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The Ultimate Source of Information on Indian Temples

Temples of Tamilnadu
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About the Temples of Karnataka
Temples of Karnataka

Karnataka has innumerable sites in the Temple Map of India, with its some of its still surviving monuments going back to the 7th century CE. The Badami Chalukyas were the builders of rock cut caves and ancient temple complexes. At Pattadakal, there are Temples in the Dravidian style along with Temples in styles that were later adopted in Eastern and Central India. The sculptural quality in these temples is outstanding.

The subordinate rulers of the Chalukyas were the Gangas and the Kadambas. The colossal monolithic statue of Gomateswara was built by the Gangas in the 10th century CE.

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The Badami Chalukyas were succeeded by the Rashtrakutas and the Kalyani Chalukyas. In Southern Karnataka, the Hoysalas reigned supreme. The Hoysalas (12th century CE) were great builders and they built great temples at Halebidu, Belur and Somanathapura.

The Hoysalas built temples on raised complex star shaped platforms. This star shaped plan is carried all the way from the platform to the shikhara. Horizontal bands of sculptural motifs and monolithic pillars adorn these temples. There is a profusion of sculptural work in the Hoysala style of temple building.

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Also in Southern Karnataka, are temples which benefited from the patronage of the Chola rulers of Tamilnadu. A notable example is the Kolaramma temple at Kolar.

Next, the Vijayanagar Empire founded in the 14th century CE marks the period of great Temple building activity in Karnataka and these temples are characterized by the building of pillared mandapas and lofty entrance towers. Vijayanagar temples have several of the features exhibited by the temples of Tamilnadu, such as a covered pradakshinapatha (circumambulatory path) around the sanctum, and a mahamandapam in front. The ornate pillars are a distinctive mark of the Vijayanagar style. 

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Several of the monuments in the capital Vijayanagar - now in ruins at Hampi are attributed to Harihara II, Sadasiva and Krishna Deva Raya.  The Vijayanagar Empire was destroyed by the Deccan Sultanates in the 16th century and the ruins can be seen at Hampi.

The Mysore Maharajas (Wodeyars) who ruled from around 1400 CE through the British period, with the brief lapse during Tipu Sultans rule, have also made contributions to temples in this State, the Chamundeswari temple near Mysore being a point in illustration.

The temples of the southern coastal/ghat region of Karnataka (such as Kollur) are markedly different in architectural styles and they resemble the Keralite temples to a larger extent.