Monday, July 29, 2013

Mallikarjuna Temple, Basaralu

The quest for seeing more of Hoysala Architecture, we headed out in search of Basaralu Mallikarjuna Temple. Soon after eating our scrumptious North Karnataka meal for lunch at Kamat Restaurant, we were driving in the scenic roads of 'Sugar Town' Mandya. 

Basaralu is a village near Nagamangala, 65 km from Mysore and 125 km from Bangalore. Unlike other smaller villages I have visited so far in search of Hoysala Temples, this village is a bit more bigger and it was a bit difficult for us to locate the temple surrounded by many houses. It is a very small temple built in 1234 AD and looks beautiful. It has numerous sculptures of very good quality and most of them look very sharp because of a recent restoration work carried out by the ASI. Of course like all other temples, this temple is also protected as a monument of national importance by the Archeological Survey of India [ASI].

Pillars at the entrance of the temple

Wall of the main temple seen from the mantapa at the entrance.
Caretaker of the temple employed by ASI
The Mallikarjuna-temple is a trikuta, it has three shrines, but only only the central one has a nose (sukhanasi) and a tower (shikara). The three shrines are arranged around one common hall. Inside, the central sanctum has a lobby between cella and this hall, while the two lateral ones, devoid of a vestibule, have cellas that are connected to the hall directly. The hall is a hybrid between an open and a closed one; the back half is closed, the front half is open with stone screens between the parapet-walls and the roofing. The uncommon element in the plan of this temple is the pavilion that is attached in front of the entrance of the hall. It has the appearance of a fourth shrine but consists of open sides with stone screens and so, in face, it is an open hall of one bay only. 

A diagonal view of the front side of the temple

Mallikarjuna temple (looking west)

South-west view of the temple

Shikara seen from the south end

Wall images seen from the west side of the temple
Due to the added pavilion the temple has a particular and nice composition with two lateral entrances. Its beauty is enhanced by a platform that carefully follows the outline of all of the temple parts. Both the entrances and the flight of steps look beautiful because of the two miniature shrines at both the ends. The central shrine and its nose are complete, up to the kalasa on top of the shrine and the Hoysala crest on top of the nose. 

A black cat surveys the place before we entered the temple

The elephants at the one of the entrances (looking West)

The other entrance  (looking east)
Walls of the shrines and the mantapa (hall) are very decorative. They are similar to what we see in Belur and Halebidu. The temple is of new kind. Between the two eaves there are decorative towers, below the lower eaves there is a continues row of wall-images. Below the series of wall-images, the base of the temple consists of 6 friezes of equal width. The carvings are absolutely fantastic and they look very sharp. The epic frieze shows much force; from the left of the southern entrance to the back of the central shrine it depicts the Ramayana, from there on-wards up to the northern entrance the Mahabharata is illustrated, and around the added pavilion Krishna-stories and mythological scenes can be seen. 

Carvings on the wall of the central shrine

Krishna lifting mount govardhana

More wall images

the 6 friezes with intricate carvings of mythological stories

Story of Bhakta-Prahlada carved on the north-eastern side of the wall

More Krishna-stories on the walls

Very sharp and non-ruined carvings
It is very beautiful inside the temple and thanks to the window on the ceiling of the hall, the interior is clearly visible. The central cella, contains a linga; the subordinate lateral cellas, contain a cult-image of surya and a pair of nagas. Certainly the pair of nagas looked very interesting. 

Old kannada inscription from the hoysala period (1234 AD) 

Mallikarjuna Temple, Basaralu - A different perspective

Text: A Complete Guide to Hoysala Temples by Gerard Foekema
Photographs: Srikanth Parthasarathy



Narasim said...

As usual, great photographs.

The one I like most is the one titled, wall images seen from the west side of the temple. The sculptural excellence is breathtaking.

It is difficult for me to estimate the scale of the structure without at least one picture with one person standing in front. For scale, the black cat is indicative but difficult for me although we have a black cat as a pet. There is one pic with two people but is too remote for my eye.

In each case, the light and shade effect is just wonderful.

Unknown said...

I loved the southwest view of the temple photo. And this is an awesome feat of you documenting the Hoysala temples across Karnataka. Hatsoff to you!
I'm curious to know if you also have the statistics of the number of Hoysala temples you have visited and number yet to go? Please let me know or publish that too for information