Lakshmi Narasimha Temple- The Open Air Architectural Gallery
The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple is located at the industrial town of Bhadravathi. This small town is a part of the Shimoga district of Karnataka. Located at the banks of River Bhadra, Bhadravathi is a 13th century city of the Hoysala kingdom. Several architectural gems of Hoysala architecture are present in this city. The city is famous for its couple of tourist destinations, besides the paper mills and iron and steel plant; one is the Bhadra wildlife sacntuary and the other is the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple.
The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is a Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The presiding deity of Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is Lord Narasimha, known as the protector of humankind and destroyer of demons and evil spirits.
History and Legend of Lakshmi Narasimha
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is the bearer of the rich culture and traditions that existed at this ancient town.
- There is a popular myth related to the formation of the small town of Bhadravathi. It is believed that here, Lord Vishnu in the avatar of Varaha, that is, wild boar, rescued Bhudevi, that is, Goddess Earth. She was held captive under the sea by demon Hirayankasha. As per Holy Scriptures, when Varaha lifted earth with his two tusks, River Tunga and Bhadra were formed. The place was previously known as Benkipura.
- The temple is dedicated to Lord Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple consists of other images of Hindu gods, namely, Sri Krishna, Lord Purushottama, Lord Ganesha and Goddess Sharadamba.
- The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is an 800 years old temple. The sculptures of the temple also exhibit the daily lifestyle of the 13th century, along with the images of musicians and dancers.
- The temple was constructed by Sir M Vishweshwaraiah, the grandson of an eminent Hoysala monarch, Vishnuvardhana.
Significance of the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is another example of magnificent Hoysala form of architecture. Some of the basic characteristics of the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi are:
- The statue of Lord Narasimha is in a relaxed position, protecting his devotee Parhlada.
- Lakshmi Narasimha Temple comes in a triple form, known as Vimana. While one of the shrines is south facing, the other two are north and west facing.
- Soapstone has been used to construct the temple. If you touch the walls there is a soapy feeling and the stone is really tender.
- There is a flagpole, known as dwajasthambam just in front of the temple.
- The temple stands on a raised platform, known as jagati. About a metre high, this platform was used by devotees to circumvent (pradakshin) the temple. In the Hoysala form of architecture there is no specified path to paradakshin temple.
- The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi also has special pillars, known as lathe pillars along with parapets. This type of shiny black pillars defines the architectural style of 11th and 13th century Hoysala architecture. The lathe pillars not only enhance the beauty of the temple but also provide support to the ceiling of the large temple.
- The inner wall of the temple has been kept plain and simple while the exterior wall is star shaped, nakshatra shaped, providing enough space and scope for decoration.
- The external wall has two eves. The first eve consists of small towers which exhibit miniature decorations on pilasters, known as aedicule.
- The second set of eves is followed by a panel engraved with the images of deities and by a set of mouldings.
- The stellate tower is another special form of Hoysala architecture. The tower has been adorned with processes and recesses throughout the tower. It looks more like a flute from a distance. The tiers of the tower step by step diminish in height to form an umbrella.
- Some of the important sculptures of the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi are Lord Krishna playing flute and a man with serpent.
- The central hall of the temple is unique with now windows and is connected with the other sanctums.
- There is a slab in Kannada inscription at the temple which exhibits the construction details.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple Timings
The temple is open throughout the year. There are no holidays and no such best time to visit.
- The temple opens early in the morning at 6.00 am to the visitors. The temple is closed at the afternoon.
- The temple again opens at 6.30 pm at evening and closes at 9 pm.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple Food Timings
Though there is no process of serving food or lunch at the temple, prasada is served after worship.
- There is no entry fee in the temple. From parking to use of camera, everything is free of cost.
- As a general guideline at any Indian temple, devotees need to keep their footwear outside the temple.
- The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is safeguarded by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Festivals celebrated at Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
Besides the regular rituals, there are annual festivals celebrated here.
- Dussera: During this festival, the iconic deity of Lord Narasimha is taken round the city in a grand procession. This festival takes place at the Hindu month of Ashvin, which is anytime between September and October.
- Navaratri Festival: This festival is celebrated with great pomp and glamour at the temple complex. This festival generally takes place couple of times in a year. Once anytime between March and April and another time between September and October.
- Vaikunta Ekadesi: This is the 11th day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Magh and an auspicious day for the Vaishnavaite cult. Worship attains a different dimension here, on this day. This festival generally takes place anytime between December and January.
Poojas and Rituals at Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
The temple is still functional and hence is visited by numerous devotees throughout the year. There is an important guideline even for the priests to worship at this temple; only celibates are permitted to perform worship at the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi.
- Some of the sculptures of the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi are worshipped till date. Devotees apply vermilion, turmeric, pour oil and burn camphor for worship.
- There are different types of prayers that can be performed to pay tribute to Lord Narasimha here, like the Narasimha Pranama, Narasimha Mahamantra and Dasavatara Stotra. Sometimes on the special requests of the devotees, the priests may also perform Divya Prabandham prayer.
- After the completion of worship, the priest sits at the raised platform of the temple, reading Holy Scriptures.
How to reach: Road, Rail and Air
By Air: The Hubli airport is the nearest domestic airport to the temple, while the Bangalore airport is the nearest international airport. The Hubli airport is approximately 170 km from Bhadravathi. Another optional airport for the tourists is the Mangalore airport.
By Train: The nearest railway station to the temple is the Birur- Bhadravathi railway station. The trains that ply between Bangalore and Shimoga have stoppage at the Bhadravathi railway station. Tourists can also opt for train to Birur and then another train or bus from Birur to Bhadravathi. There is also an option to board a train from Mysore to reach Bhadravathi.
By Road: Bhadravathi is located approximately at 255 km from the state capital of Bangalore. It is 20 km from the district headquarters of Shimoga. Tourists can opt for NH-206 to reach Bhadravathi. This highway passes through Tumkur, Tiptur, Arasikere, Kadur, Birur and Tarikere to reach Bhadravathi. There are several public and private buses that regularly ply from Bangalore and Shimoga to Bhadravathi; these buses take almost 6 hours to reach the site. There is another route from Mysore to Bhadravathi. The route of Mysore passes from Channarayapattana, Arasikere, Kadur to reach Bhadravathi. The temple is located at one and half kilometre from the main road. It takes almost an hour to reach Bhadravathi from Birur. You can get round the town in auto rickshaws.
Hotels in Bhadravathi: Where to stay
There are some decent hotels located at Bhadravathi. Enjoy a comfortable stay near the temple within your budget. Some of the popular hotels of the city are Pavana Lodge, Chinnappa Hotel, Guruprasad Hotel, Hotel Attigunda, Hotel Basaveshwara, Hotel De Tej, Hotel Ganesh, Hotel Heritage and Hotel Kanchana.
Where to eat
There are no eateries near the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi. Hygienic and vegetarian food is available at the hotels like Pavana Lodge and Hotel Kanchana. Paani poori is one of the popular street food at Bhadravathi.
Here are a number of ancient temples located around the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi.
- Sri.Amrutheshwara Temple: This temple is located at the quaint village of Amruthapura, in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. It is almost 30 km from the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi. This temple was also constructed during the Hoysala rule. The walls and pillars of the shrine are sculpted with incidents from the great Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
- Sri. Chintamani Narasimha Temple: This sacred temple is also located at the banks of River Tunga and Bhadra, in an avatar of Lord Vishnu, Sri. Chintamani Narasimha Temple. This temple is a blend of Shaivaites and Vaishnavaites culture and exhibits Chola style of architecture. This temple houses one of the rarest idols of Lord Chintamani Narasimha, who is seated with his left knee bent and with Chintamani in his palm. The exquisite sculptures opposite the temple also attract multiple historians and tourists. The temple is legendary as it is believed that the deity was installed and worshipped by Prahlada, the ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu.
- Sri Rameshwara Temple: Located at the confluence of River Tunga and Bhadra at the Koodli village of Shimoga district, the Sri Rameshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was built by the Hoysala and the Ikkeri kings. This spectacular temple is located amidst sprawling green gardens. Another important factor about this temple is that the snake gods are worshipped here.
Hence if you are passionate to know about the temple architecture of South India, a visit to the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is a must.