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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Hoysala Expedition Part 12: Varadaraja Temple, Kondajji

Kondajji, a little village situated about 17 kms from Hassan, is home to a 14th century temple of Varadaraja Swamy, also called Allalanatha. Legend has it that this extraordinarily beautiful 11 feet tall image of Varadaraja, a form of Vishnu's Janardana aspect, was on its way to Belur, for it to be enshrined at the Channakeshava temple complex. But for some reason, it could not make it all the way, and was apparently running the risk of being deserted. An old lady (Ajji, which means grand mother in Kannada) decided to buy the statue and establish it in a temple at that place, and hence, it is believed that the village got the name "Kondajji" (Konda + Ajji).

Although the story stated above is linked to the times of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana and Shantala, the fact that it is a statue of 14th century would mean that this might have occurred during the reign of Ballala the Third. The statue itself is mesmarizingly beautiful, and the temple, as expected, does not have any of the signature Hoysala architecture. The Varadaraja statue alone is the center of attraction here.

Varadaraja Temple, Kondajji from hmvprasanna on Vimeo.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Hoysala Expedition Part 11: Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Javagal

Although well known as the native place of former India cricketer Javagal Srinath, the village of Javagal in the Arasikere taluk of Hassan district, Karnataka has managed to remain out of limelight. Even the presence of a 1250 AD Hoysala architectural masterpiece in the form of a Lakshmi Narasimha Temple has not managed to draw the attention of tourists. This trikuta temple is home to Lakshmi Narasimha, Veera Narayana and Venugopala in its three sanctum sanctorums, and on the outer walls, carvings of the ten incarnations of Vishnu, Dancing Saraswati, Lakshmi, Indra, and others can be seen.

Mallitamma, the genius sculptor of this era, is believed to be the the chief architect of the temple. Here are some pictures of the temple:

Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Javagal from hmvprasanna on Vimeo.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Hoysala Expedition Part 10: Lakshmi Narayana Temple, Adagur

This grossly neglected trikuta temple built circa 1100 AD at Adagur village of Hassan district houses Lakshmi Narayana as the main deity, and also contains Venugopala and Saraswati in the other two sanctum sanctorums. The temple bears similarity to many early Hoysala period temples, like the one in Doddagaddavalli. There is also a statue of Ramanujacharya and an incomplete inscription in the temple premises.

Compilation of a few pics from the temple:

Lakshmi Narayana Temple, Adagur from hmvprasanna on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Hoysala Expedition Part 9: Channakeshava Temple, Belur

One of the crowning glories of the Hoysala architecture is undoubtedly the world renowned Channakeshava Temple complex at Belur, Karnataka. The vast complex housing multiple temples has been built over centuries, beginning from the time of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana's reign. The temple was inaugurated in 1117 AD, and king Vishnuvardhana appears to have taken special interest in getting it built.

The complex is home to the extremely artistic Channakeshava temple, where daily prayers are offered even today, and two shrines for Keshava's ladies, Soumyanayaki and Ranganayaki, an additional Veera Narayana temple, and the legendary Kappe Channigaraya temple, where the idol for worship carved by Jakkanachari was found to be from a faulty stone and was rendered useless. The main deity is also known as Vijaya Narayana, as Hoysalas tasted success in a major war around the same time the temple got inaugurated. Also present in the complex are a beautiful Kalyani, the famous gravity tower, and multiple enclosures housing idols of Ramanujacharya, Vedanta Deshika, Krishna in different forms and many more.

The point of focus of the temple though, are the collection of beautifully and intricately carved Madanikas or Salabhanjikas, mostly depicting various song and dance forms. Legend has it that these images are inspired by the beauty and talent of Vishnuvardhana's wife and Hoysala queen Shantala. Another enticing feature of this temple complex is that of intricately carved pillars inside the Channakeshava temple. The complex can also be seen as a museum of historical inscriptions, as the entire history of the temple's development and enhancements during the Hoysala period and the periods that followed are neatly documented on dedicated wall spaces across the complex.

Here is a compilation of some of the photos I took at Belur:

Channakeshava Temple, Belur from hmvprasanna on Vimeo.