Hoysala Temples, Part 5


Lord Sridhara

Apr 14, 2013 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Vaisnava temples built by the Hoysala empire.

Sridhara Temple at Javagallu

Along the highway connecting Belur and Halebid is the small village of Javagallu. Now an obscure spot on the map, Javagallu (Javagal) was once an active place of commerce under the Hoysala rulers. In 1250 A.D., Hoysala King Vira Someshwara constructed one of the region's most excellent temples there -- the Sridhara Temple of Lord Vishnu.

Located in the Arasikere talk of Hassan district, Karnataka, the Sridhara Temple at Javagallu is built on a Hoysala floor plant that was in use as early as 1121 A.D., in the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebid. By the 13th Century many temples in this style were coming up, at Javagallu, Aralaguppe, Hosaholalu and Somanathapura.

Dvarapalas (doorkeepers) at Sridhara Temple, Javagallu

The presiding Deity of Javagallu is a very unique aspect of the Lord, in His Sridhara form. Sridhara is one of many names for Lord Visnu, meaning 'consort of Laksmi', and it is mentioned in Sri Vishnu Shodasa-nama-stotram:

    Evoke, recall, retain and remember the Sixteen names of the Lord when placed in any situation. Meditate upon the Lord with His several names like Vishnu, Janardhana, Padmanabha, Prajapati, Chakradhara, Trivikrama, Narayana, Sridhara, Govinda, Madhusoodhana, Narasimha, Jalasayana, Varaha, Raghunandana, Vamana, Madhava every morning so that all sins are annihilated and the presence of Lord Vishnu is felt all around.

The Sridhara Temple has three sanctums (trikuta). The presiding Deity residing in the center sanctum is Sri Sridhara, a rare form found in no other Hoysala temple as the presiding Deity. In an adjacent sanctum to the south are Sri Sri Laksmi-Narasimha, and in the third cell, to the north is Sri Venugopala. Although Lord Sridhara is not found elsewhere in Hoysala temples, there are others, most notably the 18th Century Sridhar temple at Sonamukhi, Bankura, West Bengal, and the much earlier Sridhara temple in the Changu Narayana complex, Nepal, built in the late 9th Century.

Sri Sri Laksmi-Narasimhadeva

Leading off from Lord Sridhara's sanctum is an antarala (vestibule), which connects to the navaranga. The navaranga consists of nine ankanas, divided by round pillars, the nine ceilings being concentric circles. Two niches in the navaranga contain Ganesha and Chamundi. A high compound wall surrounds the temple and a mahadwara constructed during the Vijayanagar period is the main and only entrance to the temple.

Sri Krsna and Lord Brahma

The temple basement has six ornately carved carved friezes with elephants, horses, narrative scenes, makaras, hamsas and decorative scrollwork. Among the scenes are pastimes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas.

Although there is no inscription establishing the date worship began at the temple, it is known that the highly skilled sculptor Mallitamma was a central artisan here. He helped to create temple sculptures at numerous temples in the area over a 70 year period, from Amritapura to Somanathapura.

Sri Venugopala

The outer walls exhibit the catur-vimsati murti, the 24 forms of Lord Vishnu. Elsewhere are images of Lord Brahma, Harihara, Parvati and others.

As described by Hoysala temple historian Karma Siddhanta, "the central vimana has staggering walls projecting forward to indicate the composition of pancharatha formation, with a three-tala tower vaulting high crowned by a modern kalasa. The other two vimanas are identical to the central vimana except for the latter's tower and sukanasi."


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