The Mahamaya Temple at Kuknoor village of Koppal district has many legends and tales associated with it. One such story links it to the Mahabharata period. It is said that a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali is hidden underneath the present temple complex. This is the same temple which King Chandrahasa, a devotee of Lord Krishna, visited.The sanctum sanctorum of the Mahamaya Temple houses three idols of Mahamaya, Mahakali and Kshetrapala.

The Chalukya and Rashtrakuta dynasties considered Kuknoor as an important bastion. Just behind the Mahamaya Temple is the unique Navalinga Temple. Built in 9th century by the Chalukyas, the Navalinga Temple houses nine of the 12 jyotirlingas and is probably the only place to have such lingas. Each linga has a separate sanctum sanctorum and a shikhara. The temple complex is in ruins now and villagers complain that the place is used for anti-social activities.

The ruined Navalinga Temple

The Makara-toranas, for which the temple complex is popular, are missing in some shrines while in some they are partly destroyed. The interiors of the Temple are devoid of sculptures while the outside is modestly done. This complex is a rare specimen of ancient temple architecture but the shikharas, which have detailed carvings, are losing their glory due to nature’s vagaries and human negligence. One of the nine shrines has already crumbled and a temporary structure has been built in the same place.

One of the makara-toranas at the Navalinga Temple

Kuknoor is well connected by road from Koppal, Gadag and Hosapete. It is just 7 km from Itagi, home of the famous Mahadeva Temple.

This article was published in Spectrum, Deccan Herald on 25th August, 2015. DH Article


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