While travelling from Hassan to Arsikere, the Hoysala heartland, you will pass through many sleepy villages and many of them contain lesser known marvels of Hoysala Temple Architecture. One such village is Haranhalli which is 35 km from Hassan and just 8 km from Arsikere. It houses not just one but two modestly sized Hoysala Temples.
The Bucheshwara Temple at Koravangala and its scenic setting make it a great destination for a day-trip from Bangalore. Do take a detour from the well-trodden Hoysala Temple Circuit to explore this classic Hoysala temple.
The northernmost of the Pancha Narayana Kshetra of Karnataka is the Veeranarayana Temple at Gadag. It was built in 1117 AD and is not an architectural marvel but important because of the legends that surround it.
The river Kaveri at Shivanasamudra splits into two, plunges downward forming two famous waterfalls –Gaganachukki and Barachukki and then re-joins thereby forming an island on which are situated two ancient temples – Ranganatha and Someshwara Temples.
Hanagal was an important bastion even when the Hoysala Dynasty ruled over large chunks of Karnataka. Located on the left bank of the river Dharma, Hanagal has a connection to the Mahabharata also. The kingdom of Virat where the Pandavas spent a year incognito is identified with present day Hanagal. A crumbling fort and a handful of desolate temples from the 8th to the 12th century now dot the once prosperous town.
The temple at Hedathale is neither well known like the Chamundeshwari Temple near Mysore nor is it magnificent like the Virupaksha Temple at Hampi and maybe that is why it is so special. If you like quiet places filled with tranquillity and rich in architectural value, Hedathale is the place you should visit.
The industrial town of Bhadravathi has a surprise nestled in the old town area, the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple which is a good example of the late Hoysala temple architecture.
One of the finest examples of Hoysala Temple architecture, the Amruteshwara Temple at Amrutapura, dates back to the 12th century. Located in Chikmagalur District, Amrutapura is just 35 km from Shimoga and about 5 km from Tarikere. The temple is well maintained and set in an idyllic atmosphere. Coconut trees, paddy fields and lush green manicured gardens surround the temple.
The Lakshminarayana Temple was built by the Hoysala King Vira Someshwara and dates from about 1250 AD. It is well preserved compared to other Hoysala temples and is completely covered with detailed and ornate sculpture.
In the sleepy village of Doddagadduvalli, on the shore of a lake is the Lakshmi Devi Temple which is one of the earliest Hoysala Temples. It was built by a merchant named Kullahana Rahuta and his wife Sahaja Devi in 1114 AD under the rule of Vishnuvardhana.