A Hoysala temple of Kalikadevi, Lakshmi Devi & Kalabyreshwara temple of 12th century built by the famous King Vishuvardhana of Hoysala Dynasty in 1114 stands strong & beautiful even to this day!
May be this temple survived the invaders onslaught as it happened to be tucked off in a cluster of villages. This beautiful temple is situated on a lake which dies in summer & ebbs in the monsoons.
Doddagaddavalli village temple of the Hoysalas is one of the earliest known temple built in Hoysala style. This temple was built by one of the noble man of Hoysala court, a rich merchant from Kholapur, Kulkhana Rahuta in honour of his wife – Sahaja Devi. The entire temple is built on carved, sculpted, rather engraved blocks of ‘Chloritic Schist’ stone or simply known to us as ‘soap stone’… the softness of this stone gives craftsmen and sculptors engravers like quality. The carvings can be attributed to ivory like craftsmen cravings – on stone!
The temple has four shrines and towers and the typical raised platform of Hoysala temple architecture is missing. Temple has an interior height of seven feet and supported by 18 lathe turned pillars. There are engravings all over the temple… sidewalls interior – exterior, roofs, ceilings, temple towers etc. The roof of the tower has the requisite image of ‘ sala – slaying the tiger’. . . A Hoysala requisite architecture! The apex of the temple tower has a ‘kalasa’ – symbolizing wealth in a Lakshmi temple. The towers are in ‘Kadamba Nagara’ style of architecture.
This temple houses . . . Lakshmi, Kali, Vishnu, Shiva. Other sculpted sculptures are Gajalakshmi, Thandeshwara (Shiva) and Yoganarashima (Vishnu). The ornate cravings are bold and amazing. Even the decorative water spout of Lakshmi Devi’s abhisheka is very ornate and breathtaking! This is one of the best 92 Hoysala temples which exists in India today! Lord Indra riding the airavat is displayed here. It’s surprising to see mythological sculptures & images are absent. There are more of neural floral and other design elements complimenting the sculpted architectural through out the temple premises. The goddess Lakshmi here doesn’t hold a lotus flower in her hand, instead she holds a shanka (conch), chakra (wheel), gadha (mace), hasta (blessing palm) – which is unique to this temple.
Doddagaddavalli is a non- descriptive small village which is 18 kms from Hassan, off Hassan – Belur road, after driving 15 kms take a left turn passing 2-3 small villages . . . Narrow lanes lead you to this lake side elegant structure of 12th century Hoysala’s best kept temple intact!
On a ritualistic holy pilgrimage journey this is one of the 6 Lakshmi temples one should visit in the country for pacifying your soul. This is a one-horse town protected monument, nothing major attraction otherwise. It makes sense to include visiting this temple on your tourist agenda of Hassan Tourism – Belur, Halebedu, Shravanabelogla etc. Hassan tourism throws up amazing places for a long weekend tourism trip.
-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography