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..
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.