Balalingeshwara Temple, Balleshwara Village, Honnali Taluka, Davanagere District, Karnataka

A little-known architectural gem of the Hoysalas is the Balalingeshwara Temple (also known as Ballalingeshwara Temple) in Balleshwara village, north of the Honnali town which is situated on the bank of the Tungabhadra River. This temple might have been built by Maharaja Veera Ballala II in the late 12th century – early 13th century as the village appears to have been named after him.


The temple has the typical pillared mandapa with seating on two sides. There are lathe-turned pillars with the Hoysala crest as well as elaborately carved pillars with wide capitals. The roof panels are most remarkable with an array of intricately carved floral motifs within precisely designed geometric patterns.


The vestibule is supported by shiny pillars and has niches at the sides dedicated to Devi, Lord Ganesha and others. There are perforated walls with repetitive patterns and motifs. The lintel has a richly embellished panel with gods and goddesses, floral and foliage patterns, sages, musicians, apsaras and animals. Gajalakshmi is seated in the centre with an elephant on either side.


The temple is largely looked after by the locals who have done a magnificent job to renovate it and retain its former glory.


Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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