Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Forgotten Shiva Temple - Kopeshwar Temple

Some places appeal so much to your heart that you get an intense desire to visit them again; Kopeshwar Temple is one of such place. I visited Kopeshwar Temple this March on our trip to Kolhapur. Kopeshwar Temple is located in a small village called Kirdapur which is around 60 – 65 Kms from Kolhapur.

We headed for Khidrapur in a car and took up road to ‘Narsobachi wadi’. It was pleasant drive through lush green fields of sugar-cane.

This wonderful temple belongs to Lord Shiva, and named as ‘Kopeshwar’. There is a mythological story behind the name ‘Kopeshwar’. Devi Sati (daughter of King Daksha) was married to lord Shiva. King Daksha was not fond of his son-in-law and thus dint invite Sati & Shiva to the yagna (hindu ritual performed along with holy fire) he was about to perform.

Devi Sati felt bad and humiliated. She went to her father seeking the reason for not inviting her husband to the Yagna. In turn, King Daksha insulted Shiva in fromt of her. The insult of Lord Shiva was unbearable and intolerable to Sati. She immediately jumped in the yajna and destroyed herself. 
Hearing this news, Shiva lost his temper and punished King Daksha by cutting his head. It is believed that angry Shiva wandered around and it was finally at this place that his anger subsided. Hence the temple got its name, Kopeshwar i.e. ‘Kop’ means anger and ‘Eshwar’ means lord Shiva.

As soon as one enters the temple premises, the temple’s aura takes over and the entire appearance of this temple takes us in to a different age altogether. The temple is made up of Black stone and the architecture of the temple resembles itself with that of Konark of Puri and other traditional ancient south Indian temples.

Temple stand firm with beautiful stone carvings depicting scenes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, flowers, trees, birds, human figures. As you step into the beautiful Temple, you can actually feel the coolness. There are superbly carved pillars which support the stone ceiling that is open to the skies.

The inner temple is more cold and dark. The shiva linga, burning lamps make the atmosphere peaceful and divine.

I was surprised to know that there was no nandi in the temple in spite of the fact that it is Shiva mandir.

It is sad that most of the sculptures are badly damaged and mutilated. There are no exact historical evidences of ‘who destroyed what’ but it is very painful to see such beauty and art ruined.

Mutilated Sculptures
Kopeshwar Temple reminded my mother of the wonderful architectural carvings temples of Halebidu and Bellur.

Kopeshwar temple gave me much more than I expected. It gave me peace, joy and an opportunity to appreciate the sculptures and carvings.

It is really sad that such wonders are still unknown to the tourists. 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 a heritage temple by the Archaeological Survey of India it is the not marketed at all.

This ancient architectural splendor should be made popular so that more and more people of similar interests can come and visit here. Through this blog I wish to promote this place and request you all to visit this temple on your visit to Kolhapur.

It is a beautiful place of carvings, such splendid artwork, nearly lost, is a pity thing. Kopeshwar, is strictly no miss-miss place if you are planning a visit to Kolhapur.

Read about my visit to Radha Krishna Prem Mandir in Vrindavan.

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