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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Kalyani Chalukya Splendour: Nagareshwara Temple, Bankapura

The Kalyani Chalukya temple architecture paved way for the even more intricate and beautiful Hoysala architecture. If you want to see how Kalyani Chalukyas have influenced the Hoysalas in this regard, one of the best examples out there is the Nagareshwara Temple at Bankapura, in Haveri district of northern Karnataka.

A couple of angles showing the symmetry of the Nagareshwara Temple

This temple is known to many as "aravattu kambada gudi" (temple of sixty pillars) as it has 60+ huge lathe turned pillars across its main hallway. Exotic carvings in the around the main doorway is one distinct specialty of the Kalyani Chalukyas which the Hoysalas probably did not improve upon. This temple gives you (along with the ones at Lakkundi and Dambala) one of the best visual treats around the main entrance you can witness across temples of Karnataka.

Main entrance of the Nagareshwara Temple


Couple of views of the exquisitely lathe-turned pillars that gives the temple its name

The temple, known to be constructed in the early parts of the 12th century by the Kalyani Chalukyas, received support from the Hoysalas as well. Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana conquered Bankapura fort, followed by the Hanagal fort to establish the Hoysala supremacy in the region that was continued by his grandson Veera Ballala II. The temple came under heavy attacks during the reign of the Bahamanis and Adil Shah, but its beauty remains in tact and is now maintained well by the ASI.

An intricately carved domical ceiling

A full view from the higher ground behind the temple

A recent addition - a stone bench carved as a bear!

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