Temple: Ishvara Temple
Ishvara Temple – Overview
The beautiful Hoysala Ishvara temple is situated at Arasikere. The extraordinary 16 pointed mantapa is the prime attraction here. In addition to this mantapa, there is an asymmetrically shaped shrine.
The Ishvara temple is located in the Hassan district of Karnataka State. It was built during the Hoysala Empire in 1220 CE. Arasikere (“Arasi” refers to princess or queen and “Kere” refers to tank). Thus, Arasikere in Kannada means ‘queen’s pond’. It is located at a distance of 60 kilometres from Mysore city and about 41 kilometres from the city of Hassan. The Ishvara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The figure sculptures are extremely breathtaking and beautiful and one wonders at the intricate carvings. The Ishvara temple is one of the temples which house such intricate architecture and carvings.
This temple has been built using soapstone. It is a single shrined temple with dual mantapas. Out of the two mantapas, one is closed and the other remains open. The sanctum or the garbhagriha houses the linga which symbolises God Shiva. The devotees assemble in the main mantapa for the pooja. There are no windows in the closed mantapa. There are about nine compartments in the closed mantapa.
Ishvara Temple – Architecture
The Ishvara temple is a structure of Hoysala architecture and one can see the richness and grandeur of the Hoysalas through the sculptures and stone carvings. One gets to see the intricate and exclusive workmanship in the interiors as well as the exteriors of the Ishvara temple. The gracefully decorated temple ceilings, the mantapa’s ceiling and the sculptures are evidence of the clever and dedicated workmanship. The Hoysalas patronised art and architecture.
The Dravidian influence in the architecture of the Ishvara temple is also quite evident. The architecture style of the Hoysalas is also referred to as Karnataka Dravida. Attention was given to skilled and detailed craftsmanship. You will find that the temple shrine or the vimana has been intricately and elaborately designed with stone carvings.
Ishvara Temple – Religious Significance
The Ishvara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The complex Hoysala architecture and monuments are worth seeing and appreciating. Though, one may not get to see huge figures of gods and goddesses, the temple sculptures and architecture is considered to be quite complex and exclusive. The best time to visit would be during February and March, which is the festival season.
How to Get to Ishwara Temple
The city of Hassan is the closest to the Ishvara temple. Hassan is well connected by road and rail. Hassan does not have an airport. The closest airport is Bangalore and Mysore.
There are many KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) buses that ply between Hassan and Arasikere. You may also want to make rail bookings in advance to reach Arasikere.
The Ishvara temple is not very far away from Hassan. It is about 40 kilometres which can be easily covered by road. There are a number of private buses that operate on these roads. Arasikere is located in the Mysore division and it is a railway junction between Hubli and Bangalore. There are trains plying between Bangalore, Hubli, Hassan and Mangalore.