Monday, January 13, 2020

Sri Hoysaleshwara Temple Thenginghatta

The grand temple of Lord Hoysaleshwara at Tenginaghatta/Thenginaghatta, built during the reign of the Hoysala kings is today in disarray. Tenginaghatta is a small village located off the Kikkeri – Madapura road in Mandya District. Most of the Hoysala temples were built by their Army General, merchants, and other commoners with very little or no intervention of the Royal family, states S.Shettar in one of his books titled ‘Somanathapura’. An inscription found at the temple premises mentions that this temple and a lake nearby were constructed by ‘Hadavala Kavana’, the son of ‘Hadavala Kolliayya’ during the Saka year of 1055 corresponding to 1133 CE, under the Hoysala King Narasimhadeva I. However, since the year captured in the inscription does not correspond to the period ruled by King Narasimhadeva I (1143-1171 CE), we can conclude that there is some discrepancy either in the date etched on the inscription or recalibrating it to the Gregorian calendar. The inscription further states that ‘Bammoja’, the son of Haloja of Kikkeri sculpted this temple and the charge for protection and maintenance of the temple was given to ‘Besataya-savanta’ and’ Kote-savanta’. Further, a donation of 2 salages with 10 kolagas of wet land and 2 salages with 14 Kolagas of dry land were given to the upkeep of the temple. The sculptor also received a grant of 1 salage with 10 Kolagas of wetland and 15 Kolagas of dry land. The inscription also mentions that any person who destroys this grant will incur various sins and will be re-born as ‘krimi’ or ‘a worm’ which will live for 60,000 years. 
Shri Hoysaleshwara Temple, Theniginghatta
Buried Stone Inscription giving details of the construction of the Temple
There are four Veeragallus or Hero-stones of which 2 have inscriptions etched on them. The first Veeragallu here is dedicated to ‘Hiriya Hadavala’, son of Kolliayya and the brother of the person who built the Hoysaleshwara temple. There are also details of territories captured by the Hoysala Kings – Talakadu, Gangavadi, Nonambavadi, Kongu, Nangeli, Uchchangi, Banavasi, Hanugallu and Halasuge under the rule of King Narasimhadeva I and the Hero has been equated to Partha (Arjuna) due his extraordinary archery skills in the undated inscription on this Veeragallu. The second Veeragallu is dedicated to ‘Hadavala Kavana’. Though the inscription is not very clear, it gives minor details about the hero responsible for the temple construction of Tenginaghatta. There is another inscription related to Tenginaghatta at the Panchalingeshwara temple of Govindanahalli. This inscription is dated saka 1159, corresponding to 1236 CE, and was installed under the reign of Hoysala King Someshwara. It also gives details about the donation of 11 villages along with Tenginaghatta to the king’s Ministers Bogayya and Murari Mallayya, who further donate the same to various Brahmans for upkeep. Govindanahalli is located about 3 km from Tenginaghatta and probably was a part of the 11 villages.
Veeragallus - Hero-Stones
Veeragallu Dedicated to Hadavala Kavana
 The Hoysaleshwara temple is a small and beautiful structure. It consists of a garbhagriha, an open antarala, a navaranga, and a damaged mukhamandapa. Unlike major Hoysala temples, the ceiling height of this temple is very low measuring about 7 ft. The garbhagriha houses a Shiva linga and the antarala houses a sapthamatrika murti and a beautiful murti of Hara-Gauri. Hara-Gauri murti sadly remains damaged with the head of the Lord Shiva missing. On the platform/peetha of the murti are sculptures of Lord Ganesha, Nandi, and a Monitor Lizard. Lord Shanmuga seems missing on this peetha, probably indicating this to be a Ganapathi Anugraha murti. The navaranga has 9 ankanas and the central ceiling/bhuvananeshwari houses a beautiful and unique carving of the lotus bud surrounded by 8 lions. The navaranga is supported by 4 lathe-turned bell-shaped pillars. There is a Bhairava murti and Ganesha murti in the Navaranga. The doorframes of garbhagriha and navaranga are of Pancha shaka without any dwarapalas. The mukhamandapa is completely damaged with only its pillars remaining.
Damaged Mukhamandapa
Four Lathe turned Pillars Supporting the Central Ceiling of Navaranga
Lord Hoysaleshwara
Hara Guari Murti
Monitor Lizard and Lord Ganapathi

Sofit Carvings
The external wall of the temple is very simple with carvings of pilasters on it. The wall has been damaged badly with a need for urgent restoration. Although the damaged shikhara of this temple has been identified by many scholars as Kadamba Nagari or Phamsana, it closely resembles the Dravidian (Outthareya Vimana) styled shikhara of Lord Janardhana temple at Kikkeri. There is also a small ruined temple dedicated to Kshetrapala right in front of this temple. The structure is completely damaged with only the murti of Kshetrapala standing tall. A little further from this temple is a beautiful lake which was constructed along with this temple. This temple is located outside the village. In the village, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya Swamy, probably belonging to a later period. Overall, this place is rustic and transports one to the erstwhile glory of the land once ruled by the mighty Hoysalas. 
Exterior View of the Temple
Details of Remaining Dravidian Shikhara
Lake built by Hadavala Kavana
Lord Anjaneya Swamy


1. Ephigraphia Carnatica Vol 6 (1977) Revised
2. Mandya Jilleya Hoysala Devalayagalu – Dr.Shobha
3. Somanathapura – S.Shettar
6. Mandya Jilleya DevalayagaLu; Ondu Sameekshe – Thyloor Venkata Krishna
7. District Gazetteer of Mandya 2009
8. Annual Report of ASI – 1914-1915


  1. May I assume this article is written by Sri Thyloor VenkatacKrishna?

    I have enjoyed and learnt a few new things with this write up. I have aslo been reading your Mandya Jilleya Devalayagalu. Just completed visiting a few temples in Nagamangala, Basaraalu, Boodanuru, and
    Malavalli. Details learnt from your book have added more meaning and clarity and purpose to my own understanding and appreciation of these lovely monuments. Thank you. -B Prasanna (Holmdel NJ USA, past resident of Mandya District)

    1. Thank you for comment, no this article is not written by Sri Thyloor Venkatakrishna. It is written by us you will find the details about us in the our introduction page.