THE western shore of the Bâgâla Talâo is studded with deserted and ruined temples, some of them standing well into the water, and which were there probably long before the lake was formed, at least of its present dimensions. Several of these temples are Jaina, and contain large images of Ajitanâth, some of which bear inscriptions dated about the middle of the fifteenth century.
But the finest is a group of Vaishnava temples, known as Sâsbahu, on a raised platform. On the east side, facing the lake, there has been a handsome approach, still indicated by four massive pillars. Fronting these is a pretty large temple, of the genuine Northern Chalukya style, with very massive columns and heavy torans. The porch (shown in Photograph XVI.), and the lattice stone windows on each side of the mandap, are carved in a very elaborate and striking style of art. The interior is a square of about 23 feet, with wide recesses about 4¾ feet deep on all four sides. The roof is supported by four massive pillars with torans, and all the twelve compartments of the ceiling are filled with very neat intricate sculptures. The place, however, has been long desecrated, and has been used as a dwelling until the roof is besmeared with smoke. There is no image in the shrine, nor any inscription to indicate its age; there are at the entrance only a few names of visitors, with dates varying from the middle of the seventeenth to the beginning of the eighteenth century. But the temple and all the others on the same platform are evidently much older, probably dating from about A.D. 1300, if not from a still earlier age.
One of the smaller shrines is shown on the right of the picture, and behind the larger, and to the north of it, is another, nearly as large, the mandap of which, except on the west, towards the shrine, is open all round, from the top of a low screen wall to the lintels which support the roof. The upper portions of the columns are round, and, together with the screen, are all elaborately carved in a bold clear style, and are in good preservation.