Apr 1, 2023

Lakshminarasimha Devasthana, Vignasanthe

Vignasante along with three other Hoysala temple places had been on my list of places to see for about 3 years. The plan was to see the ancient temples of Turuvekere, Nagalapura, Araluguppe and Vignasante in one day. Subsequently Kadaba got added. The trip became a reality in the last week of Jan 2023.
Jan 26, 2023. The tour of temples started only around 1-30 at Kadaba which was pretty late. By 4-45 I had seen three temples- 1. Kailasanatha Devastana at Kadaba, 2. Kedareshwara Devastana and 3. Chennakeshava Devastana at Nagalapura. I decided to head to Tiptur to spend the night. While passing through Turuvekere I got to know about Mallaghatta Kere a huge lake in the vicinity. I happened to see a beautiful sunset over the calm waters of Mallaghatta Kere. I reached Tiptur by 7-30 or so, checked into Aadya Lodge. Then met with a long time friend for an hour or so. Since it was a hectic day, I decided to hit the sack early.
Jan 27, 2023. I left Tiptur around 6-00, it was still dark. On the way I stopped at Nonavinakere another big lake but smaller then Mallaghatta. By 6-45 I was at Vignasante, parked my car at the village square from which Sri Lakshminarasimha Devasthana is a stone's throw away, situated on the edge of the village, surrounded by coconut plantation on two sides. From a tea shop I got to know that the Archaka came only around 9-00, he happens to be from the neighboring village Nonavinakere. Well, I'll be seeing only the exteriors.
Though a ASI protected monument, the temple is not enclosed in a fence yet. There's a pair of gates, it wasn't locked. Between the gates and the temple was stony remains of platforms of a gateway. For some reason the gateway was left incomplete. 
So here stands Sri Lakshminarasimha Devasthana. As per a travel/history blog, this temple was completed in 1286 CE by three brothers Appayya, Gopala and Madhava serving as army officers under the Hoysala king Narasimha III. This north-facing temple is a Trikuta. It's three deities are Lakshmi Narasimha, Venugopala and Narasimha. The north-facing sanctum is graced by Narasimha.
This is one of the best preserved temples, not much of damages, natural or human inflicted. The temple design is like simple lower half and an ornate upper half. In fact this temple has a full fledged Shikhara too. The front has a Mukhamantapa as well and a pair of handsome elephants add on to the graceful looks of this temple. The Mukhamantapa has four turned pillars and a concave dome.

This pair of elephants reminds me of the elephants at Banavasi Madhukeshwara Devastana, more or less same size.
On the left hand side of the temple door is an inscription slab. Half the area of the slab is inscribed with Kannada text and the other half is blank.
This is the ceiling of the Mukhamantapa. Inside the dome is a three tier wheel. This is a very complex piece of work, precision and accuracy written allover it.
In this slightly zoomed in version, some more details can be seen. For example, the diamond shapes between the spokes of the wheel. Notice how proportionate the whole creation is... diameter of each circle, width of each tier, the diamonds... simply amazing. It looks like a highly sophisticated device... something that could communicate with human minds. 
This is a part of the turned column. Such fine details in a pillar of this size. Surely such complex shapes had a function, this is not just for aesthetics, I think.
The north-eastern view.
I've split the side view into two pictures. This is the front half. Most Hoysala temples, the popular ones, have their external walls covered with ornate sculptures. However, here we have a relatively simple exterior.  
The rear half. I feel the builders made sure the temple was completed, hence simpler exteriors.
The south-eastern view. The Shikhara is complete with a Kalasha. In this view the temple looks so compact but the interior would be spacious.
A closer look at the three tier Shikhara. Again, precision and accuracy all over the structure... the dimensions, proportions, alignment. Every aspect of the work is perfect. What kind of minds & bodies could produce such works. They can't be ordinary, they have to be extraordinary.
The south-western view. The external walls are not exactly bare. Our divine flower lotus have graced the walls. In Indian culture, Lotus has been sacred from the ancient times. Thankfully lotus is still held in reverence, it has a place even in the Indian Constitution. Here I would like to mention one thing- our nation's current ruling political party's symbol too is Lotus. Surely there were profound thoughts behind & under the party symbol. And, surely the party's mission is to uphold the values of our culture.
Wish I could've seen the inside of this temple but I had to move on. I had to visit two more places before 1-00 PM and then drive upto Dharwad. So off I head towards Turuvekere.

Mar 29, 2023

Sunset at Mallaghatta Kere

Jan 26, 2023. It was a hectic day starting with a drive from Bengaluru to Tumkur. Met a friend at Tumkur, then I drove to Kadaba village to see the historic Kailasnatha Devastana. From Kadaba I went to Nagalapura to see two Hoysala temples- 1. Kedareshwara and 2. Chennakeshava. By the time I was done with Nagalpura temples, it was 4-45. The day was almost over and I had three places remaining on my list- Araluguppe, Turuvekere and Vignasante. I decided to call it a day and thought of spending the night at Tiptur. On reaching Turuvekere, I called Satish, my friend from Tiptur, to know a decent hotel for an overnight stay. As we spoke, Satish suggested me to check out Mallaghatta lake, about 7 km from Turuvekere. Satish said it was a huge lake with beautiful sights. I was fine with the idea and headed towards Mallaghatta Kere. Once the lake came into view, the road runs along its bank for couple of kilometers. I kept driving until I reached its check dam where a few cars were parked. I guessed that was a view point. A stone's throw from the check dam is Gangadareshwara Gudi. I parked my car close to the temple and stepped out to relish this marvelous sight. As Satish said, the lake is huge, its waters stretch as far as the horizon.

This is Gangadareshwara Gudi. Its gates were locked but the diety could be seen from outside.

Another view of the temple.

This is the road bridge across the overflow stream. The lone date palm is an iconic landmark here. The stream makes its way through the mass of granite rocks towards the eucalyptus plantation and flows towards Turuvekere.
This is the picture of Mallaghatta Kere check dam. The lake was overflowing for several months and had stopped just a few days before my visit. Tumkur district has a huge number of waterbodies, each of them a part of a huge network which feed river Hemavati. Some of the major lakes of this region are Hindiskere, Nonavinakere, Mallaghatta Kere, Turuvekere, Nagalapura Kere, Myrasandra Kere, Sulekere, Kadaba Kere, Heraganahalli Kere and Dasanakere. As I know Nonavinakere overflow feeds Mallaghatta Kere which in turn feeds Turuvekere and so on. This network of capturing rainwater was created as early as IX Century and maintained by successive rulers. Thanks to the futuristic planning of our ancestors, today we are still reaping the benefits of their efforts.
While I checked the surroundings, Sun had moved closer to the horizon. The still waters of the lake was almost mirror like.
The colors changed as it got dimmer.
Another day comes to an end.
The time spent here was really worth. I washed my feet, hands and face in the lake waters, it was refreshing, and I was ready for the short drive to Tiptur.