Hoysala Trails - Koramangala to Koravangala


The day started quite early. I gave a call to Prem at 6:20 to check if he has got up. By 7 o'clock I was on BMTC bus No. 171 to majestic. We reached KSRTC bus stand at 7:40 AM, and found a bus to Hassan and it started off at 7:40. Plan was to visit Koravangala, Mosale and Nuggehalli. Over a period one month I had done some googling on Hoysala temples. Hoysala kings who ruled a large part of Karnataka during --- had built around 350 architectural marvels. Out of that around 90 have been identified and around 30(?) are being maintained by archeological society of India. Belur and Halebid are the most visited of the Hoysala temples. I got a list of 15 places from index of the book by Gerrard Foekema. Also there was good amount information got from Hassan district web site.
I forgot to take a print out of my research compilation so we were left with only names of the three places. While Talking to the conductor we found that the Bus will reach Hassan at 11:45 if there is no traffic jam near Nelamangala. So we gave rethink on our plan and decided to visit Nuggehalli some other day, as it was 55 km from Hassan. We thought of visiting Mosale (8 km from Hassan) and Koravangala (12 km from Hassan). There was no significant traffic jam and around 10:00 am we reached Bellur Cross and had breakfast. The hotel had nothing except idli-vada and rice bath. For the hungry souls the idli-vada tasted very well. While having breakfast Prem realized that he has lost his mobile. Last three times we went on a trip we had lost something or other. It started with Som’s comb, then my mobile charger and now Prem’s mobile. Its started to drizzle around Chennarayapatna and it continued till we reached Hassan at 12:00 PM.
We asked a person from KSRTC about Mosale and Koravangala, the reply was which Mosale and Koravangala? There are so many ... He directed us to inquiry office. There we were told that the last bus to Mosale left at 11:30 AM and next bus is only at 4:00 PM. But there are lots of buses to very close to Koravangala. All the buses going to Arisekere stop near Koravangala. Our previous conductor helped us to find the bus and again when we were taking the tickets same question popped up which Koravangala. The conductor was trying to enjoy his job by cracking jokes and being enthused interacting with passengers. Wonder.. did he read "Fish", can author a similar book in Kannada.

Country side next to the temple

We got down at Koravangala and one of the co-passengers who got down at the same place showed as the way to the temple. To our surprise there was a big poster of the temple and just besides the bus stop. Prem was expecting a ruined temple in the dilapidated state got excited.

We walked down the curvy road for one and half kilometers through the serene countryside. The road was so narrow that only one omni can go at a time and we came across couple of them. The wind was blowing heavily and at one point Prem was walking sideways! On our left side we had fields till our eye range could see and on our right side a big lake, which was having, waves due to the heavy wind. There were plenty of common mynas and occasionally we saw egret and herons.
And then we saw the temple... with proper fencing and 2 boys who were coming from school fell down from their bicycle. We tendered help to lift the bicycles and guys were very happy. They just followed us and we came to the locked compound. One of the guys offered to help us by taking us to the so-called guard of the temple. We started following him and by the time we entered the hamlet the word was out "Photo thegiyor bandidare" And we had a bunch of 10 children coming behind us. Mr. Venkataramiah, "district tourist guide", accompanied us to the temple.

Children of Koravangala

As we entered the temple compound the kids were all ready to pose for us and there was competition to occupy the strategic points like the elephants back and the feet of big idols. Prem obliges and took some snaps of kids and they were overjoyed to see thier photos on the camera. Our guide started off with explaining the Hoysala history and the "Pratijna Kallu" which was the root for temple. As per he inscription on that stone document, the area was ruled by Cholas and Butiraja had a fight with cholas and he lost his 2 sons the battle but won the battle. Then ascented on the throne and took oath to build the temple. In the oath taking part Buchiraja and his wife are depicted and the next step they are worshipping Lor d Shiva.
Next he explained how Hoysalas were following Atharav Veda and how that is depicted in their temple architecture and the sculptures. Facing north was the beautiful idol of Marthanda Bairavi, which the king used to worship before the battles. There was small shrine of Biravi, which was locked; this had uniquely carved "Dwarapalakas" with very different ammunition. On the front side there was a Ganesha idol with six hands. Our guide explained the story behind birth of Ganesha for 20 minutes. I guess for a person who does not know much about India this would have been fascinating, Prem was all attention and I was just waiting when it will get over.

Because of Prem’s questions somehow the guide felt that Prem was interested in knowing multiple stories (“Siddantha” as per the guide) about the idols. And explained two different versions Indradumn’s story. Next to that was a food chain (power chain ?) with a stag being swallowed by python. Elephant was harassing python. A Lion was trying to kill the Elephant and Mythical animal of “Sharaba”(Indian version of the Chinese Dragon) trying to kill Lion. The “Sharaba” was getting hacked by another mythical character “Ganda Berunda”(A two headed powerful Bird, which also happens to be the royal sign of Mysore Maharajs and K.S.R.T.C) Overwhelmed by Prem’s attention our guide started seeing “Darwins evolution theory” being depicted there !

There was also beautiful depiction of Prahalad Charitha on the southern wall. Among other notable sculptures was the Varahi(Note this is female form of Varaha Avatar of Vishnu), Kodanda Rama (On the south side), Varaha Avatar (West side) , Krishna , Sarswathi (On North side). This temple also has the Hoysala emblem on the top of the temple.

Then we went inside the temple as it was getting late and also there was drizzle. All the ceilings were carved intricately. Inside there are idols of Sapta Matrika, Sarswathi and Surya. Surya and Sarswathi are carved with details and one could see even the nails in the fingers.

There is also Nandi which can be rotated. We could not visit other two temples, which were covered by plant growths. Our guide told us that during summers other two temples are also cleaned up. Buchishwara temple is maintained by the central government agencies where as other two temples are maintained by the state government agencies. Some of the texts say that other temples were built by King Buchi’s brothers. As per the Guide the temples were build tby the Chola kings.
We hurried left the place at 4:30 and had a late lunch in Hassan at 5:00 PM. We caught the 5:30 PM bus to Bangalore and were back in Bangalore by 9:45 PM.
Hoysala Trails - Koravangala
Oct 8, 2006 - 25 Photos