Our next port of halt – Nuggehalli, another small unassuming hamlet where I can guarantee you that you can get lost amidst the small lanes..Fortunately there were not too many of them. We were enroute to Bangalore from Hassan and we did not have much time on us – but we couldn’t give Nuggehalli a miss.

Two temples, from the Hoysala era dot this village which was once an agrahara or a place of learning called Vijaya Somnathpura . We go back to the 13th century when it was the reign of the Hoysala King, Someshwara . However records say that this place is ancient and was patronized by the Cholas prior to the Hoysala rule.

As we reached Nuggehalli, it was mid afternoon and barring a few boys playing cricket, the village seemed deserted. We asked the route to the temple and one boy asked – LNS ? I was taken aback at the modern abbreviation used to describe this ancient temple of Lakshmi Narasimha. The boy then called the priest who opened the temple for us.

Legend has it that a saint by name Rushbha, performed penance and that the Lord Lakshmi Narasimha appeared before him . Inscriptions however say that the temple was built by a chieftain Bommanna Danda Nayaka, who was an aide of the Hoysala king , Someshwara. Based on the wishes of his guru, he is said to have built both the temples –Lakshmi Narashimha dedicated to Vishnu and Sadashiva Temple, dedicated to Shiva.

Lakshmi Narashima temple is an ornate Trikua temple built in the typical Hoysala style with walls adorned by sculptures , around 120 narrating the stories from the epics .The carvings are so intricate and detailed that one can see black stones in the eyes of some and jewellery as well. The inscriptions carry the name of the sculptors – Mallithamma and Baichoja. .Dedicated to Kesava, Narasimha and Krishna , the temple is built of soapstone.

The Sadashiva temple is a smaller, beautiful temple that has some of the most ornate carvings . Built in the Ekuta Nagara type, this temple built on a platform is dedicated to Shiva. The walls were not adorned unlike other Hoysala temples, but this temple is known for its architecture.

The main temple was closed when we came in and there was not a soul around but for a lone goat on the compound which ran away the moment we entered. We spent some time looking at the pillars , the carvings on the inner wall and enjoyed the silence before starting our journey back to Bangalore

The Hoysala trail has not yet ended – Halebeedu, Somnathpur and a few more temples need to be covered. I have been to both these places earlier , but I have photographs only of Somnathpur. And both will soon be on the trail as well..

Getting there

Nuggehalli is located on the Tiptur-Channarayanapatna state highway and it is about 50 km from Hassan city. A deviation from Hiresava on NH48 will take you to Nuggehalli which is 16kms from the National Highway.


  1. Vienna for Beginners 1 March, 2008 at 14:06 Reply

    Thank you for sharing this journey and your knowledge about its history! It makes me realize how much there is to learn out there, and what beauty exists. I tried to google up more the Hoysala Trail’s history, you are mentioned again and again!

  2. Shantanu 1 March, 2008 at 17:22 Reply

    These are so amazing. I just came back from Bangkok after seeing their old temples and realized that we no longer have old temples in North India (probably were razed to the ground during the Moghul invasions), but the temples in South India have thankfully survived. I continue to be fascinated by how creative the artisans were and how good their work was to survive these years.

  3. Stephanie 2 March, 2008 at 08:48 Reply

    I guess I thought these were more historical sites, like Mayan ruins I’ve visited in Mexico….but they are temples that are still used. I love the colors of the shrines (is that what you would call them?) against the carved, nuetral color stone.

    The details and images!

  4. priyank 3 March, 2008 at 08:23 Reply

    Wow, such beautiful temple and it is not on the touristy hotspot! (or maybe thats the reason for it)

    I echo Shantanu’s thoughts. South Indian temples are fortunate to have been spared.

  5. backpakker 4 March, 2008 at 17:15 Reply

    eklavya – thank you for being a part of the trail..am glad you enjoying it

    vienna for beginners – I got fascinated after seeing one temple and then another..am glad that you are enjoying it as well ..

    shantanu – In south , the deccani invaders came much later..I read a story somewhere about how the belur temple was covered and hidden from the invaders..Most of the southern empires fought amidst themselves and when they captured a city from another dynasty, they built new temples or improvised on existing ones..even in chennai near mahabs, some excavations show that both pallava and cholas have built temples in the same place

    Stephanie – Most of these temples/ shrines are historic and maintained by the government and are not “worshipped.” However in some small hamlets which are not in the tourist route, the villagers and the local priest conduct some prayers and maintain the temple.

    Priyank – Many more like these just waiting to be discovered..this one was my favourite

  6. Sur 11 March, 2008 at 21:54 Reply

    Lovely pictures again and a write up that makes you feel that you’ve visited the place! I am eager to read your post about Somnathpura, though I have been there hardly know about the history behind it!

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