Champavat Temples

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2012

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Champavat is less than an hours drive from Mayavati Ashram, scenic drive. It is known for ancient temple of Baleshwar. The temple is a 5 minute walk from the main market, is an enclosure i.e. surrounded by homes. U get an overview of the temple.

Covered the temple architecture in some detail so that scholars n students can find the similarities between this temple and others in central/south India. U see temple on right side which is a Shiv mandir.

A close up of temple on left hand side, one is Champadevi Mandir and another is Bhairav Mandir. Originally the two temples were joined at the top. Temples made around 11-12th century A.D. The temple once had intricate structural features and a sanctuary with a mandap.

A closer view of the Shiv temple. Note the architecture, the dome and elephant carvings at lower levels. Elephant carvings similar to what saw in Belur and Halebidu temples of Karnataka.

Dome structure ke front mein close up of pillar. Note elephants at lower level. Never seen them joined like this. Upper level carvings not clear. Champavat is at a height of 1615m, at one time was the capital of the Chand Rajas of Kumaon.

Ceiling of dome structure. Design is very similar to temples of central India. Amazing work.

Entrance to temple with a brick colored dome. It is believed that Lord Vishnu assumed the tortoise incarnation (Kum Avatar) and penance for several hundred years on a mountain in Champavat. The place where he penanced, as referred to in the Skanda Purana, became famous as Kurmachal and Kumaon as its natural evolution.

Close up of carvings right side of temple entrance. Most images been defaced but the signs of excellent workmanship remain.

Carvings of temple base. The intricate carvings give u an idea of what temple was originally like.

Rear side of temple carvings.

Close up of panel shows dancing women, probably Lord Krishna with a flute in the Champadevi temple.

Close up of panel in the Bhairav temple. Lower level is a Kalash.

Plinth level carvings. Was told that Rohilla Muslim destroyed the temple during the 17th century.

In temple compound u see the various carvings that once formed part of the temple. Fortunately they are preserved.

Another view of old carvings. Some of them look like small temple viharas of the type I saw in Belur Temple Karnataka.

A view of Champavat town. Right you see children returning from school.

Ghatotkach Mandir with local priest. According to tradition the head of Ghatotkatch fell here hence this temple. It is a good 10 minutes drive from main market.

Nagnath Mandir i.e. close to the fort. Fort is unimpressive, today a government office. Can afford to skip this temple. Focus on Baleshwar mandir only.