Trimurti Narayana Temple, Bandalike, Shikaripura Taluka, Shimoga District, Karnataka

Bandalike in its time would have been a splendid city being the capital of the Nagarakhanda Seventy region of the Kadambas. This ancient city has a rich history and is dotted with stunning temples though a sizeable number of them are in ruins.


A marvellous edifice of the former royal city built by the Western Chalukyas in what is known as the later Chalukyan period is the Trimurti Temple (also known as Trimurti Narayana Temple). Built around 1160 CE as per inscriptions found, this temple is a fine example of the artistic and architectural mastery of the Kalyani Chalukyas.


The temple is designed as a trikutachala (three – celled structure) and is a perfect illustration of elegance, grandeur and symmetry of the 12th century. The temple originally had stone gopuras over the three shrines.


Over time, the gopura over the western shrine has collapsed while the other two have managed to survive the ravages of the weather and time. Interestingly, the gopuras as well as the external facades have offsets that are largely simple in decoration with miniature niches, repetitive linear patterns and floral motifs.


The three shrines have a sukhanasi with ornamental doorways and niches in the sides. The temple has a Shiva Linga consecrated in the western and southern shrine while a figure of Lord Vishnu has been installed in the northern shrine.


The most remarkable feature of this temple is the Simhalalata carved in the front of the western shrine. There is an empty niche in front of this carving that originally had a deity. Historians opine that this vacant niche might have housed a sculpture of the Trimurti as the temple is named after them.


On closer inspection, the lion’s head is a sculptural masterpiece with prominent eyebrows, a large protruding tongue and three teeth visible on either side of the mouth holding a Yāḷi tightly on either end, in whose mouths is the standing figure of a soldier with a shield in one hand and a dagger in the other. There is a delicate floral decoration below the head on either side that spreads from the bottom downwards to the Yāḷi ‘s feet that rests on the fanned-out decoration on either side.


There are figures in pairs riding their respective vahanas symbolizing the cardinal directions seen along with a panel of musicians in different poses playing various musical instruments in the bottom.


There are many stones depicting war heroes and battle scenes.


Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: