Rameshwara Temple, Kudli, Shimoga District, Karnataka

Kudli, often referred to as Dakshina Kashi is situated at the confluence of the Tunga and Bhadra rivers. This sacrosanct kshetra is dotted with stunning temples from the time of the Kadambas of Banavasi. Successive dynasties like the Badami Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas of Malkhed, Kalyani Chalukyas, Kalachuris, Seunas, Hoysalas, the Vijayanagara Empire and the Nayakas of Keladi left their imprint in the edifices they built.


Sadly, a sizeable number of these temples have either been desecrated beyond recognition by Muslim invaders or are in a state of disrepair. The few that have managed to survive have been built largely by the Nayakas of Keladi and the Hoysalas. One will find exquisitely carved sculptures and panels depicting the stories of the PuranasMahabharat and Ramayana uncared for in various parts of the village and near the river banks.


A lesser – known architectural jewel of the Hoysalas built roughly in the 12th century close to the famous Sri Chintamani Narasimha Temple is the Rameshwara Temple. Similar in plan to the Sri Chintamani Narasimha Temple, this east – facing temple has a navaranga, sukanasi and garbha griha.


This ekakuta structure (single shrine) has plain external facades though the gopura is adorned with the Hoysala emblem, repetitive elements and auspicious Hindu iconography. The navaranga has three entrances in the east, north and south and is supported by lathe – turned polished pillars.


A magnificent statue of Lord Nandi faces the Shiva Linga consecrated in the sanctum sanctorum. This is perhaps one of the earliest experiments of the Hoysalas as the temple is bereft of the rich embellishments and profuse decoration that one sees in the temples built later on.


There is an unfinished temple called Brahmeshwara Temple (Brahmalingeshwara Temple) also known as Swarga Mandap within the premises. Besides these, Sangameshwara Temple and Harihara Temple at the sangama are worth a visit.


Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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