Hoysala Temples, Part 2


BY: SUN STAFF - 3.3 2020

Sri Adimadhava

A serial presentation of Vaisnava temples built by the Hoysala empire.

Adimadhavaraya Temple

The Adimadhavaraya temple is located in Belluru village, in the Nagamangala Taluk of Mandya District, Karnataka. The temple is dedicated to Adi-Madhava, one of the 24 Forms of Mahavishnu. The temple, built in 1269 A.D., is the abode of several very beautiful Deities. In this temple we find compelling evidence of the understanding at that time that Lord Visnu is, in fact, Sri Krsna Himself.

Adimadhavaraya temple is a traditional Hoysala three-celled (trikutacala plan, raised on a stellate parapet, like the Saumya Kesava temple in Nagamangala in our last feature. The presiding Deity, Sri Adimadhava, is in the main cell of the sanctum. The Lord holds chakra in His upper right hand and shanka in the upper left, gada in His lower right hand padma in His lower left.

In the cell to the left of Adi-Madhava is a beautiful Deity of Janardhana, and to His left is Venugopala.

Sri Venugopala

There are two additional Deities residing at Adimadhavaraya temple that were originally housed in the nearby Mulesingeshwara temple (Kshetra palaka), built in 1224 A.D. Mulesingeshwara is also referred to in the records in association with Sindheshwara, Lakshminarayana and Gopala, the Deities who once resided there. Today, Laksmi-Narayana and Gopala (Venugopala) from Mulesingeshwara are installed at the Adimadhavaraya temple, while Sindheshwara (shivalinga) remains as the presiding deity at Mulesingeshwara.

Adimadhava Temple, Belluru

Although it was long stated that Adimadhavaraya temple was built in 1284 A.D., it is now known that the temple and tank were constructed in 1269 A.D by Perumale Dandanayaka. A record dated 1269 A.D. from Belluru refers to the Deities of this temple as Trikuta Lakshminarayana, Gopala, Kodi Madhava. Another record refers to Prasanna Madhava, Ramakrishna and Varada Allalanatha. Yet another record confirms that the name of the Deity became Adimadhava from about 17th Century onwards. This would seem to indicate that the Laksmi-Narayana and Gopala Deities from Mulesingeshwara arrived at Adimadhavaraya temple not long after the temple was erected.

Sri Venugopala

The tall Deity of four-armed Adi Madhava sits on a garuda pedestal in the main garbhagriha, with Dasavatara carvings above Him. The Venugopala and Janardhana Deities are also super-excellent. Venugopala and Laksminarayana reside in more recently built rooms on either side of the main mukhamantapa. In the prakara of the temple to the left is Saumyanayaki, and to the right is the Ranganayaki shrine, which houses sculptures of goddesses of the Vijayanagar regime.

Sri Adimadhava

It's very interesting to note that Saumyanayaki resides here. She was also Sri Krsna's consort, residing with Him at nearby Saumya Kesava temple. It's common in South Indian temples to find the Lord's consort not in the main sanctum, but rather in a nearby niche, often just outside the sanctum. In this case, it appears that Saumyanayaki is actually the consort of Adi Madhava (Visnu), and not the consort of Venugopala, otherwise She might well be in the main sanctum with Venugopala, just as Laksmi-Narayana reside there, on either side of the presiding Deity. Should temple records be found which confirm the fact that Saumyanayaki was installed at Adimadhavaraya before the Mulesingeshwara Deities arrived at there, this would seem to be proof positive that Adimadhava Visnu was understood to be Sri Krsna Himself. Otherwise, Srimati Saumyanayaki would not be the consort of Sri Krsna at Saumya Kesava temple.

Sri Janardhana (Varadaraja)

The main garbhagriha of Adimadhavaraya temple is on a base structure of 32 angles and has Dravidian shikhara. The walls are simple, with ornate pillars and miniature shikaharas. The antarala has festive sculptures made of brass. The pillars and the ceilings in the navaranga have beautiful sculptures of Ramanuja, Ganapati and the Alwars. The doorframe of the temple has Gajalaksmi in the lintel and dvarapalas (doorkeepers) on either side.

There is a karugallu (big boulder) very near the temple, comprised of two big soapstone boulders. A record dated 1269 A.D. refers to the practice of installing a Brahma on the boulder and local devotees worshipping him during the winter festival (karuhabba).

Sri Sri Laksmi-Narayana