Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Viranarayana Temple, Belavadi
Chikkamagalur is geographical confluence of Western-Ghats, Semi-Ggats and Deccan plateau which resplendent with its wide stretches of woods, coffee plantations, paddy fields and a scenic skyline is ostensibly the major highlights here and also noted for its enchanting natural scenery of Malnad. On the way to Halebidu if one deviate to the right about 200 meters from the highway is Belavadi. Belavadi is a small village also known as Ekacharanagar in Chikkamagalur Taluk it has a dilapidated Viranarayana temple a neat and huge structure in Hoysala style.
Viranarayana temple here stands majestically bearing testimony to the skills of architects of Hoysala era. This temple tells us affluent treasure of Hoysala architecture and a tale of the super craftsmanship and the high values of life embedded in stone by the people of that bye gone era.
Though the exact date of the construction of this temple is not known precisely, a Hoysala epigraph dated 1206 A.D., refers to some gifts made to this temple. From this it becomes clear that this temple was built prior to 1206 A.D. While the famous temples at Belur & Halebidu are known for their intricate sculptures but this temple is known for its unique architecture.
This is a Trikuta (3 tower) temple built of soapstone. But it appears that the western part was built first and the eastern part was added slightly later. The western part has a Garbhagriha, Sukhanasi, Navaranga and Mukhamandapa. There is a big Sabhamandapa, Sukhanasi and Garbhagrihas on the eastern side. And at north and south are Sukhanasi and Garbhagriha,
These two Garbhagrihas have Gopalakrishna and Yoga Narasimha sculptures, both of seven feet in height. The other Garbhagriha has a fine image of Viranarayana. This is six and a half feet in height and very imposing. He holds Sanka, Chakra, Gada and Padma in his four hands.
The horizontal friezes of the Bhiti or the wall are of the usual type consisting of mouldings. Above these are found sculptures of gods and goddesses below an eave. This is confined to the Garbhagriha and Sukhanasi portion only as the Navaranga in front is open type with Kakshasana. Above this rises the Sikhara in three tiers with Kalasha at the top. This portion including the Sikhara is typing the Sikhara is typically Hoysala in style.
The western portion has sculpture of Yoga Naarsimha, Halayudha, Garuda, Pradyumna, Sri Rama, Krishna and goddess. The northern wall has Keshva, Lakshmi, Pradyumna, Narasimha and Mohini. The other wall has Vishnu, Parasurama, Kalki, Garuda, Varahi, Kalingamardana and musicians and dancers.
The Sabhamandapa is very large and has 46 round pillars of the Lathe turned variety. The ceiling panels inside the temple are a treat to watch especially Kalingamardana Krishna and Venugopala. The interiors have many varieties of ceilings with flat and deep lotus but type.
The sculpture of Venugopala in the southern Garbhagriha is very impressive. He is standing in Tribhanga playing on a flute. This sculpture of Krishna is more beautiful than the ones found in other temples. Similarly the sitting Yoga Narasimha sculpture in the northern Garbhagriha holding Sankha and Chakra and in Yogapatta is beautiful. Thus on the whole this is one of the very large Trikuta types of temples built by the Hoysalas.