Sunday 20 January 2013

The Kalyana Mantapa where Shiva married Parvathi

There are scores of marriage halls or kalyana mantapas all over India where all kinds of marriage takes place. Each marriage is an event where two people come together for life. ‘However, there is one kalyana mantapa, perhaps the only one in India, where a God married a Goddess.
The kalyana mantapa exists today but over centuries the structure has transformed itself into a temple where the deities are those very Gods who got married.
This place is Sogal, which is a very beautiful picnic spot in Belgaum district of Karnataka. Sogal is about 75 kms from Belgaum, its district headquarters and 25 kms from Bailongal, a big town in Belgaum district.
It is at the top of the beautiful hill that Shiva wooed and married Parvathi. The place where their marriage took place was a Kalyana Mantapa. It remained so for thousands of  years before the Rashtrakutas came on the scene.
The Rashtrakutas made Manyakheta or Malkhed their capital. Manyakheta is today in Gulbarga district and it is holy to Madhwas as it has the Brindavan of Teekachar or Jaya Theertha and fifteen other Madhwa saints.   
The Rashkrakutas built temples all over their Kingdom and since Belgaum and of course Sogal too came under them, there are Rashkrakuta structures here too.
The Someshwara Temple on the top of the magnificent hill here is the very place where Shiva married Parvathi.  It was during the Rashkrakuta period that this structure was enlarged and the temple they built came to known as Someshwara Temple.
The Someshwara Temple is a landmark structure here and the temple still has an old statue of  Panchanana Shiva and Parvathi.
Shiva has a basinga and other ornaments that is worn during a wedding on his person.
The astadikpalakas surround the divine couple. There are carvings of other Gods such as Indra, Agni, Yama and Ishanya.
The place was known for religious activities during the ancient ages. There is local legend that says even tigers came here and stopped by to listen to the religious discourse and preachings.
Sogal is believed to have got its name from Sugola Rishi, who lived in the area.
There is a ruined fort to the east of the hill. This place is popularly known as Kadambarayan Kote-a reminder to the Kadamba Kings who once ruled the region before the Rashtrakutas. Nearby is the temple is the Ajjappana and a stone shrine to the Sun and Moon Gods.
Sogal is now a popular tourist destination and it offers a lot of adventure sports. The Sogal falls is breathtaking as is the climb to the top of the hill.

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