One of the most happening highways for Bangalore people is the Bangalore-Mysore highway. A lot of travellers hit this road during weekends to spend some time rejuvenating themselves. This highway leads to a lot of beautiful destinations and for bikers and driving enthusiasts, I must say this road is a must experience. A lot of beautiful attractions beckons us while we travel through this road. A lot of temples, resorts, water parks, wildlife sanctuaries, rivers; this highway has it all.
Relief on the southern shrine of the wall of the temple - PC : HoysalaPhotos
One such temple that calls for a visit on this highway is the Panchalingeshwara temple in Mandya, fondly known as the sugar town of Karnataka. At a distance of 4km from Kikkeri, in a village called Govindanahalli is this magnificent Pancha-kuta (five shrines) architectural legend of the Hoysala architecture. Do not be surprised to know that this temple is one of the few surviving five-shrines style of architecture built during the reign of Hoysala dynasty.
Legend says that the temple has its major contributions from the known sculptors of Hoysala time, Ruvari Mallitamma and the temple was built by the Hoysala king Veera Someshwara in the 13th century. The temple initially had four shrines and was built in the Dravidian style, however, another shrine was added to it facing east to bring it under the Panchakuta architectural style. The uniqueness of the Panchalingeshwara temple at Mandya is such that, it does not have a platform which is a signature style of the Hoysala architecture. The temple has five Shiva Lingas named the Ishanyeshwara, the Tatpurusheshwara, the Aghoreshwara, the Vamadeveshwara and the Sadyojateshwara and the same is linked to the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata.
Carvings of SaptaMatrikas PC : Dineshkannambadi
There are intricate carvings on the exterior walls of the temples. You may get to see the ten headed demon king, Ravana of the epic Ramayana being carved on one of the walls along with the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. While the shrines are solely dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the exterior walls of the temples have carvings of different forms of Lord Vishnu and the carvings of Mandakinis, thus adding to another unique feature. There are intricate Dravidian style carvings on the temple tower and the design elements on every tower is different from one another. You may also get to see a carving of the five and seven-hooded snakes along with the sculptures of Goddess Parvathi, Lord Subhramanya, Brahma, Ganesha and dancing Saraswathi inside the temple.
There are separate shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Mahishasuramardhini, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. The temple is spread across a vast space and is part of the Archaeological Survey of India. It is well-maintained.
How to reach Govindanahalli?
Distance from Bangalore is 168 km, there are a lot of buses that commute to Kikkeri and from there the temple is at a distance of 4kms. You may hire an auto rickshaw at Kikkeri to reach the Panchalingeshwara temple.
So, I guess its time to take a tour and praise the beauty of the surviving legends of the Hoysala Architecture!