Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli, Hassan, Karnataka

There are several Hoysala temples scattered all over the state of Karnataka. Many have gone into ruins but there are many, still standing strong, radiating its glory. It requires a dedicated trip of many days to cover these Hoysala Temples dotting the map of Karnataka. I have not been able to make that dedicated trip yet, but I have been visiting these temples during my short visits to different parts of Karnataka. Couple of weekends back I visited 3 Hoysala Temples on my trip to Chikamagalur. These 3 were at Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli, Belavadi and Javagal; all can be done on a day trip from Chikamagalur.

These are lesser known Hoysala Temples compared Belur and Halebid Temples, smaller in size and remotely located. The access isn’t difficult, but the final part, the last couple of kilometers is often through narrow lanes, not even roads. But I am glad I took the effort to trace them out and visit them, a great sense of satisfaction lingers on after the visit.

Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli

Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli

In this post I have the Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli, Hassan district of Karnataka. I had the good fortune to visit this temple twice within a span of two days. The pujari here made me visit the temple twice. I have given the story in the end of the post.

Doddagaddavalli is a typical village untouched by the modern infrastructure of cities. The houses look bright and lively. This Temple is their pride. You halt at any place in the village, they know you have come to see the temple and give directions even without being asked. If you pause for some more time, they will ask: yaavu uruu… meaning… you are from which place?

Houses of DoddagaddahalliMain entrance to Lakshmi Devi Temple of DoddagaddavalliLakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli 2

The main landmark is a huge lake besides the temple which was completely dried up when we were there last May. A sturdy boundary wall runs around the temple and inside is very well maintained. (You need to leave your footwear outside).

According to the legends the temple was built in 1114 A.D. by a merchant called Kallahana Rahuta, a merchant or high officer in the Hoysala court. To be precise this temple was constructed under the patronage of Rahuta’s wife Sahaja Devi. This Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli is believed to be the one of the oldest of all Hoysala Temples. It is definitely in a very good condition considering its age at 10centuries!

After you are inside the complex maintained by Archeological Society of India, you will have to get through a door to get into the temple complex. Pilgrims and devotees go around this complex before entering the temple in clockwise direction.  There are 4 small temples at 4 corners of the complex. They were shut. Camera wielding tourists go around capturing the architectural details. I am a combination of both, so with prayers in heart I went clicking and here a few pictures of stone art from that era.

Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli 5Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli 6

Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli 1

Inside the Temple Complex

The main temple deity is inside the complex. The complex has four shrines with idols of Lakshmi Devi, Kali, Kalabhairaveshwara (a form of Lord Shiva) and Bhoothanatheshwara, in the form of Shiva Linga. The shrine of Kali is at one end of the oblong hall. The other names of this goddess are Aadhi Shakthi, Maha Shakthi, and also called Soumya Kali in somber mood after killing the demon Shumbha Nishumbha. All this was explained by the guide Yogesh.

Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli 7

Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli 3

He kept highlighting the architectural details and sculptures inside the temple with his torch. At the entrance to Kali’s shrine we were taken aback when Yogesh the guide flashed his torch on two human sized skeletons on either side. We were told they are Bhoota and Preta guarding the deity! Naked, life sized, protruding tongue, stooping posture, distinct rib cage, a slain human head in left hand and a sword in right; the image can haunt you! It took me while to compose the shot framing those in poor light there.

Bhoot Preta at Doddagaddavalli

The Pujari Refused to Offer Prayers…

Finally I expressed my desire to offer puja at the shrine of Laksmi Devi. To my surprise, the pujari refused. He gave me prasad and kumkum but he said: this temple is very dark as you must have noticed the temple needs a bulb inside. It will be good if you can get one in your next visit. I was taken aback not knowing whether it was an order or a request. My mind raced, when will the next visit be possible? The need is genuine and urgent and I felt I had to do something.

I immediately planned, the day after the next I would be returning to Bangalore from Chikamagalur via the same route. I can definitely make the purchase and hand over the bulb. So, on my return trip I handed over 4 bulbs for the four shrines. Now it was pujari’s turn to be stunned. He politely said:
I had casually mentioned about the need…
I didn’t expect you to take it seriously…
you shouldn’t have spent so much money… and on he went.
Needless to say he was very happy.

After fixing the bulbs I could see him scanning the room and muttering… so much clutter inside I have to clean this place up properly. Earlier he had only one bulb of low wattage which he would keep fixing and re-fixing shrine to shrine for the puja.
Wonder for how many months or years the place hasn’t been lit up properly!

Travel Photo Thursday

42 thoughts on “Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli, Hassan, Karnataka

  1. Ranjana Shankar

    The bulb incident is very funny. The poojari must be shocked.
    I’m also surprised to see the Boota idol. In Hoysala temples which I have visited I could not find any such Boota idols are.

  2. Bibi

    Another splendid temple…I love to visit temples, especially those like this one that are very old…I always imagine all the other people who walked there way back when….

  3. magiceye

    Wow! Beautiful temple and wonderful pictures too!
    The story of your gifting the bulbs and bringing light and joy to the priest is indeed marvelous! Good on you!

    1. Indrani Ghose Post author

      There is no particular story but almost all temples have dwarpalikas… meaning guards. This being Goddess Kali her guards are bhoot and pret. Thank you for the visit Alina Jack. Very sorry to reply so late.

  4. Arun

    Such a beautiful temple with some brilliant architecture and still they have to struggle for bulbs! That’s really sad!
    Amazing pictures Indrani and I am really intrigued with the Bhoota Preta one. Something which I have never seen till date!

  5. Priyanka

    So so beautifully written! Going through the post was like déjà vu for me. And yea, the Bhoota-Preta do look supernatural, especially since the light is poor inside. Hope to visit after the rains, to see the countryside green in full glory.
    (And having met the Bhat-Jai, I can very well imagine him telling you to get few bulbs for the temple. A stern but friendly person!)

  6. Yogi Saraswat

    I can definitely make the purchase and hand over the bulb. So, on my return trip I handed over 4 bulbs for the four shrines. Now it was pujari’s turn to be stunned. He politely said:
    I had casually mentioned about the need…
    I didn’t expect you to take it seriously…
    you shouldn’t have spent so much money… and on he went.
    Needless to say he was very happy.
    It was true worship Indrani ji . I never visited Karnataka but yes , have a future plan . I always noticed that in our old temples each and every brick has some specific intricate art . This always attracts me and make me proud for our culture.


    Very thoughtful of you to gift the bulbs to this architecture marvel…looks like the lawns outside are also well maintained.
    Normally, the Garbhagruha or sanctum sanctorum of all temples are dark and the lighting up of the camphor (now banned in many temples in TN) in the big brass lamps lightens up the idol’s face and features which is considered sacred and holy but nowadays that tradition is gone with many modern temples having chandeliers and other decorations that gives the temple a five star look:)

  8. Jackie Smith

    You must have brightened his day (in more ways than one) when you returned with the light bulbs! Beautiful post about such an amazing temple – and village!

  9. Ruth - Tanama Tales

    Indrani, I enjoyed your post but I enjoyed the story about the light bulbs even more. Show how we can help other even if it is in a small way (it may seem small to us but can mean the world for another person).

  10. Jeevan

    You done the right offer, indeed, by giving bulbs to the temple! Truly remarkable temple complex and impressive architecture… I also liked the colourful village atmosphere out there.

  11. vatsala mallya

    What a lovely and serene place ! Hoysala architechture and sculpture is so unique and impressive . Beautiful green surrounding !

  12. Nisha

    Such a lovely story Indrani! I liked the story about the bulbs. Good that you went back with bulbs.

    And the Bhoota Preta duo must be looking supernatural in that poor light.

  13. Nancie McKinnon

    Beautiful temple. I chuckled at the light bulbs too. I wonder how many other people heard his request, but for whatever reasons couldn’t come back with the bulbs. Thanks for linking up. I’m slow getting around this week. Listening to and marking 100 final English presentations :) #TPThursday

  14. Harsha

    Nice post. I had visited this place about 3 years back , I think, on the way back from Shringeri… Actually was looking for Veera Naraya temple. But , on asking for directions people led us to this temple (not that I regretted). I liked the Temple.
    Bhuta and the Preta, guarding the Kali’s shrine probably indicate that , Kali is the ruler of all the worlds including the underworld ! None can bypass her !

  15. Alberto C.

    Those Indian templates are just amazing. India has been on my bucket list for years and I can’t wait to travel there. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  16. mark and kate

    Another part of India I knew nothing about! But then there are probably thousands of these temples around India and we may not be able to see them all. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to so for now, I’ll content myself with the photos you’ve shared.

  17. Joanna

    The temple looks amazing and i was impressed reading your story with the light bulbs. I have visited India and I have always been asked for an “offer” (donation) every time I went to a temple. It’s good to know that there are people who don’t think about money all the time.

  18. Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life

    This is s lovely and the colours in the pictures stand out so nicely. I love it that the people greet with friendliness and know you are there for the temple and are so welcoming in showing that part of their culture.I learn so much about India from reading. One day I will get to see it myself. This is very impressive!

  19. Jenn

    I am always amazed to see the how diverse India is. There’s an accumulation of history that makes for a beautiful final combination. I love your pictures and your story on the post (and the history of the place), waiting for the next trip you take to another temple of the region!

  20. Samantha

    Honestly, I don’t even know where Karnataka is located. I do love the information and photos about the temples. I have seen many different temples and one never looks like another.

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