Temple: Tarakeshwara temple
The Tarakeshwara temple in the town of Hangal is a marvel of architectural splendor which has to be seen to be believed. The temple belongs to the 12th century and has been built in the Chalukya tradition, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Tarakeshwara Temple – Overview
The Tarakeshwara temple has beautifully decorated pillars that are typical of the Chalukyas and also has influences of Dravidian and Nagara styles, making for unique structures. The Kalyani Chalukyas built many temples and added to the significance of Hangal. Its domed ceiling is famous and is quite large when compared to other temples of this period.
Tarakeshwara Temple – History
Built in the 12th century by the Chalukya kings and dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple boasts of some unique features which are evident only when you enter the temple premises. There are scenes from the Ramayana depicted on the outer walls of the temple. There are many detailed carvings and sculptures in the temple. The pillars standing tall in typical Chalukya fashion are also intricately carved. However after the fall of the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas have added their own tradition to other structures around this area.
Tarakeshwara Temple – Architecture
The Tarakeshwara Temple is an architectural marvel, with its round, large concentric domed ceiling of the great hall, which is very famous. There is an eight-pillared hall with a rock carved like a lotus for its ceiling. The pillars and columns of this temple are lathe-turned which was very advanced technology for the 12th century. The great central hall with its concentric domed ceiling and its rosette pendant that falls to the floor from the centre of the dome stuns most visitors. The decorated pillars, carved ceilings of the elaborate Chalukya style are a celebration of stone workmanship and architecture.
Tarakeshwara Temple – Religious Significance
The Tarakeshwara Temple of Hangal is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built by the Chalukyas in the 12th century. As Jainism was gaining ground in the region around that time, these Shiva temples were the bastions of Shaivam, where Shaivaites were able to worship their God. Some people believe that this town has been mentioned in the Mahabharata as Viratnagar.
How to Get to Tarakeshwara Temple
The Tarakeshwara Temple is situated in Hangal, in the Haveri district of Karnataka about 75 kilometers from the Hubli – Dharwad, on the banks of the Dharma River. From Sonda, travel towards Haveri for about 60 kilometers and you will reach the temple. Though it may not look imposing from the outside, you realize the beauty of the architecture and the amazing stone work once you enter the temple premises. The best time to visit this temple is during the festive time of Shivaratri.
Tarakeshwara Temple – Facts
Though it was built by the Chalukyas during the 12th century, there is also some Dravidian and Nagara style temple structures which are very rare, suggesting that maybe there was collaboration between architects of different regions or that the latter kings may have added to the original structure.