Forgotten Venugopal Swamy Temple, Mysore
A newly developing hot spot tourist (sacred) destination from Mysore is the Venugopal Swamy Temple. Couple of centuries back, the people of Kannambadi and other settlements around this village worshiped in this temple. It was built in 12th century AD around the same time as the Chennakesava Temple at Somanathapura, Mysore district. The temple has Hoysala style of architecture.
Venugopalswamy Temple Submerged under Water
In 1909 after the Krishna Raja Sagar dam was built, this Venugopalswamy Temple and three more in village of Kannambadi got completely submerged and lost under water. Imagine a whole ancient temple of 12th century lost under water! Of course the settlements were moved to a safer place but the temples had to be abandoned. The then king of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV ordered construction of a new village for the residents of Kannambadi. The new village was aptly named Hosa Kannambadi (hosa meaning new). The main idol of Venugopalaswamy, Lord Krishna playing on flute as a cow-herd, was shifted to a new temple in the rehabilitated village before the temple got submerged under water.
Construction of New Venugopal Swamy Temple
During the drought of 2000 when the level of water had drastically receded the abandoned temples were visible. Philanthropist Mr. Sri Hari Khoday took up the task of relocating and restoring the temple. Wiki says: The in-house architects of the group shot the original temple on video, took over 16,000 photographs. And they marked each and every slab used in the construction of the original temple. The officials removed each and every temple stone. They planned to reconstruct the new temple at Hosa Kannambadi. Trained artisans and sculptors, with half a dozen experts from Tamil Nadu are also involved in the reconstruction.
The old pillars and slabs retrieved are not being used in this new temple. Instead they are trying to make a copy, an exact replica of the old temple. So, what will happen to these retrieved parts of the temple? Hopefully a museum will be made in the vicinity housing these old structures.
New Venugopalswamy Temple, Mysore
Walking into this brand new temple is intriguing. It has designs from past and you feel as if you are walking into brand new ‘old era’. Most noteworthy is that the chiseled new look cannot really hide that old aura. You can observe that there is no sign of modern-ness in the idols. The temple is yet to be officially inaugurated. But tourists hardly wait for such formalities and like us there were more people walking in and out of this temple. This is an ideal place to observe how Hoysala architecture is implemented. Old architecture is infused in new stones here for the temple.
I intend to revisit the temple when it is completed just to see how a modern day Hoysala Temple would look like!
How to reach Venugopalswamy Temple:
It is easy access from Mysore and easiest from Brindavan Gardens. Take the road to Kannambadi, south of KRS Dam, just 9kms. I suggest visit the temple in the evening, you will get good sunset pics with the temple in foreground and then visit the Brindavan Gardens for musical fountain show.