Garuda lenka Kambhas (Pillars)

      Hoysalas, the true masters of Architecture are known for their magnificent and intricate carvings. They have always managed to include an  unique feature in their temple architecture. A quite intriguing and striking feature seen at one of their temples is the "Garuda Lenka" pillar.  Three in number and rising up to about 15 feet, these pillars were erected during the reign of  the Hoysala Kings, Ballala-I and Narashima-III during the 11th century AD. This was done in memory of the heroes who voluntarily sacrificed their lives for the well being of the kings and prosperity and fortune of the Hoysala kingdom.
The Magnificent Garuda-Lenka Pillars
       Garuda, a large mythical bird resembling an eagle ( and Lord Vishnu's vahana or vehicle ) also represents an ardent devotee or a servant who was ever ready  to sacrifice his life in order to defend the king. Lenka is a word synonymous to Garuda while Lenkiti is the female counterpart. 
 Significant Sculptures at the Pillar Top
Garuda, the King, Queen, Lenka and Lenkiti's - I
Garuda, the King and the Queen
Garuda, the King, Queen, Lenka and Lenkiti's - II
The Splendid Three!
             The  pillars seem to depict the king and queen traveling along with their devotees (lenka -lenkiti) on an elephant. The garuda is shown to be kneeling on the elephant's head and facing the king while his hand is clasped firmly with the king's, a gesture that probably denotes the respect commanded by the king and the king's desire of achieving the supreme quality of Garuda while the tightly gripped hands could be a token of appreciation by the king for the willingness to sacrifice their lives. Our guess is that the central pillar depicts the king and queen along with the Garuda while the others include the Lenka and Lenkiti's, though we are unsure of the order of men seated so. 
     The name of the temple is deliberately not mentioned in this post since we have a continuation to this and till then, the game of guessing is on :-) 


  1. What magnificient architecture, amazing!
    Beautiful miniature carvings on those pillars...
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope you are having a fabulous week:)

  2. Oh, yes! I can only repeat what Arti has written -- such magnificent architecture and such breathtaking carvings on the pillars! Your captures are superb!! Hope you have a great weekend!


  3. wow!! this is absolutely fantastic! never seen or even heard of anything like this! there are hero stones in memory of warriors who laid down their lives, but garudas to commemorate such courageous ppl is a really great concept! which temple are these in? would love to go someday!

  4. I am unable to guess where this could be. Hoysala?
    Great details captured.
    I like such details. :)

  5. Seeing something like this for the first time...Shall wait for the upcoming posts..

  6. Beautiful architecture. Thanks for sharing.

  7. These pictures mesmerizes us, we have such a rich heritage. I can't guess the place,so I have read the next post:)

  8. Pillars as such was built in bygone era. What can we built these days, it's mind boggling. So beautiful :)

  9. Nice to see post on Garuda Lenki Pillars, it looks Hoysala style in architecture with a tinge of Jainism. I believe it must be in konkan area

  10. The pillars and their carvings are beautiful. The fact that they have survived since the 11th century AD is amazing. I also love the elephant statues and figures. Your photos are lovely!

  11. beautiful ancient sculptures

  12. Dhiraj we missed you in the Indiblogger meet on Saturday 10/9/2011 at Goldfinch

  13. Amazing craftsmanship. This look like a temple in South Canara region by the surroundings. Waiting for the details in the next post.

  14. The pillars just took my breath away. Waiting for your next post. :-)

  15. This is amazing, so different from what I have seen all along. Such beauty! Waiting for the location


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