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The Bāleśvara Temple Complex of Śivagupta: Epigraphical Evidence for the Śaiva Siddhānta and Soma Siddhānta Traditions in Dakṣiṇa Kosala

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Epigraphical evidence, supported by archaeological remains, have shown that the ancient Dakṣiṇa Kosala was a rich centre of early Śaivism. At the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh century ce, the region was under the control of king Śivagupta ‘Bālārjuna’ of the Pāṇḍavas of Śrīpura (modern Sirpur). From his records it becomes clear that this king was a great patron of religion, and of Śaivism in particular. Among the inscriptions pertaining to Śaivism, eleven report on and relate to the construction of a Śiva temple established by the king himself (svakārita) and the transformation of this temple into a great centre of early Śaivism (to be precise, the Śaiva Siddhānta and Soma Siddhānta traditions). This article presents Śivagupta and the Śaiva officiants of the ‘Bāleśvara-bhaṭṭāraka’ Temple Complex as an example of the successful establishment of early forms of Śaivism, due to the close links between the king and his ‘rājaguruḥ’.

Affiliations: 1: University of Groningen


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