Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 83

BY: SUN STAFF - 3.5 2018

Lord Brahma
Contemporary Bronze


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


Brahmadeva Temples at Savadi, Nippani and Tavandi

Over the next few days we will complete our tour of Jain Brahma temples, shrines and stambhas in Karnataka state. There are five notable sites, ranging the length of Karnataka, all on the western side. The northernmost is Savadi, which is home to an ancient Brahmadeva temple. One local land grant inscription from Savadi is dated AD 1083, but the site was also mentioned by Ptolemy in 150 AD, who referred to Savadi as Sabatha.

In his book Imagining Architects: Creativity in the Religious Monuments of India by Ajay J. Sinha, we find a physical description of the temple:

"The Brahmadeva temple at Savadi, another of Vesara's anomalies built farther west from Sudi, provides yet another link in Karnataka with North Indian architectural experiments, breaking ties with its Dravida precedents. Built in ca. A.D. 1050-1075, the Brahmadeva temple provides one of the earliest examples for a fully stellate temple in northern Karnataka. Its date is supported by a comparison with Sudi. For instance, the adhisthana of the Brahmadeva temple compares with those on the Joda Kalasa at Sudi. Also, the walls are exaggerated in height to fit figurative panels in the upper section, but the shrine pavilions on them stand low, unlike temples after ca. A.D. 1075.

The temple's sanctum uses four rotated squares to create sixteen corners on which the karnas piers of the temple are located. The wall shows a column wedged between the karna piers. The column is created within the boundaries of the rotated square by simply carving back the recesses around it, while the monotony of its excessive height is broken by plain ribbons along the shaft.

Like Sudi, the Savadi temple abounds in its reference to North India. All recesses are filled with Nagara kutastambha, an excess Savadi shares with the western shrine at Joda Kalasa. Karnakutas above at the superstructural levels are also faced by a Nagara kutastambha. Although ruined, the moldings of the hara above the sham column between the karna piers suggest that it would also have been crowned by a Nagara tower, so that the entire string course above the wall would then have had a row of such ornament."

Nippani and Tavandi Temples

Due west of Savadi and a little to the south are the villages of Nippani and Tavandi. Nippani, in the Belgaum district, is a well known Jain center that is home to two important temples. Tavandi (Stavanidhi), which is 5 km. south of Nippani, has four Jain temples. A large Brahmadev murti residing there is visited by many pilgrims.

The main Brahmadeva Basadi complex in Stavanidhi is dedicated to Devi Padmavati, and is home to a six foot tall deity of Bhagwan Parshwanath, the 23rd Tirthankar, who is seated in the Padmasana posture. The main temple has three Vedis, the first of which is dedicated to Bhagwan Surparsvanath. A murti of Bhagwan Rishabdev of 11 A.D. is installed in this Caitya.

Stavanidhi Brahmadeva

The second Caitya is home to murtis of Yaksha Brahmadev and Devi Padmavati, along with a murti of Bagwan Parsvanath known as Navkhand (nine pieces). The third Caitya is dedicated to Yaksha Brahmadev, and the large, beautiful murti of Brahma there is sindoori (red) in color. This temple is known locally as Sri Kshetra Stavanidhi Brahmadev Temple, or Stavanidhi Kuggo Brahmadev Temple.

An annual Rathayatra of Brahmayaksha is held at Stavanidhi, and in the month of January on new moon day (Amavasya), a fair is held there. These events are attended by thousands of pilgrims from around the region.