Harnahalli & Arsikere – Hoysala Architectures!

After the Marathon day spent with Doddagadavalli,  Belur, Halebidu, Belavadi, yesterday, today was the last day of the trip, in winding up mode.

I hired the same Auto (600) for next day to drop me to Arsikere Station, offcourse with stoppages in some places.

Next day I got up late, had breakfast by 9.00, checkout by 9.30 am. First Stop was Harnahalli, which was like 1.5 hrs away from Hassan. Roads were bad.

Lakshmi Narsimha Temple, Harnahalli
Lakshmi Narsimha Temple, Harnahalli

After reaching the village, a small road to the left lead to the Lakshmi Narsimha temple – Unfortunately, the temple was closed. I was guided to the Priest’s home, the lady in the house said that the Priest has gone for some puja in the next village and will be back by an hour. In the meantime, I thought of visiting the other lesser known temple in the village. Someshvara temple was just opposite to this temple. The Kalasha could be seen from the main road. There was market outside, and the overgrown vegetation almost seemed to cover the temple. There was lock on the main gate. An elderly local asked me to jump in through the space on the compound wall. I looked around, I was the lone person, who would be in the complex of that temple. Without hesitating, I climbed the wall gap and jumped in.

Someshvara Temple, Harnahalli
Someshvara Temple, Harnahalli

The vegetation growth is trying to engulf the whole area. Looked like the neglected counterpart of the otherwise well known temple on the opposite side. It has similar design and there was that mural of Ravana carrying Shiva-Parvati on the Mount Kailash here too on the back side. After circumambulating the temple, since the main door was closed, I went back to the main gate.

Someshvara Temple Harnahalli
Someshvara Temple

There was a guy who was curious about my presence. After the greetings exchanged, I headed back to the main road. Reached Arsikere in next 20 minutes. There was a Isvara Temple, that I was interested in because of stellate roof. It had a unique star shaped mukhamandapa with two opposite entrances located between mukhamandapa and mahamandapa. The garbhagriha houses a Shiva linga and the sukhanasi, a couchant nandi.

Isvara Temple, Arsikere
Isvara Temple, Arsikere

(The mahamandapa has a raised square podium accommodating massive circular lathe turned pillars. It is interesting to note that there are eight devakoshtas built into the northern, southern, western walls of the mandapa. The stellate mukhamandapa has a central circular raised dais surrounded by stellate jagati with thirteen circular lathe turned pillars placed at the periphery of the circulars dais, supporting a massive circular dome like Ceiling which is exquisitely carved with trifoliate leaf decorations in concentric circles ending in a huge pending. The interesting aspect of mukhamandapa is the depiction of the fore part of elephants inserted into the jagati inside as if supported the mukhamandapa on their shoulders. In elevation, the stellate exterior of the mukhamandapa  is treated with the conventional mouldings of pada, adhokumuda, a tripattakumuda and pattika. Each of these is further divided into small horizontal friezes.

Isvara Temple Arsikere
Isvara Temple

In the region of mahamandapa, these conventional mouldings of adhisthana are crowned by a pattika of heavy denticular decorations before accommodating a sculptured bhitti. The mahamandapa at north and south has chariot like devokosthas. The bhitti of both the garbhagriha and mahamandapa are treated with the sculptural depictions of the chaturvimshati aspect of Vishnu, which are labeled at the pedestal flanked by saraswati and parvati, Brahma and Siva etc. All these images are represented against massive multifluted pilasters. The moderate eave supports a lenticular decorated prastara in the region of mahamandapa and the sixteen turrets raising one above the other. A stellate stupi has a stone kalasa and in the region of sukanasa, the same scheme of turrets in two tiers is introduced with the gable top accommodating a stucco bull. The mahanasa has the usual composition of Siva as Tandavesvara.- Sourced from net).

Interior and exterior of Isvara Temple, Arsikere
Interior and exterior of Isvara Temple, Arsikere

On the left side, there is a double shrine called as Halavukallu devasthana, simple with minimal decoration. There is a common hall for both. Both these temples have a Shiv Linga in the garbhagriha and open sukhanasi.

By 1:00 PM, I was free and asked the auto driver to leave me at the Arsikere station. I was early, because the train was at 15:40 and waited in the waiting room, boarded the train and reached Hubbali Railway Station by 21:30. I had booked a bus to Mumbai from Hubbali. Bus arrived late by 12.00 midnight and reached Mumbai further late by 12.00 noon. Concluded the Solo trip with so many awe inspiring memories.

I never thought it would be so easy, only thing needed was to Step out, rest all just happened with flow!

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