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Secrets of Karnataka: Journey Through Five Hoysala Art Temples In Pandavpura!

Imagine being transported back in time to witness the grandeur and magnificence of temple architecture in the region of Karnataka, India. This is the essence of the Hoysala Art temples in Pandavpura.

Let us explore a few examples of Hoysala architecture in the region of Pandavpura.

5 Hoysala Art Temples In Pandavpura

Nambi Narayana Temple

The Thondanur village has parthasarathy temple, Nambi Narayana or Lakshminarayana temple, Yoga Narasimha and Kailaseshwara temples. Just as The Kailaseswara temple was built in 1158 during the reign of Hoysala king Narasimha I, the Krishna temple was built by Koothadi, the commander of Karaikkudi, by Veettirunda (sitting) Perumal (god). The Narasimha temple is situated on a high hill. Though the temples here were built by the Hoysalas, the influences of the Chola style can be traced back to the fact that the sculptors who created them came from Tamil Nadu. It may be noted that such changes and adjustments have been possible in history. The structure of this temple seems to indicate that it did not come out of the influence of the Chalukyas.

Lakshminarayana is in separate sanctum sanctorums here. There are 20 inscriptions found here, of which ten are in Tamil and ten in Kannada. This shows the influence of Tamil. Over time, many changes were made when the temple was included in the administration of Vijayanagara. Consequently, the large prakara and the entrance mandapa make it apparent that it was a Hoysala temple. The temple is believed to have earned the respect of many royal families with its 57-pillared mukhamantapa of the Vijayanagara period, navaranga with magnificent pillars, sukanasi and magnificent Narayana idols standing on the Garuda peeta. In front of the entrance is a huge garudagamba with 16 stripes.

When the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana was a Jain fanatic, he was known as Bittideva. There is a legend that later came under the influence of Acharya Ramanuja and became a follower of Vaishnavism. Similarly, when Vishnuvardhana’s daughter was suffering from a strange disease, it is said that her illness was cured by an interview with Ramanuja and bittideva, influenced by it, became a Vaishnava follower.

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Nambi narayana temple in pandavpura

Sri Venugopala Temple

Sri Venugopala Temple known as Parthasarathy Temple, the utsavamurthy here is in the form of Venugopala and on the left and right of the original idol are the idols of Rukmini Satyabhama. The temple has also been repaired from time to time and has grown extensively, adding new parts. Though not many sculptures can be found, it attracts due to its massive nature. The original part of the temple traditionally consists of navaranga, sukanasi and sanctum sanctorum.

A Tamil inscription is also seen in the temple premises. History tells us that Vishnuvardhana built Narayana temples at five places in then Karnataka as a memorial to his victory over talakadu region in battle. He built temples at Melukote (where the Tamil word Thiru means Sri), Keerthinarayana in Talakad, Vijayanarayana in Belur, Veeranarayana in Gadag and Nambi Narayana at Thondanur. As can be seen from this list, vaishnava dominance was not found in Belur and Gadag as in Melukote, Thondanur and, to a lesser extent, Talakadu.

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Sri venugopala temple in pandavpura

 Cheluvanarayana Swami Temple

Sunkathonnur  is located at a distance of five km from Thonnur. Tamil inscriptions are available in this region which is under the strong influence of Ramanujacharya. Tonda in Tamil means disciple. Known under the patronage of Ramanuja’s disciple, this place is known as Sunka Thondanuru, or Sunkathonnur, with the word Sunka. References to this name are found in vijayanagara inscriptions. Cheluvanarayana here is mentioned in the endowment inscription of Narasimha I.

The temple does not seem to have had a verandah before. The Jangha part is on top of the six-stage adhishthana. There are no Leela idols in it. Instead, there are pillar patterns and table patterns. The destroyed peak is being reconstructed. Prakara is a new addition. The base of the sanctum sanctorum is polygonal. The idol of Cheluva Narayana is beautiful. There are four striped doorways, gatekeepers, antarala and navaranga. The lotus design vitana in Navaranga is attractive. Lakshminarayana is depicted in a tall inscription outside the temple. There are miniature sculptures of cows and srichakras adjacent to it. There are devakoshthas in the Navaranga. But now there is no sculpture left in them.

The 12th century Cheluvanarayana temple was built before it was renovated. The temple administration has taken pictures and preserved them before being rebuilt. This has piqued the curiosity of many as to how the temple will be rebuilt. In one picture, only a mud wall is visible. It was the scene after the wall of the outer enclosure was removed. After this layer of soil, there is another layer of rock on the inside. It is the inside of the temple. The layer of soil seen between the two helps to hold the leaking water and maintain the temperature inside the temple. The reconstruction of temples involves a lot of effort and planning. Their revival is done beautifully by temple architects and skilled workers.

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 Cheluvanarayana swami temple in pandavpura

Nishkameshwara Temple

The Nishkameshwara temple at Hoskote was built during the reign of Narasimha III of the Hoysalas. It was built by bhujangaraya and achyutaraya brothers of Honnemadu. When there was a difference of opinion between them, Achyuta Raya went elsewhere. After staying there for a while, he built a new fort and moved there. It became a hoskote. The place behind became Halebidu. It was historically known as Yadavapura.

It is also mentioned in the Hoysala inscriptions that it was also called Kannapalli. There are five inscriptions in Tamil, one each in Kannada and Sanskrit. Since there is a mention of Nikkeshwara in it, it is later called Nishkameshwara. Since Nikkeswara was in a higher position than Bhujangaraya, it is believed that the temple may have been named after him. The local people tried to sell the property of the temple thrice. It was bought by the sons of the sthanapatis of Talakad. There is a temple of Bhairava in the north-east. The peak of the mortar was removed and a new peak was established.

Though there are not many sculptures in the temple, it looks attractive with its unique architecture. The open porchs of eight corners are large. The rest of the temples have all the traditional parts like garbhagriha, navaranga, etc. There is a Shivalinga in the sanctum sanctorum. There is Nandi in Navaranga. There is a big pushkarini in front of the temple. It has been beautifully reconstructed by Manjunatha Trust of Dharmasthala. This has resulted in the life span of this temple extending over centuries.

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Nishkameshwara temple in pandavpura

Kumbeswara Temple

Halebidu is located near Pandavapura taluk headquarters in Mandya district. Its name is also mentioned as Halebidu in ancient inscriptions. The Kambeswara temple here does not appear to be of the Hoysalas. The vijayanagara-built pillars and mandapas all around create this feeling. There are three inscriptions of the Hoysalas and two of the Vijayanagara period. These inscriptions contain rare information which is not found in any other temple.

The details of the priesthood’s partnership are carved on the edge of the temple’s jagati. The inscription of Veeraballala’s time mentions that Keragodu Nada Malayanahalli was donated to Lord Kambheswara, the Mutt, the priests and the staff. Another inscription details the distribution of the priestly profession among the five priests. About C.E. The temple was in a dilapidated condition by 1338 and its restoration is mentioned by Manjappaiah and others. This inscriptional temple is facing east and needs to be rebuilt.

There is Ganapati and Bhairava in Navaranga, Ganapati in the inner most part and a beautiful Shivalinga in the sanctum sanctorum. There is a mention of Bhairava here in the inscription. It has been five centuries since the reconstruction of the Vijayanagara period and there is a need to restore it again and again. At least the vegetation that surrounds the temple needs to be cleared and kept neat.

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Kumbeswara temple in padavpura

Also Read;

A Closer Look At Hoysala Art Temples In Krishnaraja Pete, Karnataka (thearchspace.com)

Uncovering The Beauty Of Hoysala Art Temples In Belur (thearchspace.com)

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