Overview: We continued our exploration of hidden Hoysala gems into interior Karnataka. This time we did Kikkeri and Govindanahalli.
Kikkeri is a very small village in Mandya district. The pillars and carvings of the Brahmeshwara temple are typical of Hoysala architecture. Though the overall structure looks even older, like the ones built during the Ganga dynasty. As per the locals its a 12th century temple. It has a dried out 'kalyani' and a small lake just outside the temple adds to the beauty.
From Kikkeri we went to Govindanahalli, known for Panchalingeshwara temple. Its a small and beautiful temple with exquisite Hoysala architecture, built around the same time as the temple in Kikkeri. The temple was not crowded and we were the only visitors to the place for the morning.
Next we went to Hosaholalu, 20kms south of Govindanahalli. The Lakshminarayana temple was the best for the day as far as the stories carved out of the temple walls were amazing. This temple has a big 'Gopura' or tower again with the Hoysala stamp. The interiors were also carved to perfection and can easily compete with Belur and Halebid. This temple somewhat reminded me of the Lakshminarasimhaswamy temple at Javagal.
From here we proceeded to Kallahalli, where we have the Bhu Varaha Swamy temple. This is perhaps one of the oldest temples in Karnataka which has several mythological stories based on the inscriptions found near the temple. This temple is located on the banks of the river Hemavathi and is currently being renovated, although the 25feet tall Varahaswamy statue stands as it is. Lunch is offered in the temple premises in the afternoon post-aarthi.
How to reach: Roads are very good and its a pleasant experience to drive on Bangalore-Mangalore highway till Channaraypatna. From there we need to take the country roads leading to these places.
Frequent bus services available from Bangalore to Channarayapatna. From there we can get connecting bus to Kikkeri but its not frequent. Cabs can be hired from either Channarayapatna or from Mandya to cover these places.
Food/Accommodation: Very limited options available for food. Its advisable to carry food from home. Nearest place to stay can be Channarayapatna.