There is much more to Hubballi than commer ce. Apart from the archeologically significant sites, Hubballi is home to a rich heritage of art, cultur e and music.
Words: RASHMI GOPAL RAO
Hubballi has always been known for its bustling trade and commercial activity. While the name literally translates in Kannada to ‘flower creeper’, the industrial town has always been a business hub and a centre of active commodity trade. The second largest city in the state, the transformation of Hubballi into an industrial town can be traced to the days of the Vijayanagara Empire, when cotton, iron ore and other metals were traded here in abundance. Even today, the city is synonymous with textile, cotton, groundnut and chilli trade.
Several musical legends and stage artists including Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Dr. Gangubai Hangal and Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur hail from here. It is a hub of education, with three universities that are based here.
Architectural gem in the City
Located close to the Unkal Lake in the city, is the Chandramouleshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. On reaching the temple, one is sure to be mesmerised by architectural brilliance of the monument. The temple is believed to have been built by the Chalukyas in the 11th and 12th century. The shrine of Lord Shiva is in the form of two Lingas (main deities) with one of them being Chaturmukha or four-faced.
A unique feature of the temple is the presence of four doors in all four directions and the absence of a temple tower or Gopura. The temple is a rectangular structure with a flat top and according to legend, it was supposed to be built overnight, but as the sculptors could not finish it, they left it incomplete. In typical Chalukyan style, the façade and the exteriors of the temple, done in stone have some exquisite carvings and sculptures, reveal volumes of the superior craftsmanship of the sculptors. The red and green hues of the stone only complement the beauty of the intricate columns and panels on the walls of the temple. It attracts huge crowds on Mondays as it is a day that is auspicious to Lord Shiva.
Just about 80km from Hubballi, is the seemingly sleepy town of Hangal that is known for the magnificent Tarakesvara Temple. A relatively unknown sight that is off the conventional tourist circuit, this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is built in the Kalyana Chalukya architectural style. With distinct influences of the Hoysala and Kadamba style of architecture, the main deity of the temple is in the form of a Linga called Tarakesvara. The lathe pillars, ornately carved ceilings and the trellises on the doorway are a reflection of grandeur and beauty. There are carvings related to the Ramayana as well as of other Gods and Goddesses on the outer walls.
Yet another not so touristy spot close to Hangal and on the way to Hubballi, is the Bileshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built with distinct Hoysala influences, the temple’s structure is rather plain with no elaborate halls, pillars or tower. But the distinctive features of the temple include the Linga that is exceptionally tall and the multiple door panels that adorn the door of the sanctum sanctorum or Garbhagriha. The level of detailing and perfection in the carvings of these panels is truly awe-inspiring.
While in the city, a walk around the scenic Unkal Lake and its surrounding greenery is sure to give you a chance to rejuvenate yourself. Tranquil evenings by the lake are a great way to unwind and relax. The main city centre too offers some interesting streetscapes if you are the kind who would like to experience the native culture. Women folk wearing traditional Hubballi cotton sarees sifting jowar (sorghum) outside their houses or elderly men and women selling curd on the streets is a common sight. Incidentally, the home-made curd and butter is highly popular with the locals and stocks are replenished within no time. Traditional checkered cotton sarees with zari borders are a must-buy if you are a fan of handloom.
While in Hubballi, do make time and sample the authentic North Karnataka food that is known for its pungent, fiery flavours. Given that peanuts and red chillies are some of the main crops grown in the region, the fare is dominated by the use of a varied mix of condiment powders and spicy chutneys. A meal in a local eatery, also called khanavali, is sure to treat you to some delectable signature preparations. Do pick up a box of the melt-in-your-mouth Dharwad pedas on your way back. These ghee-laden desserts are sure to conjure sweet memories of your tryst with North Karnataka cuisine.
Etched in Tradition
Relying on traditional Indian design and ethos, Jaipur Watch Company creates timepieces that can outlast generations. A bespoke watchmaker, their latest Imperial Wristwear II has a number of new elements and features. There are four Colour variants in the collection.
Each watch is built on One Rupee half silver Coin from the British India Era as the centerpiece, which has been placed inside specially created colored dial with raised metal indices. The watch ticks on an Automatic Movement from Miyota Citizen. The front crystal is a domed sapphire and even the back crystal is a sapphire glass. Every watch has a matching precious stone on the crown. Red has a Ruby, Black has a Black Sapphire, and Green comes with Emerald.