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 Hassan.
Let us explore a few examples of Hoysala architecture in the region of Hassan.
4 Hoysala Art Temples In Hassan
The temple is in the natural Hoysala style and consists of mukhamantapa – navaranga – antarala – garbhagriha. On the roof of the Navaranga there are reliefs of ashtadikpalas. There is a rare idol of Dwaralakshmi at the entrance of the temple and at the top of the sanctum sanctorum. While two elephants are bowing down at the feet of the goddess, this sculpture of chamaradharinis serving the chamara is fascinating. The pose of the two lions at the top is special. According to the 50-line inscriptions in front of the temple, the details of the donations made to the temple by Mahapradhan Hegde Lakshmaiah, who freed the Hoysala empire from the clutches of the enemy and was responsible for the coronation of the Hoysala emperor Narasimha I (son of Vishnuvardhana).
The dhyana shloka of the inscription contains the lines that he bows down daily to Lord Keshava and Shiva, who are witnesses to all the deeds worshipped in all the three worlds and their fruits. The temple, which has all these historical backgrounds, had reached the stage of complete degeneration after being hit by time as if it were ‘kaalo jagadbhakshkah’ (time is eating up the world). The roots of the tree that had grown on top of the temple peeped into the sanctum sanctorum. If this situation had continued, the temple would have entered the kalagarbha. However, due to the efforts and efforts of the villagers of Honnavar village and the continuous efforts and correspondence of Hassan District Historical Monuments Conservation Forum, Hassan, the temple has been completely renovated by the Karnataka State Archaeology and Conservation Department, Mysuru at a cost of Rs.1 crore.
This sacred task seems to inspire the villagers and the youth of the village to take up the restoration of many Hoysala-era temples which are not confined to this one temple but have remained unknown in various taluks and villages of Hassan district.
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Yoga Narsimha Temple
The temple, which does not appear to belong to the Hoysalas from the outside, but after entering and visiting the Yoganarasimha idol in the sanctum sanctorum, it is proved to be that of the Hoysalas. The front porch and gates seem to have been constructed by the vijayanagara kings. This is because granite rocks are used instead of sandstone. Though some people like Sri Basavaraju were interested in reviving the temple, which was neglected by the villagers, it could not do so due to lack of economic background. In spite of all these negative aspects, the continuous efforts of the Hassan District Historical Monuments Conservation Forum have been going on for the last fifteen years.
The temple, which has been a dark cave for the last 35 years without even the protection of a door, is now equipped with doors, locks and lamps. For the protection of the temple, the forum has written to the government and received a grant of Rs 4.5 lakh and placed it in the custody of the local tehsildar. When contacted, the Dharmamthana Trust of Sri Dharmasthala was contacted for the remaining expenses. Rs 30 lakh is required. Of this, Rs. Rs. 20 lakh will be borne by the State Archaeological Museum, Mysuru and Dharmamthana Trust. Now, the government has given Rs. Apart from Rs 4.5 lakh, the balance required is Rs. The aim of the conservation forum is to take up the restoration of the temple by collecting Rs 5.5 lakh from the public.
There is a tax exemption facility for the money given by the public and this money need not be given to the conservation forum. Instead, donors can make payments to Dharmamthana Trust in Dharmasthala. The encouragement and donations of all of them are gratefully accepted. Many great personalities have joined hands with the platform in this task.
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Kirtinarayan Mandir Heragu is located at a distance of 21 km from Hassan. It can be said that the Hoysala temples here have not attracted much attention from the outside world. Many of the monuments here are on the verge of extinction. There are monuments of Hoysala and Vijayanagara periods. Established in 1213 CE, there are big lakes, Kalyani, Kali Kamateshwara temple, Parshvanatha Basadi of Jains, etc. There was an earlier Lakshminarayana temple before the present Keerthinarayana temple. It no longer exists. Other monuments in Heragu are the gateway to the fort, Yadugiri Kalyani, Banni Mantapa, Sati Kallu and Kaleshwara Temple. The temple of Anjaneya is located near the fort which seems to have been the construction of Vijayanagara. There are idols of Brindavan and Basava.
As parts of the temple have collapsed recently, the doors of the fort have been opened and its restoration work is underway. Yadugiri Kalyani, built in the 12th century, is also slowly declining. Bannimantap, which is to the east of Keerthinarayana temple, is being encroached upon on Vijayadashami. Mastikallas remain traces of the sacrifices of the day. Many temples were built in this village during the reign of Veeraballala II. It flourished during the rule of Jaibhattayya Nayaka, the chieftain who lived here during that period. The Keerthinarayana temple was rebuilt in 2017 in collaboration with villagers and Dharmasthala Dharmamthana Trust as it was not in a dilapidated condition like the other two temples.
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Bucheshwara temple located at a distance of 12 km from Hassan town, Koravangala is still beautiful in nature. In the 12th century, it was a famous agrahara and its name was Koramangala. There were three Shiva temples here. Two of them have been destroyed and pujas are still going on in this one surviving temple. There are several inscriptions available for this purpose. During the reign of Hoysala king Narasimha I, three brothers named Govindeshwara, Nageswara and Bucheshwara held high positions of power. His mother’s name was Mookavve. The lake she built is known as the Mooka Sea. Only the temple built by Buchiraja on the banks of the lake is in good condition and the other two are on the verge of extinction.
Like many hoysala temples, it has a charm. But it is not visible as it is buried in the ground. The temple has all the features of the temples such as Garbhagriha, Sukanasi, Navaranga, Mukhamantapa, etc. A small temple for the Sun is also built nearby. It is a two-fold temple with both the temples facing each other. The temple is an example of the skill of showing Hari-Hara on the same stone, and the construction of separate temples for both of them to erase the Shaiva-Vaishnava distinction. The same mandapa belonging to both is spacious. There is a small shrine of Bhairava in the north-east. There is a black stone Shivalinga in the eastern sanctum sanctorum of the main temple. On the outer wall are large sized idols built below the patterns of mini-mantapas of all styles. The porch has a base of 32 pillars.
The 13 Bhuvaneswaris found on its roof are more beautiful than each other. There are entrances in the north and south. Beautiful pillars of various shapes and sizes are constructed with a rotating machine. The sculptures of two beautiful elephants at the south gate, the dwarapalakas and chamaradharinis are attractive. The sculpture of Krishna in Navaranga is beautiful. Gajalakshmi’s image is impressive. The idols of Ganapati, Saraswati and Saptamatrika and the idols of Dakshinamurthy on the right attract attention The vimana on the sanctum sanctorum is also made of palanquin. Various sculptures are arranged there in four stages. There is also a beautiful Hoysala emblem. It is attractive unlike other temples of their own.
The temple has a total of 811 sculptures, all of which are complex and beautiful structures. The sculptures of the outer wall are also large in size. The idols of Vishnu, Kaliamardana, Venugopala, Varaha, Natya Saraswati attract attention. Gajendra’s beautiful list of salvation is special. Similarly, the striped sculpture of different animals hunting each other is also unique.
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