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Friday, 28 October 2016

Hoysala Expedition Part 47: Kedareshwara Temple, Balligave

Well, a Hoysala Temple Write-Up after a long time, and not entirely "Hoysala" for that matter too. This is a long pending blog post about the temple that stands as testimony to "the handing over of the baton", so to speak, from the Kalyani Chalukya Architecture to the Hoysala Architecture - The Kedareshwara Temple in Balligave, Shikaripura Taluk in Shivamogga.

The town of Balligave must be celebrated as one of the most important centers of art and architecture in the history of Karnataka. After all, this is the birth place of Shantala Devi, a great exponent of the traditional Indian dance forms, a devout Jain, and the Queen of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. This is where the best of the sculptors of the later Kalyani Chalukya era and the initial Hoysala era hailed from - Dasoja, Malloja, Maniyoja, Siddoja, Nadoja and more. This is where they got their hands on a huge mine of soapstone (Chlorite Schist) that took the beauty and the possibilities of intricacies in Indian sculptures a few notches higher than ever before.

The Kedareshwara Temple, dedicated to lord Shiva, dedicates the name of Dakshina Kedara (Kedareshwar of the South) to Balligave. The temple was initially constructed by the Western Chalukya regime, and then around 1060 AD, Hoysala King Vinayaditya is known to have given enormous amounts of donation and has added the typical Hoysala emblem of Sala slaying the lion on top of the Shikharas of two of the three sanctums. The temple is a Trikuta shrine, with Kedareshwara Linga in the main sanctum, a Brahma Linga in another, and a statue of Janardana form of Vishnu in the third. The temple sanctums also house statues of Suryanarayana and Bhairava.

All around the temple, the transition from Chalukya Architecture to Hoysala is very clearly noticeable. The temple is maintained in great shape, has one of the most beautiful Nandi statues you will come across all over Karnataka, and seems to have been the primary inspiration for many of the following Hoysala temples of the next 100 years, including the famous ones at Belur and Halebidu.

Here is a video:

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