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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Hoysala Expedition Part 29: Mallikarjuna Temple, Basaralu

This Mallikarjuna Temple in the town of Basaralu in Madya district of Karnataka has made it into the short list of 15 must visit Hoysala temples in the seminal book "A Complete Guide to Hoysala Temples" by Gerard Foekema, and just one glimpse at the temple would tell you why. As Foekema touches on the "completeness" of the temples, and states that there are these other temples from the Hoysala period which are far more "complete" in terms of plan, execution, symmetry and carvings than the more celebrated temples at Belur and Halebidu, the Mallikarjuna Temple at Basaralu holds a mirror to his observations.

Situated on the road from Nagamangala to Mandya, this little known town's only shot at fame is this temple constructed in 1234 AD, under the reign of Veera Narasimha the II, by the king's commander in memory of his father Malleyanayaka. The Mallikarjuna Shiva Linga inside the main sanctum is said to have been brought in from Srisailam and established in this temple around that time.

A notable brilliance in the temple construction is the small opening opposite to the main sanctum, through which sunlight enters the temple, and passes through a hole in the ear of the Nandi and touches the Shiva Linga on a specific day in the Hindu calendar year. Again, indicative of the perfection displayed by the sculptors of the period. Also, the Hoysala emblem of Sala slaying the lion on the top of the shrine is as good as you would see anywhere among all the temples of that period.


Here, again, is a video collage of the temple's beauty:



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