Less-known Hoysala gems

Less-known Hoysala gems

Less-known Hoysala gems

A group of 30 of us set out to explore lesser-known Hoysala temples around Hassan. We started our journey from Basavanagudi at around 6.30 am and reached Channarayapatna by around 10 am. We took a deviation towards Anekere, a small village about 25km from Channarayapatna. On arrival, we had to walk on a small village road for about half a kilometre to reach the Chennakeshava temple, a typical Hoysala-era temple with a large open space.

Next on our itinerary was the Bucheshwara temple at Koravangala. A simple and elegant specimen of 12th century Hoysala architecture, it is located in the village of Koravangala, 10 km from Hassan city.

The temple was built in 1173 AD by a rich officer called Buchi (or Buchiraja), to celebrate the coronation of Hoysala King Veera Ballala II. The eastern shrine contains a linga and the southern entrance has small elephant balustrades on either side. The outer wall of the closed hall has, in addition to usual Hindu iconography, some unusual reliefs, depicting animals devouring animals.

Later, we set off for Doddagaddavalli, home to the splendid Lakshmi Devi temple. It is located 16 km from Hassan and lies on the Hassan-Belur highway. The temple was built by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana in 1114 AD. The shrines facing north, south and west have the images of Kali, Vishnu, and Boothanatha Linga respectively.

Sculptures of Tandaveshwara (dancing Shiva), Gajalakshmi (Lakshmi with elephants on either side), and Yoganarasimha (avatar of Vishnu) provide a visual treat.

Next we set off towards Kondajji. The little village situated about 17 km from Hassan, is home to a 14th century temple of Varadaraja Swamy, also called Allalanatha. Legend has it that this 18 feet tall status was to be enshrined at the Channakeshava temple complex. But for some reason, it could not make it all the way, and was apparently going to be deserted. An old lady (Ajji, which means grandmother in Kannada) decided to buy the statue and establish it in a temple at that place, and the village got the name 'Kondajji'.

The Varadaraja statue alone is the centre of attraction here, the temple does not have any of the signature Hoysala architectural elements.

After lunch, we started towards Mudigere to see the Lord Narasimha and Omkareshwar temples.

Sri Yoga Narasimha Swamy temple is located in the village of Mudigere. The main deity is Lord Yoga Narasimha Swamy. The temple is also an abode of Sri Lakshmi Varaha Swamy. Just opposite is Sri Omkareshwara temple. The important deity in this temple is the supreme lord among the 'trimurthis', Lord Shiva in the form of Omkareshwara.

After feasting on hot snacks prepared by the staff of the tour agency, we left for Bengaluru at around 7 pm that day and reached by 10:45 pm with sweet memories of a fantastic trip.



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