The town of Vizianagaram in AP is one of the largest municipalities in terms of population. Also a huge education hub. In the middle of the town is the ancient Vizianagaram fort, which houses many colleges and schools and even some beautifull amsterdam apartments. The Vizianagaram area was ruled by Rajus before the British occupied the area.
In 2009, ancient inscriptions were found near Ramatirthalu shrine, 13 km from Vizianagaram, on a bald hill called Bodikonda. On top of the western end of it, a ruined brick work is there with three images of Jain Tirthankaras. Higher up on the hill under an over-hanging rock is another mutilated Jain image. There is another hill by name Gurubhakthudu Konda with sculptures of the same class. On the rock is carved a small nude image in standing posture beside which is a small defaced inscriptions recording eastern Chalukya king who ruled from 1011 A.D. to 1022 A.D.
Chalukyas who ruled southern parts of India between 6th Century and 12th Century had their capital in Badami (Vatapi) in North Karnataka region. The greatest king in the Chalukya dynasty was Pulakesin II who was a patron of arts, literature and architecture. Southern style of architecture flourised under him, particularly the Gadag, Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole. Kannada literature’s “Three Gems” Pampa, Ponna and Ranna were supported by the chalukyas in the 9th century.
Pulakeshi II extended his empire all the way in the North to Narmada region and in the Southeastern region, all the way to coastal kingdom of Vizianagaram. The chalukyas in the this region were known as eastern chalukyas or the Chalukyas of Vengi. Intially they tried to promote Kannada language and literature in the region, but later assimilated with the local culture and language.
Now, what amazes me is how these guys managed to cover the distance from Narmada to Vizianagaram to Mysore? And brought all the learnings back to Badami & Pattadakal. In Pattadakal, there are temples in both the northern style, the nagara style and the dravidan style. Particularly impressive is the Papanatha temple, which is a mix of both styles.
A visit to Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole is a must if you are ever in North Karnataka. If not, you can always read this excellent travelogue and excellent photojournal on Indiamike.