India is a land of temples and here its difficult to find a village without a temple. Each temple has its own story to tell and also has a unique architecture. This is Veeranarayana temple in Gadag in Karnataka built in the 12th century. Do you know what’s the uniqueness of this temple?
Hoysala King Bittideva after taking religious vow from Shri Ramanujacharya became vaishnava. There is a traditional belief that according to his Guru’s order in 1117 A.D. he built Shri Veeranarayana temple. This is one among the Pancha Narayana temples he built.
In fact, uniqueness of this temple is the lack of it. This temple’s architecture didn’t stick to any particular traditional style. Therefore, we can see here beautiful mixture of Chalukya, Hoysala and Vijayanagara sculptures. Garbhagruha and the top tower of the temple are models of Chalukya sculpture. GarudaGama and Rangamantap are in the manner of Hoysala sculpture. The main entrance gate of temple is of Vijaynagara art.
When the visitor steps in the main entrance gate which faces the East, there stands the Garuda Gamba. Behind the Garuda Gamba lies the Okali Well and near it are the Shrivaishnava tripundras. Facing it stands Garuda statue in Namaskara position.
Inside the Veeranarayana temple has many pillars with artistically carved pictures. The traditional belief says that sitting beneath one of these pillars Mahakavi Kumaravyasa wrote “Karnataka Bharatha Katha Manjari”.
Then comes the Madhyaranga, then Garbhagriha. In Garbhagudi Shri Veeranarayana statue carved in the dark blue shaded stone attracts everyone. Decorated with Kireeta, Karnakundala, Shankha, Chakra, Gadha, Padma and in the robe of Veeragachche, Veeranarayana stands protecting his Bhaktas with Abhayahasta. In his broad bosom is Laxmi, at the pedestal aureole the Dashawathara and at both sides stand Laxmi and Garuda. In the courtyard of this temple, there are other small temples of gods and goddesses like Laxmi-Narasimha temple, Sarpeshwara temple and many more.