(Last Updated on : 09/04/2012)
The sculpture of Mahadeva temple, Itagi comprise of almost all the features of Western Chalukya sculpture
and architecture. This Shaiva temple was built by Mahadeva, a commander in the army of Vikramaditya VI, Western Chalukya king. The major appeal of the temple actually lies in its sculptures that adorn the temple walls, pillars and towers. In fact the Mahadeva temple, Itagi is often heralded as one of the outstanding temple that is second to Halebidu. An inscription within the temple complex describes the temple as an "Emperor among Temples."
The east facing Mahadeva temple plan is similar to other South Indian temples. Hence it has a garbhagriha, a mandapa and an antechamber. The inner cell is connected to the mandapa by the antechamber. A closed mandapa within the temple will lead one to an open pillared mandapa. Certain architectural elements like cornice and parapet are missing. The temple of the presiding deity, Shiva linga, is surrounded by 13 sub shrines. The main temple has two more deities: Murthinarayana and Chandraleshwari. They are the parents of Mahadeva, the Chalukyan commander.
Coming back to the architecture of the temple, its closed mandapa has doorways on both sides. The eastern doorway leads to the open mandapa. The ceilings of the porches have been decorated with ribbed designs. The open one has 64 pillars, 24 of these act as support to the ceiling. The remaining ones are half pillars which begin fro the parapet wall that surrounds the mandapa. The four central pillars that support the square ceiling of the open mandapa bear fretted stonework. Foliage sculpture and makaras that flow from the mouth of the kirtimukha adorn the ceiling.
In contrast, the design of the closed mantapa and the garbhagriha are plain and simple.