Saturday, March 13, 2010
Grandeur Etched In stone(6)
Doddagaddavalli- LAKSHMI TempleDoddagaddavalli, is a village popular for the 12th century Lakshmi Devi temple. Doddagaddavalli is set in a scenic rural environment. According to the legends the temple was built in 1114 A.D. by a merchant called Kallahana Rahuta, a merchant or high officer in the Hoysala court. To be precise this temple was constructed under the patronage of Rahuta's wife Sahaja Devi.
According to Vastu - India being the guardian deity of the north - this image is carved in the ceiling of the northern portion of the central hall common to the three shrines. Indra is portrayed as riding his vehicle, the four tusked white elephant called Airavat. Also seen on the elephant is Indra’s consort Indrani.Being at the top and inside the temple (away from vandalism and weathering by natural elements), this gives a good idea of the original finish and intricacy of the Hoysala sculptures.
Image of Nagakanya, is a snake lady, at the door side of Kali sanctum.
This is one of the earliest Hoysala style temples built with its peculiar architecture. Though it is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka, the Lakshmidevi temple is in an amazingly well preserved condition.Many of the Hoysala temple built much later than this temple are in a dilapidated condition or even vanished over time. The temple of Doddagaddavalli is amazingly intact.
The main shrines are located within a high walled compound. At the four corners of the walls are four smaller shrines.The main temple is located at the center of the compound. In fact this temple has four shrines facing each other and sharing the common hall within the temple. In other words there is one shrine each facing the cardinal directions, a very peculiar composition of a Hindu temple.
Two Betal human sized images (living skeletons) stand as the guardians on either side of the Kali shrine. Note the protruding tongue, the chopped head in the left hand and the machete in the right hand.
The temple doesn't stand on an elevated fluted platform that duels as the Pradakshina path too. The main temple with its four towers, the tower Bhairava temple and the four towers of the corner shrines make it a total of nine towers. And all the nine towers are intact complete with their Kalasa at the pinnacle and the Hoysala crest. This is something rare to see in any surviving Hoysala temple.
All the four towers of the main temple is of the stepped pyramid style, with the pointed Kalasa and the Hoysala emblem (of Sala fighting the lion) at the top. But one of these four towers is with elaborate carvings. This is the tower over the main shrine that is the Lakshmi Devi shrine. The temple has two entrances along the same axis, one facing west while the other facing east. The main one is the east facing with two beautifully carved Dwarapalakas on either side.
Further down are the images of elephants on either side of the doorways. A row of lathe turned pillars, typical of Hoysala architecture, supports the ceiling. The outside wall of the temple is devoid of the rows of sculptures common to the Hoysala temples. The only exceptions are probably the Dwarapalakas (doorkeeper deities) on either side of the door to the temple. Instead the whole outer wall is richly decorated with pilasters in the form of miniature pyramid.