Friday, March 11, 2011

My next destination is again to a small remote village called Doddagadavalli which is 16 kilometres from Hassan. Here you will find the magnificent Lakshmi Temple DSC00686constructed during the reign of King Vishnuvardhana. And the location chosen for this temple is superb. It is amidst coconut plantations and near a lake shore. Doddagadavalli is again a very small village with not more than a 100 houses. The temple was locked when i reached over there. We had to wait for 10 minutes before the priest was called.

There is nice landscaping done by the Archaeological Survey of India inside this temples complex. As we enter the main gDSC00656ate and move in, we come to a small mantapa which leads to the inner complex. There are two rows of round pillars between which there is the walkway. Right in front of this mantapa, we find some broken statues and inscriptions. I walk through the mantapa and enter the main temple complex.

This temple is said to have commissioned by a merchant called Kullahuna Rahuta and his wife Sahaja Devi. It is one of the earliest ones built in the Hoysala style and it does not stand on a “jagati” unlike normal Hoysala temples. The temple is a DSC00662chatuskuta construction (four towers). Three of the vimanas (shrines) have a common square mantapa (hall) with 9 bays. Each vimana has a vestibule connecting it to the central mantapa. On top of the vestibule is its own tower called sukanasi. The sukanasi holds the Hoysala emblem of Sala fighting the tiger. Of the four towers, three are undecorated and they look stepped pyramidal with a pile of dented horizontal mouldings with the kalasa on top. The fourth tower is very well decorated which is typical of Hoysala designs and is the tower of the main shrine that houses the Lakshmi Devi image.DSC00677

The temple is dark inside except for light sources in the sanctum. The ceiling of the central hall are extraordinary carved. Thanks to the closed nature of the temple architecture, you need some torch to see the details. If you are lucky enough, the caretaker would have a battery operated torch with him.

You will find round pillars right along the pathway inside the temple. Some parts of the wall are beautifully carved the others are very raw. The main deity Lakshmi is in the middle shrine and Vishnu and Siva are to the right. While the shrines of Lakshmi , Vishnu and Siva shares a common Mantapa ( square hall) , the shrine of Kali is connected to the Mantapa via an oblong hall. The two entrances to the temple are located in this oblong hall.

The Kali shrine is to the left outside which i found something interesting and unique. There are two sculDSC00663ptures of large demonic living corpses called ’betala’. As seen in this image, you see the skeleton and a human head held in it right hand. These betala images are absolutely unique to the temple of Doddagadavalli. Though it is not unusual to spot such demon images in other Hoysala temple, here they are carved in a mysterious style that evokes a cult like outlook to the shrine. I

Another unusual feature of the temple is the existence of four more shrines at each corner of the temple complex with two sides of each shrine attached to the courtyard wall. Each of these minor shrines has its own tower, kalasa and Hoysala emblem. On the whole the temple complex has nine towers which is unusual for a Hoysala temple. There is also a Bhairava temple in this complex, but its barred from entering inside. In the court , between the main temple and the Bhairava temple is a stone plank with inscriptions and images carved on it. This temple compound contains about six such inscriptions explaining the construction and patronage. In all probability many people would have contributed its construction at various points in time and hence many such planks installed at various points. This temple is almost intact except for the worn out sculptures outside. Nothing has been done by the ASI to preserve this amazing legacy. This temple needs urgent attention.

I spent nearly half an hour in this temple, covering every aspect and every corner inside. I was very excited with the fact that i was knowing about a new dynasty. The Hoysala rulers are not well known as their contemporary kingdoms are. As i am come outside this temple, i looked forward to my next pit-stop, the beautiful Chennakesava Temple at Belur.


Anonymous said...


this is indeed a grt write-up. From your last line coating belur, i concluded this place must be somewhere in Karnataka..

Why don't you include, the exact location of the place and getting there from some major city near by.. that will be usefull for someone sometime..


Deguide said...

Photography of this temple complex was a real challenge, at a high point i shot one picture which was the best shot. Mr Hari Naryan, one request is to ensure your profile picture uploaded in Indiblogger, otherwise we might miss out, it can be loaded through gravatar.

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