has its own story to be told. Some of these are in the corners that it surprises me as to how they were carved.
There isn’t much written and published about this place. Though this temple comes directly under the control of Maharashtra Tourism and has been declared as an heritage temple by the Archaeological Survey of India it is the least marketed.
Excuse me for the quality of the photographs, as it were taken on my Samsung Tab 2. I should have had a good DSLR camera to capture these photographs. Anyway. Its for you to to lavish.
Through this Blog Post I wish to promote this place and I hope I will be successful to a certain extent.
How to go to Kopeshwar Mandir:
There are regular State Transport buses from Kurundwad to Khidrapur at 1 hour intervals starting from 08:00 am till 12 noon after that there are no buses.
Khidrapur is 18 Kms from Kurundwad and takes about 20-25 minutes to reach here. The roads are in a very bad state as this is state border village.
Accommodation at Kopeshwar:
There are lodges or hotels here in Khidrapur. So its best to find accommodation at Kurundwad or better-still at Narsoba Wadi. Joshi Guruji (found in one the photographs) can make arrangements for your accommodation at his residence along with your meals for which he may charge some money. Frankly speaking there is nothing here other than the the temple so overnight stay would not be necessary.
There are couple of Snack centers offering basic snacks like “Vada Pav”, “Misal Pav”, “Bhaji”, “Bhaji Puri”, Tea etc. but don’t expect any thing else. I will not advice you to have anything to eat, though tea can off course be had.
It takes not more than one and a half hour to see the entire temple so a morning excursion from Narsoba Wadi can definitely be attainable.
If you need any more information about this place you can definitely get in touch with me. I would be to happy to share it with you all.