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Uncover The Magic Of T Narsipura, Karnataka: Four Phenomenal Hoysala Temples!

Have you ever wondered what the Hoysala Architecture looks like? For many years, you may have been exploring famous Indian architectural styles such as Mughal, Dravidian ,Vijayanagara, etc. One of its unique kind of Indian-born style is the Hoysala architecture.

Let us delve into the examples of the impressive temples in the T Narsipura region.

4 Indian-Born Style Hoysala Art Temple In T Narsipura

Keshava Temple

The temple at Somanathapura was described by the rashtrakavi Kuvempu as a stone and a trap of art. Apart from this temple, there was another temple similar to the Panchalingeshwara Temple at Govindanahalli. It has now broken down and reached the brink of destruction. Another construction nearby, known as the Hole Narasimha Temple, is also on the verge of collapse. Only the Keshava Temple at Somanathapura is under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India and is preserved.

It was built in 1258 by a Hoysala general named Somanatha and hence the name of the place was also known as Somanathapura. If you know the total number of sculptures in this temple, request you to enter. In addition to the small shringara sculptures in Kakshasana, there are also beautiful sculptures of large size. The idols of Lord Vishnu and Natya Ganapati sitting in a unique posture are impressive. There should be enough leisure to see the pictures here and a mind to enjoy seeing the sculptures in detail. 

 The temple faces east and is surrounded by beautiful gaja sculptures that make it look as if the entire temple is being carried by elephants. The beauty of the temple at Somanathapura is dominated by three peaks. That is why it is called Trikutachala. The peaks, built on the star-shaped design of sixteen buffaloes, add to the beauty of the temple. Like all Hoysala temples, there are mukhamantapas, navarangas, garbhagriha and sukhanasis. The ashtadikpalas in the central Bhunaveshwari, the arch made of 32 beams on it, the kind of lotus bud hanging in the middle of it is fascinating.

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Keshava temple in T Narsipura

Panchlingeshwara Temple

It is difficult to build a temple these days. He built five or five Shiva temples in a single row and named them Panchalingeshwara. They did not seem difficult to maintain and survived for so long. There may now be two temples with this style of Hoysala structure in Karnataka, of which at least one in Mandya district is in good condition. Govinda’s village, which may have once been an important place, has two more broken temples of Shiva and Krishna. Built in the 13th century, the temple is located at a distance of 52 km from Mandya. It is located at a distance of 20 km from Krishnarajpet.

A detailed article has been published in this series about this temple in Govinda’s village and those interested can take note of it. Among the Hoysala temples, the Panchalingeshwara Temple at Govindanahalli was built without a tall verandah. Built 150 feet long and 50 feet wide, the temple is now a sight to behold of its former glory. When it was built, there were only four temples. That the fifth was added later is evident from its forms and features.

Another Panchalingeshwara temple with five similar temples is located at Somanathapura near Mysore. For those who have seen the temple at Govindanahalli, its plight is pathetic. Rajendrappa Shivappa of Mysuru has shared the latest pictures of its plight which can be another magnificent monument if maintained at least in its present condition. It is not known who should make up his mind to revive this beautiful Hoysala structure, which is going to collapse in a few years’ time, with bushes growing and stones walking. The Dravidian style vimana of these temples looks beautiful from the rear. 

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Panchlingeshwara temple in T Narsipura

Kirtinarayan Temple

Sri Kirtinarayan Mandir, which is said to be one of the panchanarayana kshetras, was not in the form it is now seen. Wars, political upheavals and natural shocks have also influenced the temples here. The temple, which was covered in sand, was excavated in 1911. It has now been rebuilt at a cost of Rs 4 crore without affecting the original structure. The rest of the Hoysala temples were built of sandstone while this Ekakuta temple was built in granite. Noted historian Adam Hardy has opined that the design of its foundation is largely similar to that of the Belur temple. Though the peak has long since been lost, the garbhagriha and sukanasi on the surviving Bhumija-style star-shaped jagati reflect the traditional style of the Hoysalas.

The magnificent idol of Sri Keerthinarayana in the sanctum sanctorum is impressive. The decorative designs found at the entrance and lalata images make the temple beautiful. Though it dates back to the Hoysala period, it is made of gravel and bricks. On top of the tall jagati, there is a sanctum sanctorum, Sukanasi and Navaranga. Navaranga is vast. It has gates on all three sides. There are half-arches on the outer walls, half-towers between them, and half-mandapas in the middle. The four thick pillars of sandstone between the varangas were carved in a hoysala-style manner. The remaining pillars are either star-shaped or octave-faced with eight or sixteen corners. The roofs are usually flat. Only a few columns have the shapes of Bhuvaneswari. These are decorated with beautifully carved vines, lotuses, elephants, lions, dancers, etc.

The original idol of Keerthinarayana is 10 feet tall. This is a quadrilateral idol standing in samabhanga. On its aura are the dasavataras of Lord Vishnu. This statue with a serious face is beautiful. The idols of Nammalwar, Vedanta Desikar and others in Navaranga and the idol of Lakshmi belong to the Vijayanagara period. The flat brick tower above the temple was probably built during the Vijayanagara period following the original Hoysala tower. The temple was cleared about sixty years ago by removing a pile of sand. Perumala Devarasa, who was an official during the reign of Devaraya II, is said to have funded the Keerthinarayana temple. In addition to some of the pictures taken in the 1990s, the present ones are also displayed. 

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Kirtinarayan temple in T Narsipura

Hole Narsimha Temple

The temple was built by Somayya, the commander of the Hoysala king Narasimha III. Other famous temples built by him are the Keshava Temple at Somanathapura and the Panchalingeshwara, Murahara, Purahara and Yoganarayana temples at Somanathapura itself. But the Murahara, Purahara and Yoganarayana temples have been completely destroyed. The Yoganarayana idol found nearby is preserved in the Keshava temple in Somanathapura. On the banks of the stream, it is half a kilometre south-west of the Keshava temple at Somanathapura.

This Narasimha temple at a distance is collapsing. Situated amidst the fields, this temple does not seem to have gone unnoticed by the tourists. Locally, it is known as The Mondusale Temple. The inner courtyards of the temple are filled with bats and it is impossible to step inside. The front of this ekakuta temple, which has a star-shaped foundation, a beautiful peak and attractive pillars, is in danger of collapsing. As can be seen in the pictures, it is as if the entrance is falling sooner or later.

There are navaranga mantapas and sanctum sanctorums. But there is no God in the temple. Vegetation is growing and reducing the life span of the temple. If the trees are removed urgently, the temple will be saved. Though an inscription from Harihara mentions the construction of this temple, there is no epigraphical evidence available in the vicinity of the temple as in the temples of Somanathapura.

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Hole narsimha temple in T Narsipura

Also Read;

Four Temples Of Hoysala Art You Must Visit In Krishnaraja Pete (thearchspace.com)

Exploring Karnataka’s History: The Hoysala Art Temples In Krishnaraja Pete, Karnataka (thearchspace.com)

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