The serene green landscape of Koravangala is a treat to the eyes as well as soul as you travel 12 km from Haasan (in Karnataka India) to the Bucheshwara temple. The place is dotted with historical architectural specimens albeit in a state of neglect along with coconut trees and small red-tiled houses.
A Little More About Bucheshwara Temple
The Bucheshwara temple complex has survived well! Unlike some other South Indian temples, it is not huge or imposing. It seems modest, warmly welcoming and simple yet elegant. Very well maintained with neat and clean premises.
The temple complex was built in the 12th Century, when the Hoysala dynasty was at its peak, during the regime of Veer Ballal, the most notable monarch of the Hoysala Empire. Surprisingly, the temple gets its name neither from the gods, it is dedicated to nor the monarch. Bucheshwara was a Brahmin officer serving the Hoysala king who constructed it. His name appears prominently in the inscriptions on the temple.
From a distance, the structure looks like a miniature twin tower done in Hoysala Architecture of the 12th century. Two shrines facing each other, joined by two asymmetric halls called ‘mandapas’- a closed one and the other open. The east facing temple is dedicated to Surya (God Sun) and the west facing temple has the Shivlinga- Symbol of Lord Shiva.
Around the complex, scattered on the beautifully maintained lawn are erect stone ‘sheela’ depicting reliefs of warriors and animals.
At the southern entrance stand two elephant balustrades. Between them are an ornate lintel and a huge heavily decorated door. The outer walls are filled with small intricate carvings of elephants, horses, and images of deities with their attendants. Large images of Gods; Maheshwara, Narsimha, Brahma along with Goddesses Saraswati, Durga fill the walls. There is a bass relief of Lord Krishna as well. There are scenes from the Hindu epics adorning these walls. Some scenes depict animals eating other animals- rather unusual, I thought! Most of these are carved in soft soapstone making the detailed craftsmanship breathtakingly beautiful.
On top stand two main towers, one over each shrine. The halls in between them have no towers above. The biggest tower over the Surya temple has a Kalash (decorative water pot) on top and the Hoyasala crest– a warrior stabbing a lion. There is so much pride reflected in that crest.
According to the Hindu customs, you first go around the temple in a clockwise direction. You have to remove your shoes and walk in bare feet. The cool smooth stone touches your feet and your breathing slows down as you feel really in touch with the earth. As you walk in through the halls with pillars with fluting and some carvings of motifs, the tranquillity seeps in. One look up shows you the underside of the domes, once again beautifully carved. It feels like time forgot this place. By design, you are made to meander through the various halls and slowly reach the idol. This is the time to shift from the outer world to the inner world, to leave the worldly worries outside and concentrate on the god within. And it works! By the time you zigzag your way to the sanctum sanctorum you definitely are in another world at another time- a world of peace and harmony.
The Shiva temple has a Shivlinga, symbol of fertility and traditional symbol of Shiva. A relatively much smaller space with a low entrance. But Hindu temples were not meant for ‘seeing’ the deities as much as soaking the positive energies. So, literally, just hang around and soak in the high-frequency positive energies and all the exquisite beauty around!
Photo by Nicolas Vollmer