The Amriteshwara Temple

by Dr. Jyotsna Kamat
First Online: January 03, 2008
Page Last Updated: April 04, 2014

Amritapura is a small village on Bangalore-Honavar highway (HW-17), 9 kilometers away from Tarikere town in North East direction. It houses a unique and beautiful temple of Amriteshwara (a.k.a. Amriteswar or Amruteshwar) Ishwaralinga of Hoysala period.

This temple was built by Amiteya Dandanayaka, a miliary leader in 1196 CE. Amiteya or Amrita Nayaka was a General  (Dandanayaka) of Hoysala King Veera Ballala II (1173-1220 CE). In an inscription he is described as the right hand man of the king. He belonged to Chaturtha Kula or IVth caste, a Shudra. It only proves that caste was no bar in military, and merit and bravery decided the worth in ancient times as well. Amiteya Nayaka was rich enough to build a majestic temple and dedicate it to public.

Vikas Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Amriteshwara Temple Complex
Amriteshwara Temple Complex
Town of Tarikere

Like other Hoysala temples this temple is star-shaped. Indented wall surface, built to secure sunlight to the maximum has more room for sculptures. Three panels surround the temple. Lowest consists of decorative elephants second one has border of horsemen and the third, of floral scrolls and bird motifs.

Vikas Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
The Author in Amriteshwara Temple
The Author in Amriteshwara Temple
Town of Tarikere, November 2007

The perforated and latticed windows are richly ornamental. Inner walls are having floral canopies in which are carved anecdotes of Bhagavata, Ramayana and Mahabharata.

While Kannada Poet Janna worded one of the inscriptions, Mallitamma, one of the greatest sculptors of medieval times, has carved out several figures here and his name appears first time in Amriteshwara temple.

Of special interest to visitors could be the carved out anecdotes from the Bhagavata, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. For students of social history, models of chariots, arms, weapons, cradles, cots, beds, baskets, pots, modes of transport and countless varieties of ornaments of men and animals could provide authentic material, for reconstruction of contemporary history of society. Artists and sculptors carved themes too familiar to them.

Vikas Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Vasudeva  Carrying Infant Krishna Crosses Yamuna River
Vasudeva Carrying Infant Krishna Crosses Yamuna River
Scene from Bhagawata depicted in a Hoysala period temple

The temple has remained intact and provides unusual visual gallery of ancient epics, establishing the fact that such temples provided illustrated education to laymen.

Vikas Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Lord Shiva and Arjuna Pick a Fight
Lord Shiva and Arjuna Pick a Fight
Notice how Shiva is signalling wife Uma (a bystander in the sculpture) with a foot-tap

See Also:

Kamat's Potpourri Timeless Theater Hoysala Art

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    Hoysala Art and Architecture
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