Rameshwara Temple, Keladi, Sagara Taluka, Shimoga District, Karnataka

Keladi, the first capital of the mighty Nayakas (who then came to be known as the Nayakas of Keladi) is dotted with glorious temples that showcase their artistic and architectural mastery. This imperial city has the famed Rameshwara Temple complex comprising of three temples that is deemed to be an outstanding example of 16th century architecture.


This temple complex has the Rameshwara Temple in the middle with the Veerabhadra Temple to its right and the Parvati Temple to its left. In plan, the Parvati Temple has been designed as a separate structure while the other two are designed as one and share a mukhamandapa. There are four entrances to this temple with two in the front and two on the sides.


The Rameshwara Temple was perhaps the first building constructed in the complex in greenish grey schist with a harmonious combination of Hoysala and Vijayanagara architectural elements. The temple has a mukhamandapanavaranga, pradikshana path around the garbha griha and the garbha griha.


There are beautiful sculptures of bhaktas on the eastern and western parts of the navaranga. Wooden statues of saints are also seen that are taken out during the rathotsavas. The front walls are adorned with miniature niches, miniature shikharas and miniature columns while the rear and sides are largely plain.


The Veerabhadra Temple has a spacious navaranga supported by richly embellished fluted pillars with seating on the sides. The sculptures, mouldings and ornamentation in this temple are a visual delight. The ceiling panels of this temple are nothing short of extraordinary with intricately carved lotus motifs and the legendary Gandabherunda taking centre stage. There are some very rare sculptures of gods in animal forms (head and body are animal – like) seen in this temple only.


The Parvati Temple is built both of stone and brick and has a garbha griha in which Parvati Devi has been consecrated. There are exquisite carvings of flowers, musical instruments and others in sandalwood on the ceiling of the mukhamandapa.


The Dwajasthambha is about 24 feet high and is profusely decorated on all the four sides. A stunning carving of Rani Chennamma paying obeisance to Lord Ganesha adorns the monolithic pillar.


Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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