Hoysalan souvenir at Bhadravathi

Hoysalan souvenir at Bhadravathi

When one travels through the State, one is sure to stub a toe on one monument or the other.

It could be a fort, temple, palace or a mosque...souvenirs left to us by the erstwhile rulers of that region. One such monument is a temple dedicated to Lakshminarasimha in  present-day Bhadravathi town built during the Hoysala reign. The town Bhadravathi owes its name to the river Bhadra which flows through it. It was earlier known by many names, a few of which are Bankipura – for the numerous furnaces used to smelt iron ore, Mankipura – for legend says it housed the hermitage of sage Manki and also Vankipura.

The 13th-century Lakshminarasimha temple built by Veeranarasimha, the grandson of king Vishnuvardhana, is constructed on a 16 point-star shaped platform. It falls under the trikuta type of temple which has three shrines above which rises a tower. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

A tall dhwajastambha (flag staff) and a stone pillar at the entrance of the temple greet the visitors. Entry into this east-facing temple from the ground level is in two stages – five steps up to the platform and then three steps leading to the porch.
The temple has withstood the vagaries of the weather as well as vandalism by the locals at a time when no protection was available. The temple comprises of a porch, a closed hall, the antharala followed by the sanctum sanctorum.

The central shrine is dedicated to Lord Lakshminarasimha seated in sukhasana with his consort Lakshmi on the left. In the south cell standing on a large garuda pedestal is the image of the Venugopala, while in the north cell, is the image of lord Purushottama standing on the garuda pedestal.

All the images are finely sculpted, displaying the extraordinary skills of the sculptors of the time. Upon closer observation one will notice the concrete cones replacing damaged portions of the original towers which were raised on all the three cells causing a negligible loss to the beauty of the temple.
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The images of Ganapathi and goddess Sharadamba are housed in the large niches on either side of the antharala door. But for the elaborate perforated screens of doorways in the closed mantapa, the interior is simple. The tower and the sukanasi (vestibule) on each of the lateral shrines and an elevated platform on which the temple stands offer a grand front view.

On keen observation, one finds that the southern part of the temple wall is devoid of embellishment. The drawing of plumb lines on certain stone panels, a preliminary step to sculpting the intended image reflects the propensity to build a grand temple but unfortunately, for reasons best known to the then royalty, excellence remained a whisker away on account of this incomplete aspect.

Bhadravathi, at a distance of 19 km from Shimoga, is well connected both by bus and train.  

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