Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 81

BY: SUN STAFF - 27.4 2018

Brahmastambha at Kambadahalli

A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.

Lord Brahma at Kambadahalli

In yesterday's segment on Brahma worship in Jain temples, we covered a number of Brahmastambhas, pillars with murtis of Lord Brahma positioned at the top. One example given was the 12th century Brahmastambha at Shantishwara Basti, Kambadahalli. Today we look at a second, super-excellent Brahmastambha in that temple complex.

Kambadahalli (Kambapuri) is a village in Mandya district, Karnataka. One of the oldest and most important Jain centers in Karnataka, the temples and monuments here were built by the Western Ganga Dynasty in the 9th-10th century. In Kannada, the name 'Kambadahalli' means 'village (halli) of the pillar (kamba).

Located 18 km from the Shravanabelagola complex, this site is well known for the beautiful Brahmadeva pillar found on the grounds of the Panchakuta Basadi. These temples date back to 900 C.E, and 72 basadis are said to have once existed here.

Panchakuta Basadi Complex

The Panchakuta Basadi is one of the most beautiful temple complexes built by the Western Ganga Dynasty. Constructed in Dravidian, Vesara and Nagara styles, it is similar to the Chavundaraya Basadi in Shrvanabelagola.

The main temple which is oriented to the north, facing the Brahmadeva pillar. It has five shrines, thus the name 'panchakuta'. Three of the shrines, including the main shrine, are connected to a mantapa by a vestibule, while the other two are disconnected and lie to the north of the trikuta cluster (three shrines).

Positioned at the top of the imposing Brahmasthamba pillar is a murti of Brahmadev, called Brahma Yaksha, which refers to a particular set of attributes of Lord Brahma's that are being glorified by the shrines. Another class of Jain deities in which Lord Brahma has been integrated are the Kshetrapalas. Akin to village deities, the Kshetrapalas are often worshipped as field guardians by farmers, who particularly worship Brahmadev and Bhairava in this capacity.