Amrutesvara Temple’s Hoysala architecture stands to this day across the heartland of Karnataka, reminding visitors of the long history and legacy of the region. Located in Amruthapura, around 67 kilometres north of Chikmagalur town, the Amrutesvara Temple is a 12th century temple that encapsulates the salient features of South Indian temple architecture while also being an important spiritual site for thousands of devotees.
Quick Facts about Amrutesvara Temple, Chikmagalur
- Timings: 30 AM -10.30 AM and 4.00 PM to 6.00 PM
- Entry Fee: Na
- Photography: Allowed
- Approximate Visit Duration: One Hour
- Best Time to Visit- October to February
- Address: Amruthapura Village, Near Tarikere, Chikmagalur District – 577228 (MAP)
History of Amrutesvara Temple, Chikmagalur
The temple was constructed in the 12th century by the commander Amrutheshwara Dandanayaka, during the rule of Veera Ballala II, the Hoysala King. The rise of the Hoysalas also coincided with the spread of this certain design philosophy which can to this day be seen across the state of Karnataka. One of Karnataka’s most famous sculptors was Mallitamma, and it is believed that he started his artistic career at Amruthapura, suggesting the beginning of a golden architectural age.
Deity and Rituals of the Temple
The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva and the shivalinga at the temple is a 300-year-old Trimurti brought from the River Kandikevale in Nepal. The idol of Sharadha Devi sits next to the shiva linga. Some of the important rituals performed at the Amrutesvara temple include Bilva Archane and Kumkuma Archane.
Aksharbhyasam is also another ritual that can be performed at this temple. Devotees visit the temple for many reasons, including concerns related to wealth and diseases. It is also believed that those whose children are suffering in education can come and offer prayers here. Some of the thanksgiving gifts left at the temple include sarees.
Architecture of Amrutesvara Temple
The temple is located in a quiet spot close to the reservoir of the Bhadra River. This 12th century structure was built following the many hallmark features of Hoysala architecture. Many experts describe this temple as part of the older Hoysala style of architecture.
The oldest parts of the Amrutesvara Temple are the porch, garbhagriha, sukhanasi and the navaranga, and as time progressed there were more additions and embellishments made. The wide hall or mantapa is one of the important parts of a Hoysala style temple. The mantapa of the Amrutesvara Temple has many impressive pillars, ornate and lathe-turned.
The open and closed mantapas feature many inner-ceiling structures that have detailed floral designs. The square shrine sits below a superstructure of shikhara. The shikhara of the Amrutesvara Temple is decorated with intricate carvings of demon faces and mini-towers.
On one of the temple towers, one can find the emblem of the Hoysalas, the Sala battling a lion. On the sukhanasi tower, visitors can also find an elaborate panel depicting Shiva slaying Gajasura. The wall reliefs of the temple give visitors a glance at the important Hindu beliefs and stories that defined the spiritual leanings of the Hoysala dynasty.
Depictions of the Epics
One of the important pieces of sculptures on the temple can be found on the southern wall, a detailed depiction of events from the Ramayana, the story’s linear timeline represented in an anti-clockwise direction, quite unusual.
The north side has more panels depicting important Hindu mythology. One can find the events of the Mahabharata here depicted this time in a clockwise direction along with panels chronicling the life of Krishna.
A stone inscription in the complex is considered a great example of old Kannada poetry, the work attributed to Janna, one of the most famous poets of the region.
How to Reach Amrutesvara Temple, Chikmagalur
Apart from Chikmagalur, the nearest big towns are Shimoga (35 kilometres away) and Tarikere so these remain important transit points when travelling to Amruthapura.
The closest airport by distance is in Mangalore, 220 kilometres away. However, the route from Bangalore International Airport would take a similar time to cover despite being around 282 kilometres away, due to more open roads in long stretches.
The nearest railway station to the temple is located 11 kilometres away in Tarikere. From the railway station, it is a short 20-minute journey to the temple via NH206. Trains that ply between Shimoga and the cities of Bangalore and Mysore usually stop at Tarikere.
From Bangalore city, the best route to reach the temple by road is via the NH79 and SH24, stops which include Tumkur. It is 260 kilometre journey and should take close to 5 hours to complete. One can also catch a direct bus to Shimoga and then find local transport that would take them to the temple.
The Chikmagalur district is one of the most scenic in the beautiful state of Karnataka. Enjoy a visit to the Amrutesvara temple to witness its architectural glory in the backdrop of the serene landscape. Karnataka is a medley of cultures and belief systems, moulded by a multi-layer history and there are many spiritual and historical sites to explore here, Amrutesvara Temple being on that list.