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Friday, 11 July 2014

Hoysala Expedition Part 36: Channakeshava Temple, Arakere

Arakere is a small village close to Banavara near Arasikere in Hassan district, Karnataka. It houses a little known, slightly different looking temple of the Hoysala period, dedicated to the main Vishnu deity of those times, Channakeshava. This is a trikuta temple with the other two sanctums housing Venugopala and Lakshminarasimha as usual.

The outer walls of the temple do have carvings of various gods, but the lack of precision that we are used to among the temples constructed under the guidance of Mallitamma the sculptor becomes very evident right from the outset. As the exact time of the temple construction is not known, it can be guessed that it was built just before or just after Mallitamma's peak period as a sculptor. Nevertheless, the carvings have their own beauty, and the main deities are as beautiful as you would see anywhere else among the Hoysala temples. In fact, you must see the statue of Channakeshava here to believe how beautiful it can be. After all, Channakeshava literally means "Beautiful Vishnu".

Here is a video:

Monday, 7 July 2014

Some Nature Clicks from North and Central Karnataka

While travelling across many parts of Northern and Central Karnataka a fortnight ago, I came across some beautiful flora and fauna. Though my focus was capturing ancient temple architecture, nothing stopped me from clicking a few of these little birds and lush green corn fields. So, here are a few shots of the nature as we traveled through Gadag, Lakkundi, Badami, Hubli and more:

A Little bird at Badami

Lush green plantations at Hanagal

Corn fields and mango groves at Hanagal

Golden sunset on the outskirts of Hubli

Spotted a little spotted bird at Itagi

A stunningly beautiful bird having its afternoon lunch at Lakkundi

And another majestic bird watches on from the top of a temple, Lakkundi again

Trees and old temples, reminding of Jungle Books? At Mahakoota

A dog and a kitten forget enmity at Nadakalasi

Long green and lush trees at Nadakalasi

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Hoysala Expedition Part 35: Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Nuggehalli

If you have to pick one temple where the sculptor extraordinaire Mallitamma has left his impression in an unforgettable manner, it must be at the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Nuggehalli. Quite literally too, as he has signed off most of the images on the outer walls with his name under them. He is accompanied in building this temple by another noted sculptor of those times, Baichoja, in finishing this extravagantly beautiful trikuta temple, a few meters away from the Bhumija style temple of Sadashiva. The main deity of the temple is Lakshmi Narasimha, and it also houses Venugopala and Keshava in the other two sanctums.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this temple is the clear indication you get about the 24 aspects of Vishnu through the artistic brilliance of Mallitamma. The forms, beginning with Keshava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, etc. are all depicting the 24 different permutations in which Vishnu can hold the disc, the conch, the club and the lotus among his four hands. Mallitamma has carved the names of each form and his own signature below almost every statue. Here's a video showning those 24 forms of Vishnu (from 2:20 to 4:20) and the other stunning images of this beautiful temple constructed in 1246 AD under the reign of Hoysala king Vira Someshwara: