The Veeranarayana Temple, located in the Gadag city of Karnataka, is believed to be built by the king of Hoysala Vishnuvardhana around C. 1117 after his conversion to Hinduism. Narayana (Maha Vishnu), the Hindu god, is the main deity in the temple. With the statues of various gods and goddesses, the gopuram looks astounding indeed.
History and Legends of Veeranarayana Temple
According to history, the influence of saint Ramanujacharya or simply known as Ramanuja on Vishnuvardhana was so profound and massive when the former healed a Hoysala princess that Vishnuvardhan gave up Jainism, his own religion and embraced the Vaishnava sect of Hinduism by becoming a Srivaishnava.
The Veeranarayana temple at Gadag, the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Cheluvanarayana temple at Melkote, Nambinarayana temple at Tondanur and the Kirtinarayan temple at Talakad were the five temples built by Vishnuvardhana as he became an ardent follower of Lord Vishnu.
Thirty-four medieval inscriptions have been unearthed in Gadag, most of which at the two major temples of the town- one being the Veeranarayana itself and the other the ‘Trikuteshwara’. These inscriptions clearly reveal the importance of Gadag as a renowned place of education and learning in ancient times.
The Kannada version of the great Hindu epic Mahabharata was written during the Vijaynagar empire era by the famous Kannada poet Kumar Vyasa to whom Gadag was as if his own home and the god Narayana of Gadag his most preferred deity. Legend has it that by receiving divine inspiration from his deity that Kumar Vyasa was able to complete the epic. The epic was accomplished at a certain pillar of the hall. A gift (
Legend has it that by receiving divine inspiration from his deity that Kumar Vyasa was able to complete the epic. The epic was accomplished at a certain pillar of the hall. A gift (Anandanidhi) was presented to the temple during King Achyuta Deva Raya’s reign, confirms an inscription of c.1539.
Architecture and Sculpture at Veeranarayana Temple
Chalukya, Hoysala, and Vijayanagara are the major three architectural styles being reflected by the temple. The main entrance is known as ‘mahadwara’ and the tower known as “gopura” resemble the Vijayanagara model while the ‘garuda stambha’ (literal meaning “eagle pillar”) and ‘ranga mantapa’ (“gathering hall”) are built in the Hoysala style.
The Chalukya style is visible in the making of the inner ‘mantapa’ which is the hall adjoining the sanctum. The outfit on deity with a ‘veera kaccha’ (“warrior style”) signifies that it is “ready for battle”. Lakshmi and eagle are the consort and companion of the deity respectively by which it is flanked with.
How to Reach Veeranarayana Temple
Many pilgrims and tourists along with a bulk of locals visit Gadag for this great and exquisite Veeranarayana Temple. This popular destination is thus very conveniently connected to the people through various means of communications.
Gadag itself does not have an airport but it is located in the vicinity of Hubli Airport (HBX) only 60 km away that has exclusive flight schedule from Bengaluru. Another one, Sambre Airport (IXG) is located in Belgaum about 127 km away.
Gadag is a railway junction station and it is very much well connected to nearby towns and cities with regular local and intercity trains. Other major cities of the country are also connected to Gadag (GDG) through mails and express. Close by railway stations also include Bangalore (BLR) and Kanginhal (KGX).
Gadag is crisscrossed with many roadways with NH 67 being the main backbone. The roads are very good for a drive by car from any corner of the country.