Poetry in stone - Amruteshvara temple of Amruthapura, Karnataka

 The small village  Amruthapura is well-known for  a 12th Century Hindu  temple built in typical Hoysala style of  Architecture that is different from the Dravida style of temple architecture common in Tamil Nadu and Andhra states.  Located 35  km  from Shimoga town, the temple is a poetry in stone  with rich  flawless stunning sculptures of various sizes and a fine depiction of glorious past of the Hoysala  rulers in the realm of  decorative temple architecture with prolific styles. 

Bas-relief. Amruteshvara temple,Amruthapura,KA. .karnataka.com 

mruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA  wikipedia.com

Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KAcommons.wikimedia.org

Amruteshvara temple in Amruthapura, 67 km north of Chikmagalur town in the Chikkamagaluru district of the Karnataka state,S. India,  is a fascinating temple where the architectural stone decorations  mark the height of human imagination and the flow of artistic skill. Built in 1196 C.E (vide: stone inscriptions in Kannada) by Amrutheshwara Dandanayaka ( meaning "commander") under Hoysala King Veera Ballala II, it is  an important tourist destination.  Open mantapa (hall) with shining, well-finished pillars  and the outer wall decorations in innumerable panels are worth our attention. 

The  architectural style followed here  is that of the Hoysala dynasty. The temple has a single Vimana with outer and inner wall- one  is open  and the other is closed, The outer wall is rich in  unique equally spaced stone relief works/ carvings, including circular ones.  The closed mantap (hall) connects the sanctum with the large open mantapa. The  features like  open mantapa with twenty nine bays  and the closed mantapa with  nine bays and a side porch that leads to a separate shrine on the south side, the size, etc., suggest this temple was planned as per Vatsu Sastra. The architect of this temple was Ruvari Mallitamma, a popular sculptor of that period. He had begun his career and shown his exceptional and imaginative skill on the deeply carved domed ceilings in the  main mantapa.

The superstructure (shikara) over the square shaped shrine  has sculptures of  demons (Kirtimukhas). The attractive features are the  miniature decorative towers (aedicule) right below  the superstructure. The presence of five moldings in the base, it is said, may be of  an "older Hoysala style". Atop the structure connecting the sanctum and the closed mantapa, you can see  the original Hoysala emblem of "Sala" fighting the lion. A blend of Hoysala and Chalukya decorative norm is reflected in the mantapa that has deeply carved  domes with fine floral designs and well-polished thick pillars.

sanctum, Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com

Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com

Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com/

Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com/

Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com/

above images: Wall relief sculpture and decorative swirls (top image) in bas-relief on mantapa outer wall  at Amruteshvara temple, Karnataka.

mruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com

pillars, Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com

Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com/

Amruteshvara temple, Amruthapura ,KA rakeshholla.blogspot.com

Above image: Wall relief sculpture of the Amrutesvara temple

Outer parapet wall of the open mantapa  has in profusion rich decorative features - a total of hundred and forty panel stone sculptures with depictions taken from   the Hindu epics. A note worthy feature is the panels here has larger images unlike other Hoysala temple norm that emphasizes  small panels with small carvings in miniature. On the south side wall  are found  70 panels with fine carvings in anti-clock direction, displaying  the stories of the Ramayana. The story  presentation is unusual.  On the other hand, on the north side wall, the architectural  articulation, inherent in Hoysala style, is different and the depictions are clockwise. The 25 panels present the life of God Krishna. The rest - 45 are focused on various episodes from the Mahabharata.  This temple is a must to visit. For many images presented  here, the credit goes to:( http://rakeshholla.blogspot.com/2012/04/amrutesvara-temple-amruthapura.html)