Swarga Brahma Temple in Alampur

Swarga Brahma Temple is one of the Navabrahma Temples located at Alampur. Navabrahmeshwara Swamy Temples is a group of famous Temples. Alampuram also has the Ashtadasha Shakti Peetha Temple of Jogulamba Devi.

This important shrine seems to have been constructed towards the end of the 7th century A.D. There is an inscription above the dwarapalika image, which states that the shrine was constructed by Lokaditya-Ela-Arasa, in honor of the queen of Vinayaditya, called Mahadevi.

Like all other temples except the Taraka Brahma, the Swarga Brahma is a hall temple. The shrine is at the end of the rectangular hall, which is divided into a nave and side aisles by the use of pillars connecting the passage. Like the Kumara Brahma, the Swarga Brahma also has a porch. The panels on the outer walls carry relief figures of the Krishna Lila, Animals, Garuda-nose faces and Matrumurti. The pattern of carving is the same as on the Vishva Brahma temple.

Although there had been relief carvings in Aihole and Pattadakal, the pantheism here shows a passionate enthusiasm for exaltation of human form to divine status. There are Pauranic scenes, loving couples and flying spirits. And in the midst of these are the independent realizations of the gods, by the release into a certain innocence and freer interpretation of the icon beyond the manner of the Chalukyas in the west. One of the new dhyana mantras is a wall sculpture entitled Lingodbhavamurti of Shiva, inset into a tall phallus, with worshipping figures in a rectangular panel from which the lingam is carved. And a truncated figure shows the remains of a dynamic sculpture of shiva as Tripurasuramharamurti. The mobility of the carving skillfully releases energies into the universe with terrifying violence.

Another broken figure is a relief of Gangavatarana, again as a demonstration of the Alampur sculptor’s genius for release of potential power of the gods. A similar sculpture of Shiva involved in the Tandava dance is a heroic image. The frenzy of the movement is caught in the ecstatic moment, by some Viswakarma, realizing himself through the expression of muscular energies into the universal image of dance incarnate.

Shiva is shown in another mood as he stands, pensively, with the gracious bend of his body, almost supplicating Parvati. The Mithuna couples show the sculptor’s sensitiveness to tenderness between the male and the female, through the evocation of desire lurking below the surface of life and evoked here through the woman’s shy withdrawal and the man dragging her by the arm from the natural urge of seduction.

The Swarga Brahma temple has a six pillar porch on the east, the Puranghata pillars being decorated with amalkas. There are horned dwarpals by the doorway. Ganga and Jamuna are symbolically carved on the door-frame with the GarudaNaga motif above. The temple has a curvilinear sikhara of the northern style, with a figure of dancing Shiva carved in the Chaitya window of the Sukanasi.

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