Amrutesvara Temple, Amruthapura
|Amrutesvara Temple, Amruthapura|
Ekakuta (singly shrined), Amruteshvara temple, 1196, Chikkamagaluru district
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
The Amruteshvara temple (Kannada: ಅಮೃತೇಶ್ವರ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ) also spelt "Amrutesvara" or "Amruteshwara", is located in the town of Amruthapura, 67 km north of Chikmagalur town in the Chikkamagaluru district of the Karnataka state, India. Located 110 km from Hassan and 35 km from Shimoga on NH 206, Amruthapura is known for the splendid Amruteshvara temple (also often spelt Amruthesvara or Amrtesvara). The temple was built in 1196 C.E. by Amrutheshwara Dandanayaka (lit, "commander") under Hoysala King Veera Ballala II. It is located in an idyllic spot, in the close vicinity of the Bhadra River reservoir. During their rise to power in the 11th-12th centuries, the Hoysala kings created many important towns and cities (nagara) along the malnad (hill) regions of present day Karnataka where they built many ornate temples.
The temple is a fine example of 12th century Hoysala architecture with a wide open mantapa (hall). Surrounded by Palm and Coconut farms, the temple still has a well preserved original outer wall with interesting, equally spaced circular carvings. The temple has one vimana (shrine and tower) and therefore is a ekakuta design, and has a closed mantapa (hall) that connects the sanctum to the large open mantapa.
It is medium sized Hoysala temple and compares closely with the Veera Narayana Temple, Belavadi in mandapa structure and size. The open mandapa has twenty nine bays, and the closed mantapa has nine bays with a side porch that leads to a separate shrine on the south side. The shrine is square in shape has the original superstructure (sikhara) which is richly adorned with sculptures of Kirthimukhas (demon faces), miniature decorative towers (aedicule). Below the superstructure, the usual panel of Hindu deities is absent. The base of the wall has five mouldings which according to art critic Foekema is an "older Hoysala style". The Sukanasi, the tower on top of the vestibule that connects the sanctum to the closed mantapa (the Sukanasi appears like the nose of the superstructure), has the original Hoysala emblem of "Sala" fighting the lion.
The rows of shining lathe turned pillars that support the ceiling of the mantapa is a Hoysala-Chalukya decorative idiom. The mantapa has many deeply domed inner ceiling structures adorned with floral designs. The outer parapet wall of the open mantapa has a total of hundred and forty panel sculptures with depictions from the Hindu epics. Unlike many Hoysala temples where the panels are small and carvings in miniature, these panels are comparatively larger. The Ramayana is sculpted on the south side wall on seventy panels, with the story proceeding quite unusually, in anti-clockwise direction. On the north side wall, all depictions are clockwise, a norm in Hoysala architectural articulation. Twenty five panels depict the life of the Hindu god Krishna and the remaining forty five panels depict scenes from the epic Mahabharata.
Ruvari Mallitamma, the famous sculptor and architect is known to have started his career here working on the domed ceilings in the main mantapa. The large stone inscription near the porch is an excellent example of medieval Kannada poetry composed by the famous poet Janna.
Mantapa wall with miniature decorative towers (aedicule) in relief at Amrutesvara temple, Amruthapura
- Foekema (1996), p37
- Quote:"Depending on the number of towers, temples are classified as ekakuta (one), dvikuta (two), trikuta (three), chatushkuta (four) and panchakuta (five). The last two types are rare. Sometimes a trikuta temple is literally not trikuta as only the central of three shrines may have a superstructure", Foekema (1996), p25
- Quote:"A bay is a square or rectangular compartment in the hall, Foekema (1996) p36, p93
- Quote:"In a typical "older style" that was popular throughout most of the 12th century Hoysala temples, there is one set of eaves where the tower meets the wall of the shrine. The eaves runs all around the temple. Eaves is a projecting roof overhanging the temple wall. Below the eaves are decorated miniature towers on pilasters. Below these towers are the wall panels of Hindu Gods, Goddesses and their attendants. Below these panels are the five mouldings", Foekema (1996), p28
- Foekema(1996), p22
- Foekema (1996), p22
- According to Kamath, Sala fights a tiger. According to historians such as C. Hayavadhana Rao, J. D. M. Derrett and B. R Joshi, "Sala" was the mythical founder of the empire, Kamath (2001), p123
- Quote:"a common feature of Western Chalukya-Hoysala temples", Kamath (2001), p117
- Architectural marvel by P.B.Premkumar, Spectrum, Tuesday, January 20, 2004 
- Gerard Foekema, A Complete Guide to Hoysala Temples, Abhinav, 1996 ISBN 978-81-7017-345-8
- Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprinted 2002) LCCN:8095179, OCLC:7796041.
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