On the way we stopped at Nuggehalli, a small non-descript town off Hirisave. Manoeuvring our way through small lanes and pouring rain, we finally reached the Lakshmi Narayana Temple. Unfortunately there was a death in the agraharam and the priest informed us that he won’t be able to open the sanctum till the last rites are over. But he permitted us to look around the temple. It’s outer walls are richly decorated with fine sculptures. They are mostly Vaishnavite images though there are a few images of Shiva in the form of Bhairava. The sculptures on the southern side are lovely and have a certain grace and dignity about them. Glimpes at: http://flickr.com/gp/24876955@N02/ygL7QP/
After lunch at the well maintained Hoysala Village Resort, we venture onto Koravangala. It was an arduous journey as we had to tread on roads which were akin to lunar landscapes. With gentle guidance of the village folks we were able to locate the Bucesvara Temple. It is a small but elegant structure built in the typical Hoysala style with images of gods and goddesses. On top of the shikara of the temple is a lovely, well preserved Hoysala Crest of a warrior in fight with a lion.
Glimpses at: http://flickr.com/gp/24876955@N02/H00E53/
The next day was spent in the conference where I was bestowed with the Eminent Psychiatrist Award by the society. It was a deeply touching and poignant moment for me and Ahalya. Unfortunately it was raining the whole day and we couldn’t venture out at all.
The last day of our stay started with a visit to the Lakshmi Devi Temple at Doddagaddavalli. The approach was quite difficult as the narrow lanes were muddy and slushy. We were fortunate to catch up with the (rather grouchy) priest who had just finished the morning puja and was coming out of the temple. He instructed perfunctorily that we can look around the place. Unlike other places we visited the temple precincts were not so clean and it was an arduous task to negotiate the slippery floors and though I tiptoed carefully I almost did a Fosbury Flop! The sanctum was quite dark and dingy. Two tall fierce looking demonic figures of Betal flanked the main deity. I haven’t seen these corpse like figure in any other temple and wondered about the significance of their presence. In dimly lit ceiling we were able locate a fine circular panel depicting the dancing Shiva in the form of Tandaveswara. Glimpses at: http://flickr.com/gp/24876955@N02/5RBdZm/
After finishing Doddagaddavalli, we proceeded towards Belavadi. We had to go through Halebeedu and couldn’t resist a visit! It’s sheer beauty and immaculate artistry is absolutely bewitching! Though the large lovely figures catch one’s attention, this time around, I was drawn to plethora of small sculptures delicately etched in the lower walls of the temple. They portray various scenes from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha. It was quite intriguing to see sexually explicit depictions in between portrayals of these epics. Above the main entrances there are wonderfully carved sculptures which are preserved very well.
Glimpses at: http://flickr.com/gp/24876955@N02/79r27g/
We wound up our Hoysala Trail with visit to Belavadi. The road from Halebeedu to Belavadi was in much better shape and we travelled through verdant countryside with sprawling fields of sunflowers and chrysanthemums. It set the stage for what was perhaps the most wonderful moment in our visit. Belavadi is a fascinating . Two richly carved elephants guard the entrance and all the three sanctums have wonderfully carved figures of Veera Narayana, Venugopala and Yoga Narasimha. The idol of Venugopala was particularly enchanting. I have never seen main deities which are so full life grace and poise like the ones in Belavadi. Glimpses at: http://flickr.com/gp/24876955@N02/1U35i8/