As my car moved from the smooth road of Hassan-Belur to pot hole ridden tracks, my wife was not very happy. It was hard for her to believe that there can be a great Temple in that village. The feeling of seeing an ordinary Temple was looming large on her mind. It was normal as most people are not aware of Temples other than Belur and Halebid in Hassan district.
The village road climbed through a hillock providing some nice view of a lake and village. As we entered the village, the road narrowed and barely enough for my car to pass. There were few diversions for that small road, but villagers were there to assist us to get the right path. As the car stopped in front of the Temple, my wife exclaimed “It is great!!”
It is the Lakshmi Devi Temple that is the main attraction here. Being next to a lake, the area around the Temple looks picturesque. Built in 1114 AD, by a merchant called Kullahana Rahuta and his wife Sahaja Devi, this is one of earliest Hoysala Temple.
The caretaker of the Temple, Putta Swamy showed immense interest in explaining about the Temple. That was welcome as we knew very few things about the Temple.
One of the striking differences from the other Hoysala Temples is that the Temple does not stand on a platform. It is a Chatuskhuta construction meaning that there are four towers. The main garbagruha of the Temple has Lakshmi Devi. A bit of rarity that is not found in other Temples is that main Temple consists of four garbagruhas. One of them has Lakshmi Devi idol as mentioned before and other three contains the idols of Kali, Vishnu and Bhoota natha. It would mean that a person cannot pray to a God by lying down because his leg would then point to other God which is considered as a disrespect to the God.
In the vestibule of Kali shrine, there are two betalas beautifully carved. This is the only Hoysala Temple that has Betala statue.
The ceilings of the Temple contains one of the beautiful designs which are the main highlight of the Temple. One can easily miss this but a guide would take care of explaining those beautiful ceilings. Next to the main shrine is a small Temple of Bhairava.
The lake is at the back of the Temple. Silence, still waters and light breeze and view of the hills far away provide solace to anyone.
How to reach Doddagadavalli:
Doddagadavalli is located on the road between Hassan and Belur. 14 kms from Hassan is a village Kalkere. A diversion to the left on a village road would take to the village. This village road is about 3 kms.
More photos can be found here.