Amrutheshwara Temple, also known as the Uttam Amruteshwara Temple is located in Amruthapura village in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. The temple built in 1196 CE by Amriteshwara Dandanayaka (commander) under the Hoysala king Veera Ballala II. He also established a brahmanpuri of 24 brahmin families around the temple.
The temple stands beside the canal leading from Gangavati to Devghat and the towers along with the pillars are in dilapidated condition.
This an ancient Amriteshwar and Ganesha temple built during the Vijayanagara period, and this temple built on a hill with ten rows of stone foundations. Below this, the Vijayanagara upper and lower-level canals constructed. Now due to water leakage in the canal, the stones attached to the walls collapsed and fell into the canal.
The government has given adequate grants only to Hampi. However, there are accusations that the temples of the Vijayanagara period neglected. Now the government has given crores of rupees for the repair of the upper-level canal and Vijayanagara canal.
It felt that if the Department of Archeology and Antiquities goes ahead with the restoration of such old temples, the temples of the Vijayanagar period will get a revival.
Significance of Amrutheshwara Temple
During the installation of Pampa Virupaksheswara Murti, the deity of the Vijayanagara Empire, Ishwara Lingams with different names installed in eight directions at Hampi. Vanibhadreshwar temple built in Devghat of Gangavati taluk on the line of Amriteshwar and Yegugudda. On the occasion of Shivratri, there is still a tradition of devotees gathering at Hampi Virupaksha to have a darshan of the eight Ishwara lingams. Such an important temple on the verge of collapse and its protection is necessary.
arts, which encouraged the Hoysala era known as an important period in south India’s cultural excellence in the field of art, architecture, and religion. The kingdom mainly remembered today for the Hoysala architecture. More than a hundred living temples spread all over Karnataka. The Hoysala rulers also patronized the fine flourishing of literature in Kannada and Sanskrit.
The architecture of Amrutheshwara Temple
Modern interest in Hoysalas is due to their patronage of art and architecture rather than their military conquests. Tej temple construction across the state was completed despite repeated threats from the Pandyas in the south and the Senas Yadavas in the north. His architectural style, a branch of the Western Chalukya style, shows the distinctive Dravidian influence. The Hoysala architectural style has been described as Carnatic Dravidian, distinct from the traditional Dravidian, and is considered an independent architectural tradition with many unique features.
A distinctive feature of Hoysala temple architecture is its attention to exquisite detail and skilled craftsmanship. Hoysala temple sculpture emphasized fragility and craftsmanship in its focus on depicting feminine beauty, grace and physique. Hoysala artists achieved exceptional craftsmanship with the use of soapstone (chloritic schist), a soft stone, as a basic building and sculpture material. This stone has the property of hardening after coming in contact with the atmosphere.
When approaching the temple, it was giving a deceptively small appearance, but one will be amazed by the number of wonders that lie within it. The temple is an Ekakoot Mandir (one with a temple) dedicated to Shiva and is built close to the Bhadra river reservoir.
The temple has a boundary wall adorned with unique equally spaced circular carvings, which have remained in their original condition.
Along with the idol of Shiva, which was brought to Nepal from the Gandaki river, a beautiful idol of Sharda Devi is installed on its right side.
Nandi (bull) is his vehicle (vehicle), gatekeeper, companion, and head of all the Ganas (attendants) of Shiva. (In Purans the Gaṇas are described as attendants of Shiva and they live on Mount Kailash. Ganesha appointed as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha’s title gaṇeśa or gaṇapati, “lord or leader of the Ganas) In Hindu scriptures, Nandi is the bearer of truth and righteousness. Each Hindu deity has its own vehicle (the Sanskrit root word for the English word for wagon) that they use. These vehicles stand for specific qualities that correspond to the image and actions of the deity. Nandi is a symbol of strength, load-bearing capacity, and virility.
An interesting feature of the temple is that a lamp has been burning inside the temple for the last 200 years!! It consumes about a liter of oil daily!
The temple is of medium size and is similar to the Veera Narayan Temple at Belwadi. The open mantapa has twenty-nine khanates, and the closed mantapa has nine bays with a side porch that leads to a separate temple on the south side.
The rows of polished lathe-laced black pillars supporting the roof of the mandapa are a Hoysala-Chalukya ornamental idiom and a striking feature of the temple.
An interesting fact is that to date no one really knows the technique that was used to make a perfectly circular pillar as machines did not exist in that era! The advanced technology of that era can only be imagined, a chapter that is missing from our collective consciousness and history books.
The beautiful ornamental pillars are an outstanding feature of the temple. Each pillar has a unique design.
The Amrutheshwara Temple is square in shape and has the original shikhara (tower), a seven-story structure consisting of seven rows of indented square-shaped kirtimukhas (demon faces) with miniature ornamental towers (edikule). In each of these, the Kirtimukhs have been placed as a form of Rudra. The original stone Kalasa (water pot) on the top is missing and has been replaced by a metal Kalash. The mandapa has several deeply vaulted interior ceilings.
Religious functions at Amrutheshwara Temple
Every year special religious programs are held at Amrutheshwara Temple during Shravan Masa, Shivratri, and Ugadi festivals. Also, during the month of Shravan, devotees bathe in Tungabhadra and go to the city from Amrutheshwara Temple to the place of the Ganges. Also, the important crops of this region such as paddy and banana are kept in this temple and after offering puja they start harvesting.
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