Hoysala Temples

Unveiling the Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Hoysala Temples Near Hassan

All about Hoysala Temples

I. Introduction

Hoysala Temples

A. Brief overview of Hoysala architecture

Picture this: You’re standing in front of a temple that looks like it’s straight out of a fantasy movie. Every inch is covered in intricate carvings, telling stories from ancient myths. That’s Hoysala architecture for you – and trust me, it’s mind-blowing!

I first stumbled upon these incredible temples during a trip to Karnataka, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The Hoysala rulers built these beautiful Hoysala Temples between the 11th and 14th centuries, and boy, did they know how to make an impression!

Here’s a cool fact: Most of these temples are made from soapstone. It starts out soft and easy to carve, but hardens over time. Clever, right?

B. Mention of famous temples (Belur and Halebid)

Now, if you’ve heard of Hoysala temples before, you’re probably thinking of the big shots – Belur and Halebid. Don’t get me wrong, they’re stunning. I remember my jaw dropping when I first saw the Chennakesava Temple at Belur. And the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid? It’s like a history book carved in stone!

These places are usually crawling with tourists, and for good reason. But here’s the thing – they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

C. Teaser about the hidden gems to be explored

On my last trip, I decided to dig a little deeper. And boy, am I glad I did! Turns out, the area around Hassan is hiding some serious treasures. I’m talking about temples that are just as beautiful as the famous ones, but without the crowds.

Imagine having an entire ancient temple all to yourself. No selfie sticks in your way, no tour groups drowning out the peaceful atmosphere. Just you and centuries of incredible art and history. Sounds amazing, right?

Well, that’s exactly what I found. And I’m dying to share it with you! In this post, I’m going to take you on a journey to five hidden Hoysala temples that blew my mind. We’re talking about places where you can trace intricate carvings with your fingers (gently, of course!) and soak in the atmosphere of a bygone era in peace.

From a temple that’s one of the earliest examples of Hoysala architecture to another that looks like it has four shrines instead of one – each of these places has its own unique story. And the best part? You won’t find these in your average guidebook.

So, are you ready for an adventure off the beaten path? Strap in, because we’re about to uncover some of Karnataka’s best-kept secrets. Trust me, by the end of this, you’ll be itching to book your ticket to Hassan!

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II. The Allure of Hoysala Architecture

Hoysala temples with ancient architecture

Let me tell you, there’s something magical about Hoysala architecture. It’s like stepping into a different world – one where every surface tells a story. Before we dive into our hidden gems, let’s chat about what makes these temples so special.

A. Distinctive features (star-shaped designs, intricate carvings)

First up, the shape. Most temples I’ve seen are pretty straightforward – square or rectangular. But Hoysala temples? They love to show off with their star-shaped designs. It’s like they’re reaching out in all directions, trying to touch the sky.

And the carvings? Oh boy. I’ve spent hours – literally, hours – just staring at a single wall. These artisans were next level. Every inch is covered in intricate details. Gods, goddesses, epic battles, everyday life scenes – it’s all there. I once counted over 50 unique hairstyles on the sculptures in one temple. Talk about fashion inspiration!

B. Building materials (soapstone)

Now, here’s a fun fact that blew my mind. Most of these temples are made from soapstone. Yep, the same stuff they use to make those little carved elephants you find in souvenir shops.

But here’s the cool part – when they quarried it, the stone was soft and easy to carve. Over time, it hardened into the durable structures we see today. Imagine that – temples that literally grew stronger with age. If that’s not a metaphor for something, I don’t know what is!

C. Common architectural elements (Jagati, Vimana, Mantapa)

Okay, I’m going to throw some fancy words at you, but stick with me – they’re actually pretty cool.

First, there’s the Jagati. It’s like a giant platform that the whole temple sits on. I love these because you can walk around the entire temple and see it from all angles. Plus, it’s a great spot for that perfect Instagram shot!

Then we’ve got the Vimana. That’s the tower over the inner sanctum where the deity hangs out. It’s usually covered in intricate carvings and looks like a wedding cake made of stone.

Finally, there’s the Mantapa. Think of it as the temple’s living room. It’s a pillared hall where people gather, and let me tell you, some of these pillars are works of art in themselves. I once saw one that was so finely carved, it looked like it was draped in stone fabric. Mind-boggling!

These elements come together to create temples that are more than just places of worship – they’re like giant puzzles, full of details waiting to be discovered. Every time I visit, I notice something new. It’s like the temples have secrets they’re slowly revealing, one visit at a time.

So, now that we’re all experts in Hoysala architecture (okay, maybe not experts, but at least enthusiastic admirers), are you ready to explore some hidden treasures? Trust me, what’s coming up next is going to knock your socks off!

Absolutely! I’ll write about the Lakshminarasimha Temple in Nuggehalli using a more personal, engaging style with simple language and interesting facts. Here’s the revised section:

III. Hidden Gem No.1: Lakshminarasimha Temple, Nuggehalli

Lakshminarasimha Temple that is made with soap stone and ancient carvings

A. Location and how to get there

Alright, adventure seekers, our first stop is the Lakshminarasimha Temple in Nuggehalli. Now, don’t worry if you’ve never heard of Nuggehalli before – I hadn’t either until I stumbled upon this gem!

It’s about 50 km from Hassan, tucked away on the Tiptur-Channarayapatna highway. I’ll be honest, finding it was half the fun! I rented a scooter in Hassan (highly recommend for temple-hopping), but you can also grab a bus or taxi. For the scooter rental you can contact Bounce which is located near lawyers colony in Hassan.

Pro tip: Download an offline map before you go, because cell service can be spotty. The best place to download the offline map is our beloved Google!

B. Historical background (built in 1246 CE)

Get this: this temple has been standing here since 1246 CE. That’s almost 800 years! It was built during the reign of the Hoysala king Vira Someshwara. Imagine all the stories these walls could tell if they could talk!

Fun fact: the temple was built by a commander named Bommanna Dandanayaka. I like to think of him as the Hoysala version of a modern-day philanthropist, commissioning this masterpiece for the ages.

C. Architectural highlights (trikuta style, rich sculptures)

Now, let me tell you why this temple made me go “Wow!” First off, it’s built in what’s called a trikuta style. In simple terms, it means “three shrines.” It’s like getting three temples for the price of one!

But the real showstoppers are the sculptures. Every inch of the outer walls is covered in intricate carvings. I spent hours just walking around the temple, finding new details each time. There are stories from Hindu epics, celestial beings, and geometric patterns that’ll make your head spin.

My favorite part? The lathe-turned pillars inside. They’re so perfectly round and smooth, it’s hard to believe they were made without modern tools. I kept running my hands over them (respectfully, of course), marveling at the craftsmanship.

D. Nearby Sadasiva Temple (Ekakuta style)

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I discovered there’s another temple right next door! The Sadasiva Temple, built in 1249 CE by a fearless commander of the Hoysala Empire known as Bommanna Dandanayaka, is a completely different style. It’s what they call ekakuta, meaning it has just one shrine or also where in you combine together to form it as one.

What’s cool about this one is how different it looks from its neighbor. While the Lakshminarasimha Temple is all about the bling, the Sadasiva Temple is more… let’s say, strong and silent. It doesn’t have all the fancy sculptures outside, but there’s something really powerful about its simplicity.

I ended up spending way more time in Nuggehalli than I planned, but it was totally worth it. These two temples side by side really show you the range of Hoysala architecture. Plus, having them all to myself (except for a few friendly locals) was an experience I’ll never forget.

So, if you’re up for a little adventure and want to see some amazing Hoysala temples without the crowds, put Nuggehalli on your list. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

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IV. Hidden Gem No.2: Lakshmi Devi Temple, Doddagaddavalli

Lakshmi Devi Temple located in Doddagaddavalli where priests are entering into the temple premises

A. Location and accessibility

Alright, adventurers, let’s talk about finding this hidden beauty! The Lakshmi Devi Temple is tucked away in the tiny village of Doddagaddavalli. It’s about a 16 km drive from Hassan, and trust me, it’s worth every bump in the road.

I’ll be honest, I almost missed the turn-off. Pro tip: keep your eyes peeled for a small sign pointing down a narrow lane. It feels like you’re heading into someone’s backyard, but that’s part of the charm!

B. Historical significance (one of the earliest Hoysala temples, 1114 CE)

Now, here’s where it gets really cool. This temple is like the great-grandparent of all the Hoysala temples we know and love. Built way back in 1114 CE, it’s one of the earliest examples of Hoysala architecture still standing.

Imagine this: when this temple was being built, the Hoysala style was just taking shape. It’s like seeing the first draft of a masterpiece! I couldn’t help but run my hands over the walls, thinking about the artisans who worked here over 900 years ago. It’s like touching history!

C. Unique features (Chatuskuta design, absence of Jagati)

Okay, bear with me while I geek out for a second. This temple is special because it’s a ‘chatuskuta’ – that means it has four shrines instead of the usual one or three. It’s like the Hoysala architects were experimenting, trying out new ideas.

And here’s another quirky thing – there’s no ‘jagati’ (that’s a raised platform most Hoysala temples sit on). Without it, you feel even closer to the temple. I literally had to crane my neck to see the top!

Inside, it’s like a treasure hunt. I spent hours looking for hidden carvings and unique details. My favorite find? A carving of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, hidden away in a corner. It felt like she was winking at me!

D. Natural surroundings (coconut plantations, lake)

But it’s not just the temple that’s breathtaking. The setting is straight out of a postcard! The temple is surrounded by swaying coconut palms, and there’s a serene lake just behind it.

I timed my visit for sunset, and let me tell you, it was magical. The golden light hitting the temple, reflecting off the lake… I must have taken a hundred photos, but none of them do it justice.

Here’s a fun fact: Locals of the area believe the lake( Hunasinakere lake) is home to a giant fish that’s as old as the temple itself. I didn’t see it (maybe next time?), but I love how these old places are always wrapped in fascinating stories.

As I sat by the lake, watching the sun go down, I couldn’t help but feel lucky. Here I was, at this incredible ancient temple, with not another tourist in sight. Just me, the temple, and centuries of history. It’s moments like these that make all the wrong turns and bumpy roads worth it.

So, if you’re up for a little adventure and a lot of wonder, put the Lakshmi Devi Temple on your must-visit list. Just don’t tell too many people about it – let’s keep this hidden gem our little secret, shall we?

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V. Hidden Gem No.3: Bucesvara Temple, Koravangala

Bucesvara Temple, Koravangala

A. Location details

Alright, adventure seekers, let’s talk about my favorite find on this Hoysala treasure hunt – the Bucesvara Temple in Koravangala. Getting there is half the fun! It’s tucked away about 10 km from Hassan, and trust me, the drive is gorgeous. Picture winding roads through lush green fields and tiny villages. Pro tip: I used my phone’s GPS, but it got a bit confused near the end. Just ask a local for “Buchesvara Temple” (that’s how they pronounce it), and they’ll point you right to it.

B. Historical context (built in 1173 AD)

Now, here’s where it gets really cool. This temple has been standing here since 1173 AD. That’s over 800 years! Imagine all the stories these walls could tell if they could talk.

Here’s a fun fact I learned from a local guide: The temple wasn’t built by a king, but by a wealthy officer named Buci. Apparently, he was so pumped about the coronation of Hoysala King Veera Ballala II that he decided to build this entire temple to celebrate. Talk about a grand gesture!

C. Architectural uniqueness (Dvikuta design)

When I first saw the Bucesvara Temple, I thought I was seeing double. Turns out, I kind of was! This temple has what’s called a “dvikuta” design. In simple terms, it means there are two shrines facing each other. It’s like the temple has a twin!

What’s really neat is how these shrines are connected. There’s a closed hall (mantapa) and an open hall linking them. I spent ages just walking between the two, marveling at how the light plays differently in each space.

D. Noteworthy decorative features

Now, let’s talk about the eye candy. The decorations here are what the experts call “old kind” – the style that was popular even before the Hoysalas came along. But don’t let that fool you; these carvings are anything but basic.

I was blown away by the details on the outer walls. There are intricate geometric patterns, mythological scenes, and some figures that made me reach for my camera every few steps. One of my favorite spots was near the entrance. There’s this amazing panel showing scenes from the Ramayana. I’m no expert, but even I could recognize Hanuman carrying the mountain!

Inside, keep an eye out for the beautifully carved pillars. Each one is like a work of art. I caught myself wondering how long it must have taken to carve each tiny detail.

Oh, and here’s a little secret: There are two more temples nearby that are in ruins. They’re not as well-preserved as Bucesvara, but they add a kind of mysterious, Indiana Jones vibe to the whole place.

By the time I left Bucesvara Temple, my camera was full, and my mind was blown. This place might not be as famous as some other Hoysala temples, but in my book, it’s an absolute must-visit. It’s like stepping into a time machine, minus the crowds. Just you, centuries of history, and some of the most incredible stone carving you’ll ever see. Trust me, it’s worth every bit of the journey to get here!

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VI. Hidden Gem No.4: Nageshvara-Chennakeshava Temple Complex, Mosale

Chennakeshava Temple a sacred temple complex located in Mosale

Okay, folks, buckle up because we’re heading to my personal favorite on this list – the Nageshvara-Chennakeshava Temple Complex in Mosale. Trust me, this place is a real treat!

A. Location and distance from Hassan

First things first – how to get there. Mosale is a tiny village that’s just a short 13 km hop from Hassan. I remember thinking, “How come I’ve never heard of this place before?” as I navigated the winding roads. Pro tip: rent a scooter in Hassan for a fun ride through the countryside. Just follow the Belur road and keep an eye out for the signs to Mosale. It’s an easy day trip, and the journey itself is half the fun!

B. Historical background (built in 1200 AD)

Now, let’s time-travel back to 1200 AD. That’s when this stunning complex was built, during the reign of the Hoysala king Veera Ballala II. Imagine – these temples have been standing here for over 800 years! I don’t know about you, but that blows my mind. As I walked around, I couldn’t help but wonder about all the people who’ve stood in this same spot over the centuries.

C. Architectural style (Ekakuta design)

Here’s where it gets really interesting. The complex has two main temples, and they’re both what’s called ‘ekakuta’ style. In simple terms, that means each temple has a single shrine with a tower on top. But don’t let that fool you – these aren’t simple structures by any means!

D. Distinctive Hoysala features present

Remember those signature Hoysala features I mentioned earlier? Well, this place is like a checklist of Hoysala architecture greatest hits!

First off, there’s the star-shaped base. I spent a good ten minutes just walking around the outside, admiring how the walls seem to dance in and out. Then there are the intricate carvings – oh boy, the carvings! Every inch of the outer walls is covered in detailed sculptures. I’m talking gods, goddesses, animals, and geometric patterns. Bring a good camera (or just use your phone) because you’ll want to zoom in on these details.

Inside, you’ll find the classic Hoysala-style lathe-turned pillars. They’re so perfectly round and smooth, it’s hard to believe they were made without modern tools. I remember running my hand over one (gently, of course) and marveling at the craftsmanship.

But my favorite part? The ceiling. Look up when you’re inside, and you’ll see the most beautiful, intricate designs. In the center of the main hall, there’s this amazing pendant-like structure hanging from the ceiling. It’s called a ‘sukhanasi’, and it’s a hallmark of Hoysala temples.

As I was leaving, I noticed something that made me chuckle – there’s a small carving of a couple in a, let’s say, ‘intimate’ pose. These Hoysala sculptors had a cheeky sense of humor!

I spent hours exploring this complex, and honestly, I could have stayed longer. There’s something magical about standing in a place with so much history, especially when you have it all to yourself. If you visit only one temple from this list, make it this one. Just don’t forget to bring water and snacks – there isn’t much around in terms of facilities!

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VIII. Tips for Exploring Hidden Hoysala Temples

Alright, fellow temple explorers! Before you rush off to discover these hidden gems, let me share some insider tips I’ve picked up on my adventures. Trust me, these will make your trip so much smoother!

A. Best time to visit

Here’s the scoop: Karnataka can get pretty toasty! I made the mistake of visiting in May once, and whew, it was like walking into an oven. Learn from my sweat-drenched experience – the best time to visit is between October and February.

Pro tip: I love going in January. The weather’s perfect for temple hopping, and you might catch some local harvest festivals. Double win!

B. Transportation options

Now, let’s talk about getting around. Public transport to these hidden temples can be… let’s say, an adventure in itself. On my first trip, I waited for a bus that never came. Oops!

Here’s what I do now: I rent a car or a motorbike in Hassan. It’s not too expensive, and the freedom is awesome. Plus, the roads to these temples are like a beautiful bonus tour of rural Karnataka. Just make sure you’ve got Google Maps – the signage isn’t always great.

C. Photography tips

Calling all Instagram enthusiasts and photography buffs! These temples are a photographer’s dream, but they can be tricky to capture. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Early bird gets the worm (and the best light). I start my day at sunrise – the soft morning light makes those carvings pop!
  2. Bring a wide-angle lens if you can. You’ll want to capture those full temple views.
  3. Don’t forget to zoom in on the details. Some of the tiny carvings blew my mind!
  4. Patience is key. I once waited 20 minutes for the perfect shot without other visitors. Worth it!

D. Respectful tourism practices

Okay, serious talk time. These temples aren’t just pretty photo ops – they’re important historical and religious sites. Let’s keep them awesome for future explorers, shall we?

  1. Dress modestly. I always pack a scarf to cover my shoulders, just in case.
  2. Take off your shoes before entering. Pro tip: bring socks if you don’t want dirty feet!
  3. Ask before taking photos of people, especially during worship.
  4. Don’t climb on anything. I know it’s tempting for that perfect selfie, but let’s preserve these beauties.
  5. Keep your voice down. The peaceful atmosphere is part of the magic!

Oh, and here’s something cool I learned: in some temples, if you clap in front of the pillars, they make different musical notes. But ask a guide before trying it – not all temples allow this.

Remember, folks: we’re guests here. Let’s be the kind of tourists we’d want visiting our own special places!

Follow these tips, and I promise you’ll have an amazing, respectful, and totally Insta-worthy adventure exploring these hidden Hoysala temples.

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IX. Conclusion

A. Recap of the hidden gems explored

Wow, what a journey we’ve been on! Can you believe all these incredible temples were just hiding in plain sight? From the moment I stepped into the Lakshminarasimha Temple in Nuggehalli, with its three towers reaching for the sky, I knew I was in for something special. But each stop on our little adventure brought its own surprises.

Remember the Lakshmi Devi Temple in Doddagaddavalli? That lake view is something I won’t forget in a hurry. And the Bucesvara Temple in Koravangala – who knew a 850-year-old building could still look so good? The Nageshvara-Chennakeshava Temple complex in Mosale felt like stepping into a time machine. And that Lakshminarasimha Temple in Javagal? Talk about saving the best for last!

B. Importance of preserving these lesser-known sites

Here’s the thing, though. While I was blown away by these temples, I also felt a little sad. Some of them are showing their age, and without proper care, we might lose these treasures. It’s not just about pretty buildings – these temples are like history books written in stone. They tell us so much about the people who lived here centuries ago, how they thought, what they believed in.

I met this lovely old man near one of the temples. He told me stories his grandfather had told him about the place. It made me realize – these temples aren’t just tourist spots. They’re a living part of the local culture. If we lose them, we lose all of that too.

C. Encouragement for readers to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations

So, here’s my challenge to you: Next time you’re planning a trip, don’t just stick to the famous spots. Sure, places like Belur and Halebid are amazing and you should definitely see them. But why stop there?

There’s something magical about discovering a place that feels like it’s your own secret. Trust me, standing alone in a centuries-old temple, with no other tourists around, is an experience you won’t forget. Plus, you’ll be supporting local communities that don’t usually see many visitors.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll stumble upon a hidden gem I haven’t even found yet! And if you do, promise you’ll come back and tell me all about it, okay?

Remember, travel isn’t just about ticking boxes on a list of famous sites. It’s about the stories you collect, the surprises you encounter, and the secrets you uncover. So go on, be a history detective. Karnataka is waiting for you to explore its hidden treasures. I promise you won’t regret it!

And hey, if you end up visiting any of these temples, drop me a line. I’d love to hear about your adventure. Happy travels, folks!

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X. Practical Information

A. Accommodation options in Hassan

Alright, let’s talk about where to crash after a long day of temple-hopping! Hassan’s got a mix of places to suit different budgets. During my trips, I’ve tried a few options.

If you’re looking to splurge a bit, the Hoysala Village Resort is pretty sweet. It’s got this cool Hoysala-inspired architecture that’ll keep you in the temple mood. But my personal favorite? A homestay I found just outside the city. The family was super friendly, and their homemade breakfast was to die for!

Pro tip: Book in advance if you’re visiting during peak season (October to February). Trust me, you don’t want to end up sleeping in your car like I almost did on my first trip!

B. Local cuisine to try

Okay, foodies, listen up! Karnataka cuisine is seriously underrated, and Hassan’s got some gems. You’ve got to try the Bisi Bele Bath – it’s this spicy, rice-based dish that’ll warm you right up.

But the absolute must-try? Ragi Mudde. It’s this ball made of millet that locals eat with spicy curries. I’ll be honest, it took me a couple of tries to get used to it, but now I’m hooked!

Oh, and don’t leave without trying the local coffee. This region grows some amazing beans, and the filter coffee here is like a hug in a cup.

C. Other nearby attractions

While the temples are the stars of the show, there’s plenty more to see around Hassan. If you’re into wildlife, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is just a couple of hours away. I saw my first wild elephant there – talk about an adrenaline rush!

For a change of pace, check out the Shettihalli Rosary Church. It’s this half-submerged church that looks straight out of a movie set. I caught it at sunset once, and let me tell you, it was Instagram gold!

D. Useful contacts (local tourism office, guides)

Now, I’m all for independent exploration, but sometimes local expertise can really enhance your experience. The District Tourism Office in Hassan (+91 8172 268862) is super helpful. They pointed me towards some real hidden gems on my last trip.

For Bike Rentals you can contact Bounce, which is located at Lokesh Xerox centre, Coart Complex, near law association, RC Road, Hassan and their telephone no is +918061915352.

Oh, and don’t forget to download the Karnataka Tourism app. It’s got some decent info and can be a lifesaver when you’re out in the villages with patchy internet.

Remember, half the fun is in the adventure of getting there and figuring things out. So don’t stress too much if things don’t go exactly to plan. Some of my best memories are from when I got completely lost and ended up having chai with a local family!

Happy exploring, folks! If you discover any cool spots or tips, drop them in the comments. Let’s help each other make the most of this amazing region!

Author

  • Chandan Senapati

    I have 10 years of experience in the field of Travel and Lifestyle Industry. I have written more than 450 articles for various reputed platforms such as Huffington Post, MensXP, and Daily Mail. Having an immense passion for writing and a deep interest in the Travel and lifestyle industry.

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