Basaralu is a village of Mandya district, famous for the Mailkarjuna temple and viragals (hero stones) .We inquired about the temple and did not get any positive response . It was quite surprising to know that most of the locals were unaware of the existence of such a temple. Finally ,one person asked us if we were looking out for the Shiva temple and directed us towards the same.We reached a temple named Kala Bhairava Temple (which was not the one we were looking for) which had viragals on one of its sides and a Peepal tree, surrounded by hero stones.
|Kala bhairava temple|
The specialty of this temple is the festival of fire crossing, called "Bhairava Konda", held on a Monday prior to Ugadi Festival (mostly in March). One more attraction during this festival is " Kiccha Masti " ritual performed in memory of Masti . There are 7 viragals found near the Peepal tree and 2 viragals opposite to the tree .
|Ashes of the fire crossing|
We tried to get information on Malikarjuna Temple . Luckily, we got directions to this temple from an old man who was confident about this place.We imagined this temple to be just like the temple we visited. But, this place offered us something we had never imagined about . It is sad but true, that places like these are much less talked about and appreciated . Places like these are a pride to our state . It is a true representation of our rich culture and heritage and a fine example of architecture of the olden days . The skill and patience involved in building such masterpieces is just unimaginable . We were blown away by its beauty . The sculptures were created with great finesse and technique . The figures are close to perfection with every little detail being highlighted .
This temple was built by Harihara nayaka. He was Dandanayaka (in charge of armies) under the Hoysala King Imadi Narashima . The temple was built in the year 1235 AD for deity in the name of his father "Malikarjuna" and a kalyani (Tank) in the name of his mother "Gujjave".
|Gujjave Kere and Mantap|
The temple has beautiful Dravidian Shikhara on its main garbhagriha, which houses a "Balahari Shivalinga" and a beautiful lotus on the ceiling . The two small garbhagrihas facing each other, housed a "Naga Nagini" sculpture in one and the "Surya Deva" (Sun god) in the other. The vestibule has the symbol of Hoysala , Sala killing a lion .
|Shikhara and Hoysala Emblem|
There is a Bhairava sculpture in the garbhagriha of Chandikeshwara temple in the other corner of the temple complex . There is a twenty feet tall pillar opposite to the temple. The base of the temple has pattikas in the ascending order of elephants , horses with riders , Hoysala emblem , sculptures of Puranic episodes ,crocodiles and swans which is very similar to most of the Hoysala temples .
|Base of the temple|
On the walls, one can see sculptures of Samudra Manthana (Churning of sea ) , Shanmuga , Kalinga Mardana ,Keshav , Shiva-Parvathi riding Nandi , Ugranarashima killing Hiranyakashipu ,Hayagreva (god with horse head) , Dancing Lakshminarashima , Yoganarashima ,Abhayanarashima ,Lakshminaryana ,Surya Dev , Shiva wearing elephant skin , Harihara , Vishnu , Vamana , Bali Chakravarthi , Ganesha , Durgi with 18 arms , Nataraja , Bhairava , Vishnu riding Garuda ,Rati-Manmatha,Lord Brahma with his consort , 22 armed Shiva killing Andakasura , and many more, which were beyond our skill of identification .All these sculptures are beautiful , they are smaller and simpler than those found in other famous Hoysala temple ,but often not less in Sculptural quality .
|Kalinga Mardana and Keshav|
|Lord Shiva Paravathi riding Nandi|
|Ugranarashima Killing Hiranyakashipu|
|16 hand Durgi|
|Lord Brahma with his consort|
|16 armed Shiva Killing Andakasura|
Actually the first thing one notice after entering the Ardha Mantap is its Ceiling . Beautifully carved with Ashtadikpalas ( 8 deities protecting the eight quarters/directions of world ). East is represented by Indira on Airavata (White Elephant ) , South East by Agni on Mesha (Male Goat), South by Yama on Mahisha (Male buffalo) , South West by Nirurti on Ashwa (Horse) ,West by Varuna on Makara (the Crocodile),North west by Vayu on Mruga (Deer) , North by Kubera on Nara (Man) and North east by Ishana on Vrishbha (Bull).
|Ashtadikpalas on the ceiling|
|The information board|
Direction from Bangalore : Bangalore - Mandya (SH17)95 kms- right turn towards Chikka Mandya (7kms )-left turn toward Basaralu (23 kms) . Total Distance : about 130 kms .
Place maintained by ASI .Temple and surrounding are extreme well maintained.Keys with the neighboring house. No photography allowed inside the temple .
Trip date : 23 Oct 2010 .
Places to visit near by : Nagamangala ,Adichunchanagiri,Melukote, Mandya, Shravanabelagola , Chikka Mandya and so on .
References used :
1 Publications of Government of Karnataka on Mandya .
2 About Ashtadikpalas from Hindu blog