Eshwara temple is typically not found on the itinerary of a typical domestic or foreign traveler. But it is very beautiful in terms of architecture and rich in history. Eshwara temple is a Hoysala architecture dedicated to lord Shiva. It might have been built around 1220 AD in today’s Arasikere. From Mysore it is around 140 km and 41 km from Hassan to reach here. Arasikere in Kannada (local language) means queen’s tank. In 2012 I was planning to tour the important Hoysala empire architectures in Karnataka. I was researching in this regard, when I found this temple. I visited there in April 2012.
In Arasikere I had to take help to locate it. Located on Eshwara hill road near Malleshwara Bettada road around 1.3 km from Arasikere railway station, Eshwara temple is a serene environment. It was hot in the afternoon, but as soon as I entered the temple it was a cool feeling. The stone craved architecture is compact but very complex and highly developed in terms of its intricate design which are embossed in small space. There are two separate structures. One is the star shaped mantap which leads to the sanctum sanatorium of Lord Shiva. Visitors can sit at the mantap. The design is of typical Hoysala style but in miniature form. It is a living temple as daily puja (prayer) takes place.
The right hand structure is more pillar centric but beautiful nevertheless. Here too the deity is a Shiva linga. At the door a Nandi stay put to guard his lord. This is typical of most Hoysala temples which are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Here some old Kannada inscriptions are also found.
Eshwara temple should be on the itinerary of all serious tourists.
Little further from here on the Amaragiri Malekal Tirupati Hill, there is a Tirupati temple which my driver told is older than the famous Tirupati temple in Tirupati, Andhara Pradesh. It is also know as Chikka Tirupati. One has to climb around 1300 steps to reach the white color temple on the top of stony hill. The deity here is lord Venkateshwara. At the base of hill also there is a temple which we visited. At that point one was marriage was going on.
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