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A Closer Look at Hoysala Art Temples in Krishnaraja Pete, Karnataka

Hoysala architecture is a distinctive style of temple architecture that flourished in the region of Karnataka, India. During the 11thand 14th centuries, the rulers of Hoysala dynasty gave importance to art and architecture, especially for the temples. These temples are adorned with intricate and ornate designs, and exquisite carvings depicting various deities that narrate Hindu mythological tales preserving the heritage.

4 Significant Temples Of Hoysala Art In Krishnaraja Pete

Panchalingeshwara Temple

Panchalingeshwara Temple of Govindana halli, happens to be of rare kind, where a Hoysala Temple hasn’t followed the tradition of building it in a raised platform. It measures approximately 150 feet in length and 50 feet in width. Its huge structure reminds of its ancient glory. This place must be a well developed during Hoysala reign, since, we can notice another two dilapidated temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva.

This temple is 53 kms away from Mandya District headquarters and 20 kms from Krishnarajapet. There were only four temples, in the original construction and fifth one was added at a later stage. This is evident by the stature and shape of construction. This resembles Malleswara Temple at Aghalaya, a nearby village. East facing porch has two entrances from north and south. On the adjacent walls, perforations are made throughout to maintain equilibrium. Each of five temples have their own separate shuknasi, on which emblem of Shiva Parvathi is beautifully depicted. Some improvement in their aesthetic beauty can be seen in sculptures on outer wall. Most of them are being bass relief type, all of them are attached to the main stone. 24 forms of Vishnu are seen with handfolded Garuda on either side.

Respective names of Vishnu are also seen here. Some of the statues are looking incompleted. Five forms of Shiva, namely, Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurush and Ishana are consecrated in the sanctum. Except two, all other Shiva linga has a decorated Nandi in front of them. Inside the temple, in the Devakoshtas, statues of Saraswathi, Uma-Maheswra, Ganesha, Shanmukha and a panel of Saptamatruka are placed.

An inscription, not related to this temple is placed on a side, with an intension of protection. One can notice the signature of well know sculptor Mallitamma, at the bottom of two Dwarapala statues.

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panchalingeshwara temple in krishnaraja pete

Malleshwara Temple

Located in Krishnarajpet taluk of Mandya district, the name of this place is very rare and meaningful. It is 25 km from Mandya. It is located at a distance of 117 km from Bangalore. There are jain and hoysala constructions in the distant aghalaya. Agha means sin, laya means destruction. Narasimha III of the Hoysalas at this place named Papanasaka a.d. Built in 1260, malleswara temple is a trikutachala structure. Since the sanctum sanctorum of these three temples is constructed side by side, it appears to be a single temple from the outside. There are Shivalingas named Chandramouleshwara, Malleswara and Siddalingeshwara in these sanctum sanctorums.

The sculptures carved at the base of the pillars are either incomplete or do not seem to have paid much attention to it at one point, which gives credence to the fact that the temple was an early stage. According to inscriptions of the 8th century and inscriptions of 1120 a.d., found at Shravanabelagola, the name of the village is known as Aale. It was one of the strongest settlements of Jains at that time. There are five sculptures of Dasavatara. The outer wall of the temple has miniature sculptures with several postures of Lord Vishnu. But the special feature here is that the three lingas of Lord Shiva are worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum.

It is also a symbol of tolerance that does not differ between the Shaiva-Vaishnava sects. There is also a sculpture of Garuda. Jalandras have also been created on either side of the sanctum sanctorum. There are sculptures of Uma Maheshwara, two Ganesha and two Mahishasura Mardhini. There is a beautifully carved Nandi. It is quite large in extent compared to other temples of the Hoysalas. It is a trikuta like the panchakuta construction of Govindanahalli. The 30 pillars in the Navaranga are still large in size without much carving, as it is known that they were built by the Hoysalas at an early stage.

Recently, as a result of the interest of the people of the village, the dilapidated portion has been reconstructed in a joint collaboration between Dharmamthana Trust of Dharmasthala and the Government of Karnataka.

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malleshwara temple in krishnaraja pete

Hunaseshwara Temple

Shri K.V. Those who have read Iyer’s historical novel Shantala will be reminded of the mention of Garuda there. Such a practice is not found anywhere in the whole of India. Garuda is an example of the culmination of loyalty unique to Karnataka. Because they are the ones who really understand the meaning of honour and humiliation.

They dedicated themselves to the complete protection of the kings they served. Also known as Lenkaras, they once failed to protect the honour of the king, including their own family, used to commit suicide during the Hoysala period. As a memorial to such people, this sculpture is unique in Agrahara Bachahalli village of Krishnarajpet taluk of Mandya district. It is also a tribute to the Garudas by the kings.

Situated in the middle of a small village, this temple is known as Huniseshwara Temple. A priest found a Shivalinga under a hunise tree and built a temple for it. There is no mention of this temple in any inscriptions.

In front of it are three sculptures of 15 feet height. These were composed in the 11th century, during the reigns of the Hoysala king Ballalaraya I and Narasimha III. Kings and queens are travelling on elephants. Garuda sat opposite them. The king admires his loyalty and valour. Thus his hand is held respectfully by the king. Behind the king is the Queen and her entourage.

The details of such visual poetry are found in the stone inscriptions below it. The wonderfully decorated elephants, their gait stiffness is impressive.

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hunaseshwara temple in krishnaraja pete

Lakshmi Narayana Temple

Located in Krishnarajpet taluk of Mandya district, the main attraction of the new hole is the Sri Lakshminarayana Temple. The detailed inscriptions donated to many of our ancient temples help a great deal in the construction of their history. Many Jain inscriptions are found in the new hola, which is the seat of Jain abodes. But the basadi which are in good condition are not visible. The Sri Lakshminarayana Temple here, the largest hoysala temple which is in good condition and architecturally significant, is not supported by inscriptions. Its dating is based on the similarity of the sculptures and the morphology of the javastones near Nuggehalli near Channarayapatna in Hassan district and Halebidu, two other villages with Hoysala constructions.

In the above two temples, the creative skills of the famous sculptor Mallithamma stand out. This point is also evident in the temple of the new glow. It is believed to have been built in 1240. The Lakshminarayana temple is basically a Trikutachala structure. Facing east, the temple has a four-foot-high star-shaped verandah. The main features of all the temples are the sanctum sanctorum, navaranga, mukhamantapa. While the temples of the north and south are square in shape, the main temple with the navaranga entrance to the east is spacious. The central sanctum sanctorum has a star-shaped structure with a star-shaped headline, with only a Dravidian-style peak with sukanasi. There are idols of Ganapati and Durga in the devakoshthas in Navaranga. The beautiful idol of Kalinga Mardana Krishna found in Bhuvaneswari is beautifully carved at the bottom of the central structure of Bhuvaneswari.

The design of the porch, which does not belong to the original structure, looks different at first glance. The scale and volume of the magnificent sculpture on the outer wall is astonishing. These sculptures, which have stories from Mahabharata, Ramayana and Bhagavata, seem to have given a new dimension to narrative-art. There are miniature sculptures of Madanikas in the pillars. A sculpture made in the size of a thumb is not easily visible. But the creative skill is staggering. There is a beautiful scene of Anjaneya drinking coconut water and quenching his thirst. The outer wall can be identified in three stages.

There are lists at the bottom level. It has rows of traditionally seen yali, elephant, horse, foot and makara. In the middle strip there are beautiful sculptures of large size. Art is shown in clear and detail in this line of different deities, different postures. The patterns of the devakoshtas in the upper third stage, the patterns of the peaks, some of which include the sculptures of the deities.

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