Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Nuggehalli

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Lakshminarasimha temple, view from northwestern corner

The Lakshminarasimha temple was built in 1246 CE by Bommanna Dandanayaka, a commander in the Hoysala Empire during he rule of King Vira Someshwara. It is a good example of 13th century Hoysala architecture. The town was called Vijaya Somanathapura in ancient times and gained importance as an agrahara (place of learning) during the time of Bommanna Dandanayaka. The Sadasiva temple is another interesting temple in the town. It is a fine example of Hoysala nagara style of architecture with Bhumija type superstructure. It was also built by Bommanna Dandanayaka in 1249 CE. Nuggehalli, (also spelled "Nuggihalli"), is a town in Hassan district of Karnataka, India. It is located on the Tiptur-Channarayapatna state highway and is about 50 km from Hassan city. It is well connected by road with Bangalore, the state capital.[1][2]

Lakshmi Narasimha Temple[edit]

Lakshmi-Narasimha Temple, built in karnata dravida style in 1246 CE at Nuggehalli
Lakshminarasimha temple, view from the southwestern corner

This is a good example of a richly decorated Hoysala temple built in the trikuta (three towers) vimana (shrine) style with fine sculptures adorning the walls.[3] The material used is Chloritic Schist, more commonly known as Soapstone)[4] and the temple is built on a jagati (platform) that closely follows the plan of the temple.[5][6] The size of the original temple can be considered small, to which a larger open mantapa(hall) was later added. The three shrines are located around a central closed mantapa with 9 "bays" (compartment between four pillars).[7] The ceiling of the closed mantapa is supported by four lathe turned pillars which is deeply domed in the center.[8] The central shrine is the most prominent one and has a large tower. This shrine has a vestibule that connects the shrine to the mantapa (hall). Consequently, the vestibule also has a tower (or superstructure, sikhara) that looks like an shorter extension of the main tower. It is called the sukanasi. According to Foekema, it looks like the "nose" of the main tower.[9] The other two shrines have smaller towers and because they have no vestibule to connect them to the central mantapa, they have no sukanasi.[9]

Relief sculpture at Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Nuggehalli
Dancing Ganesha in relief at Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Nuggehalli

From outside, the temple actually looks like a ekakuta (single tower and shrine) temple because the two lateral shrines are simple extensions of the wall of the mantapa. Their towers are a later addition. This is a classic example of a trikuta (three shrines and towers) that looks like a ekakuta.[10][3] A large open hall with tall pillars was added during later times making the original porch and closed mantapa look like the inner portion of the temple. The central shrine has five projections per side and the tower is complete though without the kalasha (decorative structure on top).[11][3] Since the shrine is square in plan, the topping roof (a helmet like sculptured stone) follows the same plan. There are three tiers of decorative smaller roofs bearing their own kalasa that form the body of the main tower.[11] The superstructure on top of the vestibule (forming the nose) has only two tiers of decorative roofs. This is why the sukanasi looks like an extension of the main tower. The two lateral shrines also have five projections per side. The top of these shrines and the wall of the mantapa are crowned with a row of decorated roofs just like the main shrine.[11][3][12]

Minor shrine with moding frieze in bas-relief on the circumambulatory path around the temple at the Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Nuggehalli
Relief sculpture at Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Nuggehalli

According to art critic Gerard Foekema, the temple is of a "newer" Hoysala style,[13] and below the superstructure of the vimana where the roof meets the outer walls of the temple, two eaves all round the temple.[14] The upper eaves projects about half a meter from the wall. There is a second eaves running about a meter below the upper eaves with decorative miniature towers (aedicule) between them. The wall images of Hindu gods and goddesses and their attendants are below the lower eaves, and there are 120 such sculptured panels in all. Below these are six moldings of equal size with decorations in frieze. This according to historian Kamath is broadly called "horizontal treatment".[15][13] The six moldings at the base of the wall is divided into two sections. Starting from the base where the wall meets the jagati, the first horizontal lmolding contains procession of elephants, above which are a horsemen, and a band of foliage on the third. The second horizontal section starts with depictions from the Hindu epics and puranic scenes executed with detail. Above this are two friezes of yalis (or makara, an imaginary beast) and hamsas (swans). The vimana tower is divided into three horizontal sections and is even more ornate than the walls.[16][17][13][18]

The images in the panels are mostly Vaishnava in faith and they are attributed to two well known Hoysala sculptors, Baichoja and Mallitamma.[19] There are a few images of the god Shiva in the form of Bhairava along with his consort Bhairavi. Baichoja's sculptures are on the south side of the temple and according to Foekema, have a certain peace and dignity about them. Mallitamma's sculptures are on the north side. According to him, while they are not as fine, they are lively and have greater variety.[20] The three shrines contain the images of Venugopala, Keshava and Lakshminarasimha, all forms of Vishnu.[20][21]

Sadasiva temple[edit]

Full view of the Sadashiva temple at Nuggehalli (1249 CE)
Close up of Sadashiva temple with Hoysala nagara shrine and superstructure (Hoysala adaptation of nagara style of architecture) at Nuggehalli

This is an unusual Hoysala temple built in the ekakuta architecture with nagara (north Indian) styled tower. The walls of the shrine and the mantapa are severe looking as there is no sculptural decoration. Yet this temple is considered important from the architecture point of view.[1][20] The temple is built on a jagati (platform) and Soapstone (or green–chloritic schist) is the material used. The temple has a large "linga" (the universal symbol of the god Shiva) in its sanctum and an equally large and extremely well carved Nandi in a closed hall whose walls have perforated stone windows. Also unique about this temple is one of its kind life-size standing image of the goddess Parvati (consort of Shiva). The unique images of the navagraha (lit, "nine planets"), facing each other is another unique feature to be noted. There are two images of the god Ganesha (son of Shiva), one outside the sanctum and the other at the entrance to the sanctum housing the goddess Parvati. In the common hall are the intricately carved independent images (not in frieze) of deities from the Hindu pantheon that are noteworthy; Chamundeshwari (the devine mother), Subramanya (a son of Shiva), Ganesha, Kala Bhairava (a version of Shiva), a set of images depicting the different incarnations (avatars) of Parvati, and Surya Narayana (a version of the god Vishnu).[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Foekema (1996), p. 83
  2. ^ "A haven for architecture lovers". Spectrum, Deccan Herald, Tuesday, April 26, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d Quote:"Most Hoysala temples are either ekakuta (one tower), dvikuta (two towers) or trikuta, Foekema (1996), p. 25
  4. ^ Quote:"The Western Chalukya carvings were done on green schist (Soapstone). This technique was adopted by the Hoysalas too, Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, Takeo Kamiya
  5. ^ Quote:"This is a Hoysala innovation, Arthikaje, Mangalore. "History of Karnataka-Religion, Literature, Art and Architecture in Hoysala Empire". © 1998-00 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  6. ^ Quote:"The Jagati is in perfect unity with the rest of the temple", Foekema (1996), p. 25
  7. ^ Quote:"A bay is a square or rectangular compartment in the hall", Foekema, p. 52, p. 93
  8. ^ Quote:"This is a common feature of Western Chalukya-Hoysala temples", Kamath(2001), p. 117
  9. ^ a b Quote:"It is on the sukanasi that the Hoysala crest is placed". The crest consists of a sculpture of "Sala" the mythical founder of the empire, fighting the lion. Foekema (1996), p. 22
  10. ^ Quote:"Often in Hoysala temples, only the central of the three shrines has a tower. So the term trikuta may not literally by true", Foekema (1996), p. 24
  11. ^ a b c Quote:"water pot like decorative stone structure on top of the tower. This is often lost over the centuries and normally seen replaced by a metallic pinnacle", Foekema (1996), p. 27
  12. ^ "A haven for architecture lovers". Spectrum, Deccan Herald, Tuesday, April 26, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  13. ^ a b c Foekema (1996), p. 85
  14. ^ Quote:"An eaves is a projecting roof, overhanging the wall", Foekema (1996), p. 93
  15. ^ Kamath (2001), p. 134
  16. ^ Foekema (1996), p. 24
  17. ^ Quote:"Art critic Percy Brown calls this one of the distinguishing features of Hoysala art, Kamath (2001), p. 134
  18. ^ "A haven for architecture lovers". Spectrum, Deccan Herald, Tuesday, April 26, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  19. ^ Foekema (1996), p.85, M S Dwarakinath. "A haven for architecture lovers". Spectrum, Deccan Herald, Tuesday, April 26, 2005. Decan Herald. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  20. ^ a b c Foekema, (2001), p. 85
  21. ^ "A haven for architecture lovers". Spectrum, Deccan Herald, Tuesday, April 26, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  22. ^ "A haven for architecture lovers". Spectrum, Deccan Herald, Tuesday, April 26, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 

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