Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Medieval Temples of Satgaon

Satgaon is a small village in Chikhli Tehsil of Buldhana district.  It is situated about 10 miles to the south of Buldhana.  The village is locally known as Satgaon Bhusari to distinguish it from another village on Buldhana-Dhad road with the same name.  Not much significant is the village with the population of just above 2000 and I did not even know its name until now even though I stayed at Buldhana for two years from 2000 to 2002 for my junior college studies.  Why the village caught up my attention recently is the existence of four old temples located there, which are as old as the 12th to 13th century.  This was only because of my utter ignorance about them that I did not visit the place during my days at Buldhana.

Few days ago, I found an impressive book in the Government Press Book Store at Nagpur that was the District Gazetteer of Buldhana originally published in 1910 by the British Government.  This book is the work of immense importance as it gives a vivid picture of the district, its people, its land, its flora and fauna, its culture and heritage, etc.  While describing the archeological heritage of the district, the gazetteer gives the detailed account of the temples at Satgaon.  This description is worth to read in original.  The gazetteer notes:
This village is of some importance by reason of its antiquarian remains, showing the existence of Jainism side by side with Brahmanism.  There are ruins of temples and statuary which show that out of four temples now traceable, three were Hindu and one was Jain. They are all in a dilapidated state, one of them being a total wreck. The principal temple is that of Vishnu to the west of the village. It is somewhat peculiarly built in that it faces the west instead of the east as usual. The image of Vishnu is broken and lost, leaving only his feet above the figure of Garuda which is his conveyance, and which is still in situ.  The temple is much dilapidated, but it is a fine structure. The ceilings of the mandapa and the exterior walls of the shrine are well decorated, and in style seem to stand half way between the later temples of the 13th and 14th centuries and those of the 11th. To prevent further decay, the Archaeological Department has taken it under its charge.
 At a short distance behind the Vishnu temple is a remnant of a small temple of Mahadeva, which is in a very ruined condition; the entrance to it is from the east side, local mud walls having recently been built in the verandah of the mandira.  Inside the temple there is a linga and outside the Nandi; the door is elaborately carved and has Ganesh on the dedicatory block, above which there are niches with figures of Vaishnavi, Brahmi and Parvati. These are all goddesses, the wives of the gods constituting the Hindu Trinity. It is, however, noticeable that there are no figures of gods to be seen there. The third Hindu temple is to the north of the Vishnu temple and, as already stated, is a wreck. Of the fourth, which was apparently a Jain temple, all that now remains are four standing pillars. A short distance to the north-west of this is a large pipal tree with a high platform around its base on which are some fragments of old images. Among them is the lower portion of an image of the Jain god Parasnath with an inscription of two lines beneath, dated Shaka1173 (A.D. 1251). It is Digambara, its nakedness being distinctly indicated. Apparently it was originally enshrined in the temple, of which the four pillars remain. Another noticeable image on the platform is that of a Devi which is broken, but above her head there is a wreath of flowers at the top of which is seated a little Jina, indicating that the Devi does not belong to the Hindu but to the Jain pantheon. (Buldhana District Gazetteer, 1910, pp. 461—62).
Vishnu Temple at Satgaon (copyright HistoryBuilt )
There are also some photographs of these temples in the gazetteer which were taken about 100 years ago.  It would be a pleasure for me if I could upload some of those images on Ghalibana, but it is not possible for now because of some technical difficulties; however, I have added one newer photograph that I found on HistoryBuilt to this post.  I will try to scan and upload the old images on Ghalibana soon and also will upload on Wikimedia Commons as they are now in public domain.  The gazetteer also has some more images and information about some nearby temples at Dhotra, Shendrujan, and Lonar.  I am looking forward to upload all of then on Commons.

More information about these temples can be found in the booklet Medieval Temple of Satgaon by Dr. G. B. Deglurkar published by Nagpur University in 1973.  I would be happy if I can find an opportunity to visit these temples in future as they are located at just within 100 km from my hometown Nandura, though it could be difficult in the near future as I no more reside at Nandura.  Those who are interested in the subject or who have more information are welcome to write me as a comment to this post.

For more information about the Jain temples around the world, please refer to Jain Temples of India and Around the World.

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