Lakshminarasimha Temple, Javagal, Karnataka – a Hoysala Gem
Javagal, a small town of Hassan, I knew was famous as Indian Cricket Player Javagal Srinath’s birthplace… that is how popular cricket in India is! I feel Javagal should be better known for the Hoysala treasure that it owns – the immaculately sculptured Lakshminarasimha Temple! When we reached there the temple priest, a young boy of 19 years was closing the temple for noon. Seeing us he readily opened the doors and helped us offer our prayers there.
Lord Lakshminarasimha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu is the main deity here. There is another temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi just beside this temple. The complex is huge but not so well looked after like the temples in Belavadi and Doddagaddavalli. I can’t understand why ASI does its work of looking after these Hoysala gems selectively!
History of Lakshminarasimha Temple
The exact details of time of construction of these temples are not known as the inscription tablet or stone with info is damaged. The construction of this temple took place during 13th century, much later than Veeranarayana Temple of Belavadi. King Vira Someshwara (1235 – 1263) built this grand Hoysala Temple. Hoysalas ruled the southern Deccan from 1026 to 1343 AD. King Vira Someshwara was 9th of the 12 kings of Hoysala dynasty that ruled.
Lakshminarasimha Temple Architecture
Garbhagruhas (the portion that houses the idols) here are arranged in a triangular pattern.
- Lord Vishnu’s idol is in the main sanctum,
- Lord Venugopal’s idol in the southern
- and Lord Lakshminarasimha’s in northern sanctum.
We saw each of the idols laden with several garlands of colorful flowers.
Only the central shrine has vestibule or tower above it. Three sides of the central shrine are visible from outside, while only one side of the other 2 shrines is visible externally. The temple is small, hence has a closed mantapa, enclosed by walls up to the ceiling and decorated well in the outside. Mukhamantapa has a small seating arrangement with very less numbers of pillars compared to the temple of Belavadi.
Stunning Work on Temple Exteriors
The outer wall here fascinated me the most! It has stunning workmanship on it with carved sculptures. There are 140 wall panel images, each made with attention to fine details. Seems like each figure has a story to tell. I have not seen the dashavatars depicted so finely in any other temple as they are done here.
The base has six equal width rectangular moldings.
- Starting from the top, the friezes depict; hansa (birds) in the first frieze,
- makara (aquatic monsters) in the second, epics and other stories
- in the third (usually from the Hindu epic Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and stories of Krishna),
- leafy scrolls in the fourth,
- horses in the fifth
- and elephants in the sixth (bottom frieze).
Most impressive of all sights in the exteriors is how the friezes go all along the temple circumference… it is like the characters of the friezes are following the one ahead in a disciplined manner!
Unlike other Hoysala temples, this Lakshminarasimha Temple of Javagal doesn’t have elephant balustrades (parapets) on either side of the steps leading to temple. Instead there are 2 of them outside the entrance to the whole complex. Dwarapalikas to this temple are the Vijayanagara style door guards. You can find them near the mukhamantapa (main entrance). All these carvings are carried out on grey soap stone, which is easy to sculpt and hardens on exposure to air.
Location of Lakshminarasimha Temple
Lakshminarasimha Temple Javagal is 15kms from Halebeedu temple of Hassan district. It is 195kms from Bangalore.