Brahmeshvara Temple: 850 year old hidden Hoysala gem near Bangalore - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Brahmeshvara Temple: 850 year old hidden Hoysala gem near Bangalore

Maha Vishnu, his consort and other sculptures on the walls of Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

It is a fine specimen of 12th century Hoysala temple architecture. It’s Chenna Keshava statue can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. And it even features some elements of Chola temple architecture. But, in spite of such high stature, this temple has fallen into disrepair. Except for daily puja and mangala aarti, there is hardly any maintenance here. It seems like the government has turned a blind eye towards this gorgeous temple. Weeds have overgrown the temple campus and even some statues from the temple have been stolen. I am talking about the offbeat Brahmeshvara temple, a 850 year old hidden Hoysala gem only a few hours away from Bangalore.

The gorgeous entrance to the ancient Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

As soon as one enters the temple campus, one can notice the Hoysala style of temple architecture with intricate carvings and its beautiful location next to a large lake. But, as you get closer to the temple, you realize that unlike the other Hoysala temples that are built on an elevated pedestal, this temple is located on the ground level. And when you do the pradakshinam and enter the garbhagriha via the vestibule and the sukhanasi, you cannot stop but wonder with amazement at the Chola style of architecture inside.

Appreciating the carvings on the exterior walls of Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

A mini version of the Brihadeeswara temple can be seen in the left side of the Sukhanasi, which basically shows us some influence from the Chola style of temple architecture. Another example of Chola style temple architecture is the sculpture below. This sculpture shows 3 images or 3 gods in one sculpture. If you close the left and right side of the sculpture and look at it, it looks like Suryanarayan. If you close the center and right, it looks like Maha Vishnu and if you close the left and center, it looks like Lord Shiva. This style of carving is usually seen in Chola temples and hence that is a special sculpture to see in the Brahmeshvara temple at Kikkeri.

Suryanarayan, Vishnu and Shiva in one sculpture, but in different views

Other noteworthy sculptures to see in this temple are Ugra Narasimha, Kirtimukha or gargoyle faces, Dvarapalas, intricately carved pillars with jewellery designs, nandi facing the garbha griha, lady applying shringar, Lakshmi Narasimha, Ugra Ganesha, Mahisasura Mardini, Kala Bhairava and Chenna Keshava. One can also see all Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva together with their consorts on the outside temple walls as Uma Maheshwar, Lakshmi Narayana and Brahma Saraswati.

Varaha avaatar and other sculptures at Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

The inside of the temple is much better than the outside as it hasn’t been weather beaten. The doorway carvings from the sukhanasi to the garbhagriha are mind blowing. Also worth studying are the navaranga ceiling work and the exquisite madanika statues on top of the four pillars of the Navarangas. One of these madanikas is believed to be a lady of foreign origin.

Enjoying the beautiful sculptures at Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

The best way to enjoy this ekakuta temple is do pradakshinam on top of pradakshinam. See the sculptures up close and then see them from a bit far away. Each location seems to offer you with a different perspective as that is how many carvings and sculptures there are on the temple wall. See if you can spot the animal sculpture that looks like an elephant from one direction and as a lion from the other.

Intricately carved Nandi at Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

See if you can spot the gargoyle faces or the man of foreign origin. See if you can spot the differences in Brahmesvara temple when compared to the other Hoysala temples. And see if you spot anything rare or interesting. I spent a good 3 hours here, but I am pretty sure I missed out on so many sculptures. After all, there are so many of them.

The nandi view of the Dwara palikas and the entrance to the garbha griha, Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

The large Kikkeri lake right in front of the temple, the swaying coconut palms, the farm lands and the overall rustic atmosphere with the tiled roof houses add to the overall glamour of Kikker’s Brahmeshvara temple.

Intricate jewellery designs on the pillars of Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

If you like to discover offbeat or hidden temples or if you are looking for a unique day trip from Bangalore, do mark Kikkeri’s 850 year old Brahmeshvara temple in your bucket-list. It is definitely a hidden gem. All I wish is that the government cares for it and restores it to its original beauty. A much recommended Hoysala temple destination. And let me know what you think once you have seen it for yourself.

Stunning Hoysala temple - Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

How to reach here:

There are two option to reach the Brahmeshvara temple at Kikkeri.

Option 1 via Mysore highway: Bangalore –> Maddur-> Mandya –> Srirangapatna –> Krishnarajapet –> Kikkeri. You can also opt to leave the highway at either Maddur or Mandya and take the inner roads.

Option 2 via Hassan highway: Bangalore –> Nelamanagala –> Kunigal –: Channarayapatna –> Kikkeri

Mahisasura Mardini at Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

What to do if the temple is closed:

If you happen to reach the temple when it is closed, you can ask for the temple priest’s (Narasimha Murthy) house and ask them to open it. They will not just open the temple, but they will also tell you about the temple’s history and stories.

Shikhara of Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

Where to eat:

The nearest place to eat would be Krishnarajapet town. There are quite a few restaurants here. A good vegetarian restaurant option would be Hotel Rama Doss.

If you are heading back to the Hassan-Bangalore highway, you can find hotels at either Channapatna or on the highway to Bangalore.

Ugra Ganesha at the entrance of Brahmeshvara Temple, Kikkeri

Other beautiful Hoysala temples nearby:

1) Panchalingeshwara temple at Govindanahalli

2) Sri Lakshmi Narayanaswamy temple at Hosaholalu

3) Mallikaarjuna temple at Basaralu

4) Sri Lakshmi Narasimha temple at Nuggehalli

5) Sadashiva temple at Nuggehalli

6) Chenna Keshava temple at Somnathpur

12th century Brahmeshvara Temple at Kikkeri built by the Hoysalas

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) The temple town of Melukote

2) The panoramic Hemagiri Falls

3) The magnificent Mysore palace

4) The riverine island and temple town of Srirangapatna

5) The Jain pilgrimage town of Shravanabelagola

6) Ranganathittu bird sanctuary on the Cauvery

7) The Incredible world of toys at Channapatna

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