It was noon and the sun was in no mood to mellow down. We were climbing the rudimentary steps, with each step almost two-feet in height and irregularly shaped, to visit the ancient cave temple of Kalkaleshwara in Gajendragad. The temple’s outer walls are a continuation of the famous fort of Gajendragad. Gajendragad is a town in Ron taluk of Gadag District. A small niche in the massive rock-face houses a Linga whose origins are unknown and there is a shrine dedicated to Veerabhadraswamy nearby which is also carved on the rock-face. The locals call this place Dakshina Kashi (Kashi of the South). There are dark caves in the rock-face all around which have been sealed now so that people don’t get lost in them. The priest told us that the caves run deep into the mountains and the oxygen levels in them are quite low.

The cave temple at Gajendragad

The temple has been associated with many mythological stories and miracles. A few metres from the linga, there is a small square-shaped well which is known to be a perennial source of fresh water, with water dripping into it from a huge root of a Peepal tree above. Where the water flows into is unknown just as its source. From the temple one can catch site of windmills on the hills on the opposite side. The cool breeze was a welcome respite and we descended slowly recollecting the tales we has just heard.

Gajendragad is famous for being the place where Tipu Sultan, the Marathas and the Nawabs signed a treaty which marked the end of the Mysuru War II. It is located on state highway 42, at about 57 km from Gadag city and at about 27 km from Ron.

This article was published in Spectrum, Deccan Herald on 14th July, 2015. DH Article


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