Lakshmi Devi temple, Doddagaddavalli

Lakshmi Devi temple, Doddagaddavalli

The Lakshimi Devi temple is located in Doddagaddavalli, a village in Hassan District of Karnataka state, India. It is located 16 km from Hassan and lies on the route to the famous temple town, Belur. The town's main attraction, the Lakshmi Devi temple, was built by the Hoysalas in the year 1114 CE during the rule of king Vishnuvardhana. The temple is situated amidst pristine coconut plantations and has a lake at its rear which adds to the scenic beauty.

Lakshmi Devi temple

It is one of the earliest known temples built in Hoysala style and is built with Chloritic schist or Soapstone. The temple does not stand on a jagati (platform) which became popular in later Hoysala temples. The temple is said to have been built by a merchant called Kullahana Rahuta and his wife Sahaja Devi. The temple is a chatuskuta construction (four towers) built inside 7 ft tall stone enclosure with the entrance through a porch which is supported by circular lathe turned pillars. Three of the vimanas (shrines) have a common square mantapa (hall) with 9 bays. The fourth vimana is connected to the mantapa via an oblong extension consisting of 2 bays. The extension also has two lateral entrances into the temple. All the vimana have their original tower (superstructure) intact. The towers are in Kadamba nagara style. Each vimana has a vestibule connecting it to the central mantapa. On top of the vestibule is its own tower called sukanasi (or nose which looks like low extension of the main tower over the shrine). The sukanasi is a tier lower than the main tower over the shrine. All the four sukanasi are intact and so are the kalasa of the main towers. The sukanasi holds the Hoysala emblem of Sala fighting the tiger. Of the four towers, three are undecorated and they look stepped pyramidal with a pile of dented horizontal mouldings with the kalasa on top. The fourth tower is very well decorated which is typical of Hoysala designs and is the tower of the main shrine that houses the Lakshmi Devi image.

The mantapa is open and square. The reason for the square plan is the presence of shrines on all four sides of the mantapa with no side open for staggering. There is a separate fifth shrine of Bhairava, an avatar of Lord Shiva. The shrine is complete with its own vimana and tower with a kalasa on top, a nose and Hoysala emblem on the it. Another unusual feature of the temple is the existence of four more shrines at each corner of the temple complex with two sides of each shrine attached to the courtyard wall. Each of these minor shrines has its own tower, kalasa and Hoysala emblem. On the whole the temple complex has nine towers which is unusual for a Hoysala temple.

Overall the temple has the older Hoysala style where there is only one eaves running round the temple where the main towers meet the wall of the shrine. At the base of the wall of the shrines are 5 mouldings and between the mouldings and the eaves, the usual panels of Hoysala sculptures depicting Hindu gods, goddesses and their attendants is missing. Instead, the whole space is taken up by decorative miniature towers on pilasters. The ceiling of the main hall is supported by 18 lathe turned pillars. Inside there are two sculptures of large demonic living corpses called betala. The main shrine facing east has a 3 ft tall image of goddess Lakshmi with an attendant on either side. In her four hands, the image holds a conch in the upper right hand, a chakra (discuss) in the upper left, a rosary in the lower right and a mace in the lower left. In the shrines facing north, south and west are the idols of Kali, Vishnu, and Boothanatha Linga (the universal symbol of Shiva). A sculpture of Tandaveswara (dancing Shiva) exists in the circular panel at the center of the ceiling of the mantapa. Other important sculptures are those of Gajalakshmi (form of Lakshmi), Thandaveshwara and Yoganarasimha (form of Vishnu) found on the doorway of the temple.

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