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Vaatapi Ganapatim Bhajeham

0 Comments 18 September 2012

vatapi ganapati


On the occasion of Ganesha pooja, this article is dedicated to Lord Ganapathy, the remover of all obstacles.  This is a guest post / re-post by Sri K V Ramprasad, popularly known in the blog world as hamsanandi and neelanjana. In his own words, he is a ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ. Musicphile. Bibliophile. Astrophile. Blogophile. Twitterphile, Thyagarajaphile, Dr. M Balamuralikrishna) BMKphile. He has written a book Hamsanada, and blogs here at Neelanjana. Wish you a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi!! 🙂


 The Vaatapi Ganapati Temple

Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles, has been celebrated through the works of many composers. One of the most popular songs about Ganapati is Muttuswamy Dikshita’s song in Hamsadhwani raga, ‘vAtApi gaNapatim bhajEham’. Even if you have attended a handful of concerts, it is very likely that you have listened to this composition.


Vatapi Ganapati Temple in Badami fort

Muttuswamy Dikshita (1776AD-1835AD) has composed about 400 compositions, most of them in Samskrta. Notably, he has composed many songs with geographic references which make it possible to locate the specific temple or deity he is singing about. A majority of his compositions are about the Gods and Goddesses of temples located in the delta region of river Kaveri.

Chalukya king  ruling from Badami (then called Vaatapi), Pulikeshi II invaded Pallava kingdom. In retaliation, in 643 AD, Pallava king Narasimha Varma invaded the Chalukya kingdom and laid siege on the Chalukya capital and defeated Pulikeshi.  During that time, a general of Pallava army by name Paranjyoti  (who became one of the 63 saints later on in his life , and became well known as Siruttondan) took away the Ganapati idol from the temple atop the fort in Vaatapi, and installed it in his hometown of Tiruchchengattangudi.



A view of Badami fort; Vatapi Ganapati temple can be seen at the left-center of the picture

This temple is being (mistakenly) referred to as the ‘Lower Shiva temple’ now. There is no idol inside.

As the idol came from the city of Vatapi, it came to be called as Vaatapi Ganapati, even after it’s relocation to Tiruchengattangudi.

Later on a similar idol installed in the Tyagaraja temple at Tiruvaroor as well, and this was also referred by the same name Vaatapi Ganapati (perhaps because of the likeness of features).


The famous hamsadhwani composition, Vaatapi Ganapatim Bhajeham of Muttuswamy Dikshita is about the idol located in the Tiruvaroor temple.





This post was originally published at Neelanjana.


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