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Unbelievable Finesse: Exploring The 4 Hoysala Art Temples Of Channarayapattana, 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 mythological tales preserving the heritage.

4 Significant Temples And Basadi Of Hoysala Art In Channarayapattana

Channakeshava Temple

Channarayapatna, now an important place in Hassan district, is the taluk headquarters. It is surrounded by many historical places like Nuggehalli, Shravanabelagola etc. The place was earlier known as Kolathur. The present name may have come from a Vijayanagara official named Channaraya. It was an important agrahara during the Hoysala period and was known as Amritanathapura. The Hoysala general Amritayya built the Amriteshwara and Channakeshava temples here. Though the Channakeshava temple is built of sandstone, it does not have any sculptural splendour like other Hoysala temples.

The temple was developed during the vijayanagara period. Like other temples, there is a stone peak, garbhagriha, navaranga and mukhamantapa. There are round pillars in the porch. There are designs in the vitana in Navaranga. An inverted conch is seen in Vitana. There is a padma-shaped panel on the roof of Sukanasi. The pillars of the Navaranga are bell-shaped.

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Channakeshava temple in channarayapattana

Shantinatha Basadi

Jinanathapura is situated at a distance behind Chandragiri. Among the Hoysala Basadi, the Shantinatha Basadi, which is popular in the village, was built in the 12th century. Although it was not built directly by the Hoysala kings, the inscription mentions that Gangaraja, the general of Vishnuvardhana, built a city with a connection to the theertha of Belagola and named it Jinanathapura. Rechana Dandanayaka was in the service of Veeraballala II. He had the title of Vasudhaika Bandhavya. He contributed greatly to the development of Jinanathapuram. There are 68 beautiful sculptures in the multi-angled basadi here.

These are said to have been built by calling the sculptors of the Belur temple. The basadi is built on jagati, which follows the outer shape of the taladesign and has garbhagriha, sukanasi and navaranga. There must have been an equally beautiful tower on top of the sanctum sanctorum of this beautiful basadi. But now there is no trace of it. Although the plane is square in shape, the outer wall is cut into several faces so that these faces are protruding or inward. There is a semi-mandapa between the half-arches on the protruding faces. There are 5-storey semi-towers on top of it. There are idols of Jina or Yaksha Yakshis in the mandapas. Among the inverted faces are the half-tower on the half-gamba, on it are the kirtimukha, on which are the coils of the creepers that have fallen from the two fangs of the kirtimukha. In front of the semi-gamba is a sculpture.

On either side of the semi-mandapa in the middle of the wall in each direction, beneath the latavitanas, you can see men and women, yaksha yakshis, yaksha yakshis, saraswati, brahma, mohini, manmatha, etc., in various postures. Some of the dance poses are captivating. Here you can see the image of a dancer in a half-bent tripose with a bandage on his leg, walking to the rhythm of his neighbours’ rhythms. The hairstyle found in the sculptures is worth studying. The specialty here is the vines that are drawn on the vithanas as if they were coiled between the half-domes and spread up in waves. These are rarely depicted in Hoysala sculpture, so delicately and delicately that they are.

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Shantinatha basadi in channarayapattana

The Bhandari Basadi

The Bhandari Basadi is the only basadi that is full-fledged and reflects the art style and beauty of the Hoysalas. It is not that all the basadi were built by kings. It was built by their officers and vassals. Now known as Bhandari Basadi, it was built in 1159 by a Hoysala treasurer named Hullaraja. Its original name was Chaturvinshati Tirthankara Basti. It is a rare place to see all the 24 Tirthankaras in a single basadi. Narasimha I respected its beauty by naming it Bhavyachudamani. He had donated the village of Savanur for its maintenance. It is located at a distance of 100 meters from Vindhyagiri in the heart of Shravanabelagola town.

The area of the basadi is 155 x 232 feet. The high artistic taste of the Hoysalas is reflected in the sculptures here. It is described as a beautiful ornament of Gommatapura. The attractive artistry found in its inner courtyard, dance hall and doorways makes the name worthwhile. This basadi has been revived thrice. The part of the main tower that now appears ahead was added only 350 years ago. The pillared enclosure in the mukha mandapa was built around the 16th century. The basadi is 12 feet wide in a rectangular shape. The place has 12 pillars and has a structure called Saraswati Mandapam in front of it so that the middle Navaranga is for dance service. The stone manual around the basadi shows the extent of the original structure built by Hullaraja in the 12th century. The top of the artistically carved gate is reminiscent of the entrance to Belur. If there is a picture of Vishnuvardhana’s darbaru, here Indra of the dwadasha shoulders is shown engaged in dancing. Though there are no attractive carvings in the outer wall and inner courtyard, the main attraction here is the 24 Tirthankaras in the sanctum sanctorum.

The inscription on a pillar at Navaranga, as has come to light recently, is interesting. This Navaranga Mandapam is named as Sarvavasti Mantapa. In 1527, he became the Mahapradhan of Nanjarajapatnam It is recorded that the idols of these Tirthankaras were built by Devappa, the son of Bukka Raya. The rathotsava held here on the full moon day of chaitra month attracts a lot of people.

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The bhandari basadi in channarayapattana

Channakeshava Temple

The Channakeshava temple was built in 1191 a.d. inside a large prakara. The structure of this temple is very simple. From the outside, it looks like a monolithic temple. Its outer courtyard has been repaired. There are no attractive sculptures on the outer wall or the peak. The simple linear design and the structure of the peak, which looks like flat flat-faced panels, are equally beautiful and remote. Even if there is no tall jagati, it is like climbing the stairs to reach the half-mandapa. The sculpture of elephants once existed on the platform in front of it and now seems to be missing. Or if you imagine it, the beauty of the temple will be further enhanced. The carvings and kakshasanas at the entrance are beautiful and neat.

The mandapa around the temple is vast and the temple is built in between, indicating the planning of the sculptors of the time. The kalash on top of this temple is considered to be larger in size than the kalash found in all the Hoysala temples in the state. The Channakeshava temple at Turuvekere is more or less similar to this temple except for the prakara, but it is in a dilapidated condition due to lack of proper maintenance. But there are at least some carvings on the outer wall. Though the temple at Anekere is small in size, it has a very neat structure and cute style. Bhuvaneswari in Navaranga has a huge conch shell of stone placed facing downwards. On top of it is shown a three-headed snake wrapped around it.

The temple is surrounded by Prakara wall on all the four sides with Avruta Mantapas, but partial remains are found on western side as of now. It has Dvaara mantapa on the east, for entrance. The parts of the temple are left uncarved. It has a large sized Kalasha on the top of Ghanta which is only the carved portion of the temple. 

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Channakeshava temple in channarayapattana

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