Come weekend and the dilemma every Bangalorean has is where to escape to from the city crowd. And here are few quaint places close to Bangalore, hardly any crowd, after a wonderful drive and for the people interested in architecture. Govindanahalli, Kikkeri and Hosaholalu are close to each other and are Hoysala temples, an ideal day trip from Bangalore. Very similar to Belur Halebidu yet the crowd is totally not there. On a Saturday early morning we quickly got out of Bangalore through Tumkur exit of Nice road. We took the route of Bangalore – Nelamangala – Kunigal – Channarayapatna – Govindanahalli.
PANCHALINGESHWARA Temple – GOVINDANAHALLI
If not for the google maps we would have probably missed Govindanahalli turn. The roads turn small, smaller and finally smallest and we land at the Panchalingeshwara temple of Govindanahalli. It is a unique Panchakuta temple in Hoyasala architecture. Panchakuta meaning there are five different gopurams for each Lingam shrine. Renovation is under progress and I was more than happy to see that the structure was intact.
Apparently there were only four shrines first and it was built by the King in whose dream God asked him to construct temple so as to bless him with kids. And then subsequently the next king who also wanted a child built the fifth shrine close to the fourth one. And so it turns into a Panchakuta shrine. Every shrine has a Nandi statue in front of it and also Goddess statue along side. Around the temple is a unique style of small gopuram structures within which idols are sculpted. It is so beautifully symmetrically placed around the temple.
Photography is prohibited inside the temple. Pooja is done in the morning and if you want to do any special pooja the poojari can be called in.
BRAHMESHVARA Temple – KIKKERI
Kikkeri is just 5km from Govindanahalli. The temple here is called Brahmeshvara temple and there are sign boards leading to the temple. The temple is situated on the banks of a huge lake. The temple has a unique shape of convexing out in an oval shape. The temple outer wall has sculptures similar to that of Govindanahalli, miniature gopuram kind with sculpture in it. The temple shrine was locked at 11am itself and we had to hunt down the pujari house in the village and get it open. Trust me the inside of the temple has so much more stories than the outside. Photography is prohibited inside.
The inside Lingam is placed on a unique Mandap which is proportionately carved. The pillars of the temple have unique tiny carvings. Observe closely at the pillars to see figurines of God, depicting stories from Mahabharatha carved inside small ringlets with so much precision. There is one statue on top of the pillar which is placed perfectly balanced between the roof and the pillar. The perfectly carved statue is a fine example of how excellent our sculptors were. There were four statues on top of four pillars and now they have got stolen. Hopefully such treasures are found out soon and restored back to the temple. Regular pooja and all functions are conducted in this temple.
LAKSHMINARAYAN Temple – HOSAHOLALU
Kikkeri to Hosaholalu was another 16km and we rushed hoping they shouldn’t close it. The temple remains open till 2pm on weekends and the priest was like, “even otherwise I stay close by, people can call me and I will open the doors.” Hosaholalu was a small town and the temple was so magnificently standing in the middle of the town. It was honestly a gem! There was no crowd like that of Belur or Halebidu. It is a splendid architecture, amidst a serene surrounding, full of stories from mythology; all available for you to drink in!
The innner sanctum sanctorum has Lord Krishna to your left, Lord Lakshminarayana in the middle and Lord Narasimha to your right. The entrance to each of this shrine has very beautifully done carvings. The priest enthusiastically was explaining different stories found inside the shrine. He let us take pictures which he attributed to, “need people to visit the temple and make it famous.” 🙂
The temple is situated on a platform, we hopped on to it and started reading the statues. A Guide joined in and explained us each and every statue in the temple. Well, if you are a Hindu and read mythology you can figure out most of it. The temple has one half the story of Mahabharatha and the other half story of Ramayana. Each carving is splendid and beautiful and makes you go awe. This place is a photographer’s paradise. Rest the pics to speak..
We were done with the three Hoysala temples by 1.30pm. And since we had so much time, went ahead to Melkote for lunch and darshan. So here is an additional temple you could plan this way! Or add Shravanabelagola en route, for we returned through it and the roads were just awesome.
How To Reach Hosaholalu, Kikkeri & Govindanahalli:
Have marked all these places on the map. Do check out the directions..