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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Hoysala Expedition Part 38: Channakeshava Temple, Hullekere

Near Gandasi Hand Post and belonging to Arasikere Taluk of Karnataka, and 3 kilometers from the Arasikere - Tiptur road is the village of Hullekere. This silent town has a beautiful Channakeshava Temple built during the Hoysala Empire. The period of the temple (1163 AD) indicates that this was built during the reign of king Narasimha I, but like many other temples of their time, this one too received a lot of contributions by his son, king Veera Ballala II.

This temple is a simple ekakuta complex surrounded with a large pillared circum-ambulating platform further away from the temple structure itself, much like what can be seen at Belur and Somanathapura. In fact, it holds much closer similarity with the Channakeshava Temple at Anekere. This temple looks like an exact replica of the Anekere temple, but with an enormous amount of carvings on the outer walls compared to the one at Anekere. Although simple and well structured, the Anekere temple surprises you with its lack of intricate carvings on the outer walls that is so typical of any Hoysala architecture, but the Hullekere temple makes up for it, and appears to indicate how a fully completed Anekere temple might look.

The carvings are intense and stunning, and being in a mostly unexplored country side, the temple has retained its completeness but for a small blemish in the statue of Sala slaying the lion. Sala's right arm is broken, but your attention would soon be drawn towards a spectacular carving of Goddess Chamundeshwari inside the curled tail of the lion being slayed. This is special, and cannot be missed.

The inner sanctum, of course, hosts a beautiful Channakeshava statue. Here's a video from the quiet village of Hullekere:

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