Ishwara Temple, Arasikere, Karnataka

The road from Bangalore to Jog Falls is studded with several gems (read temples) of Hoysala origin. We made our first halt at Arasikere, one of the oldest towns of Karnataka. It came to existence in 1882. Arasikere translates to Queen’s Tank in Kannada. History records of this place mention: of the attack of Marathas during the reign of Mysore Wodeyars to the days of Shivappa Nayak of Ikkeri from whom it was regained by the Mysore rulers in the year 1890.

Ishwara Temple Arasikere Indrani

Ishwara Temple

A classical monument, this Ishwara Temple was built in the year 1219 during the reign of King Ballala II. As we stepped in to the premises of the temple, the neatness with which it is maintained impressed us. Further when we explored the temple we were mesmerized by the intricate sculpted works on the façade, interiors and pillars of the temple.

Hoysala Architectural Style in Ishwara Temple

This typical architectural style is the building style developed during 11th to 14th century under the reign of Hoysala Empire. Several Kings from this empire left their mark by encouraging the building of these style temples. The decoration and ornamentation are so unique. Simply enclosing the deity didn’t seem enough; they took pains to carve out stories, forms and repetitive designs on the walls and ceilings of shrines. You will hardly find any similarity between the temples.

The temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu. Ishwara Temple is dedicated to the former enshrined in the form of a linga. Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) houses the linga. This is a closed mantapa with very less light and no photography was permitted. The ceiling of this closed mantapa had amazing work. The pillars are decorated with fine bead work, each bead so well defined. The outer walls of the temple are divided in to three vertical sections. The parts are: the bands (pattikas) at the base, the wall proper from the top of basement to the eaves and the parapet.

Ishwara temple designs

Ishwara Temple Pillars Indrani

There are 120 large images depicting various Gods we were told.These images add grace and beauty to the temple when seen from a distance. But as I observed carefully, I was disappointed to see the damage done to the sculptures. Almost all figures heve been defaced. The details of eyes and nose have been scraped off, it was really sad to see the destruction.

Ishwara Temple damaged sculptures Indrani

The mukhmantapa (open pillared hall) is most impressive. Do sit here in the stone benches. Very small area, yet a cool and calm place. Transport yourself back in time and you will find yourself discussing matters of importance to the society then!

Ishwara temple Mahamantapa Indrani

Other Places around Ishwara Temple

Sahasrakuta Basadi, a place of worship of Jaina community.

Malekal Tirupathi hill which has a temple at the top.


Arasikere is well connected to all important cities and towns of Karnataka both by road and rail. It lies at about a distance of 170 kilometers from Bangalore city on Bangalore – Honnavara National Highway. Hotels are available for a comfortable stay, if needed.


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52 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    Absolutely stunning, the work of building the temples are superb.

  2. Beautiful pictures. The gradual loss of heritage is saddening.

  3. sylviakirk says:

    Such an amazing and beautiful place, Indrani!! Wonderful captures and, as always, thank you for the history!! I do enjoy these posts so very much!! I hope you have a great new week! Enjoy!!

  4. The images that are simply ancient looks beautiful. Did not know India still sustains with those wonderful prehistoric architectures.

  5. Beautiful architecture! These old buildings remind us of the greatness India held a long time back

  6. Beautiful temple, Stunning place to visit.

  7. Arun says:

    Beautiful Temple. Hoysala temples are surely a architectural wonder.

  8. Arun says:

    Amazing architecture!

  9. magiceye says:

    Beautiful captures of amazing sculptures!

  10. The Pictures certify how well the temple is maintained. Beautiful architectural work. Wonderful clicks!

  11. Beautiful pictures of the divine temple. Loved it 🙂

  12. Harshita says:

    Beautiful architecture

  13. The wonders that Hoysala kings left for the humanity are marvelous! I had an opportunity to explore some of those last year. But there are so many more to cherish. Thanks for showing this one, Indrani!

  14. Such an awesome & beautiful temple 🙂

  15. Yogi saraswat says:

    Beautiful carvings of a religious place . your journey is specific in traveling.

  16. Nicely captured..Loved the way you have snapped the details of the motifs ….

  17. Beautiful work of art! It seems sandstone. And, the statues look highly polished!

  18. Wow! Detail work on pillars and crafted sculptures are simply great. Great idea to collect such gems on the way 🙂

  19. vatsala mallya says:

    Stunningly beautiful temple , and the sculpted interiors are too impressive !

  20. Superb… Will visit all these places as long as I am in Tamil land

  21. Such a beautiful temple it is Indrani and you are right in calling these gems ! They are gems. I don’t know a thing about architecture but am always being drawn to it perhaps, as it seems to me just another sort of handicraft! Thankfully, I am able to detect the Hoysala architectural designs and motifs ..specially the linear circles on the pillars , the intricate work on every nook and that star shaped structure !But, Its utterly disgraceful and saddening to see the damage to it .

  22. DeniseinVA says:

    You share some amazing places with us, this is incredible. Thank you!

  23. Meera says:

    Beautiful carving in the pillar. Indeed such places are gem.

  24. Mridula says:

    The place looks impressive through your lens!

  25. Amazing architecture. Great pics 🙂

  26. Love the detailing and the art work … we have so many hidden gems in our country that needs to be preserved ..

  27. thomas says:

    Wow! beautiful carvings

  28. I am impressed by the details in these buildings. The shapes and columns are very unique. I do not think I have seen something similar before. So great you had the opportunity to stop and explore.

  29. Rajesh says:

    Treasure trove. You have captured it beautifully.

  30. Jim says:

    So many beautiful things to look at there.

  31. There is something about temples that attract everyone. Great detailing.

  32. Beautiful temple , Never knew about this temple .I have to add this to my list .thanks for sharing.

  33. helmiriitta10 says:

    I love your collages! Beautiful.

  34. Beautiful architecture and nice pics Indrani.

  35. Niranjan says:

    Glad to know about this lovey temple with intricate works.

  36. Hoysala architecture is always unique in its style- the pillars, ornamentation on idols and carving on the ceilings. Its really pride of Karnataka. Thanks for sharing the pictures and information.

  37. Amazing carvings and architecture, very nice images!

  38. Sri Kri says:

    Impressive shots.From the photos we could feel the grandeur of this place.This place is surely a gem.

    Sriram & Krithiga

  39. ladyfi says:

    What beautiful details!

  40. eileen says:

    Hello Indrani, lovely images of the temple and the carvings. The details are just beautiful. It is a grand place. Have a happy day and week ahead!

  41. The temple is gorgeous. And so beautifully articulated, Indrani. Almost makes me feel like I was there.

    I definitely want to visit this place and experience what you have written

  42. Ami says:

    Beautiful temple. Will be definitely checking it out.

  43. The architecture of this temple is amazing! Such fine details.. But real pity about the damage.

    Thank you for linking up on Travel Tuesday! 🙂

  44. divsi says:

    Fabulous pics Indrani!

  45. Rashmi says:

    Wow Indrani, great post. Thanks for sharing, would love to visit.

  46. Arohii says:

    Stunning, The mukhmantapa does look calm and peaceful, this is what i love about temples, Lovely post 🙂

  47. Jeevan says:

    Truly remarkable site and temple complex! Amazing how inch by inch art has been inscribed thoroughly. Great capture and detail, including the damage done to the sculptures… hope people realize the wealth of sculptures and art and preserve further damages.

  48. I visited 2 smaller hoysala temples during my site visit and was struck by the craftsmanship……

    This temple is exquisite too….great captures indrani di!! 🙂

  49. Ghanta Chandra Sekhara Rao says:

    Good idea of combining more pictures in one frame. Crisp and nice presentation. May Lord Ishwara bless you for your good efforts. I would like to share these pictures to retired colleagues of mine.

    • Indrani Ghose says:

      Thank you very much for the blessings Chandra Sekhara Rao!
      Please do share it with your friends.

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