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Mallikarjuna Temple - Basaral

DISTRICT: Mandya; TALUK: Mandya
LOCALITY: Basaral (Lat. 120 34' N; Long. 760 54' E)
APPROACH: AIRPORT: Bengaluru; RAILWAY STATION: Mandya; BUS STATION: Mandya, Basaral

This temple was built in 1234 AD by Harihara Danayaka, an officer under the Hoysala king Narasimha II. The temple, built on a raised jagati, is of the trikutachala type consisting of three garbhagrihas on the west, north and south, a sukanasi, a navaranga, a small porch and a nandimandapa. The temple is square in plan and has two flights of steps leading to the jagati. It is interesting to note that the nandimandapa is fused with the mukhamandapa with the help of perforated screens. The adhisthana is treated with friezes of elephants, horse riders, lions, makaras and hamsas. The frieze narratives of the epics are worthy of note. The narrations of the Bhagavata have the story of Prahlada and Krishna's childhood. The temple is known for its beautiful wall sculptures which include sixteen-handed Siva dancing on Apasmara, Durga with twenty-two hands, dancing Sarasvati, Ravana lifting Kailasa and Gajasuramardana etc. In all there are 103 intricately carved wall images. The superstructure above the western sanctum rising in 3 tiers is treated with stylised sala, kuta and panjara motifs, with creeper, kirtimukha, yaksha, yakshi decorations. The sala motifs at the cardinals have elaborately sculptured deities like Nataraja, Siva, Parvati, etc. The mahanasa of the sukanasa projection has a fine sculptural representation of Tandavesvara under kirtimukha torana. The majestic royal crest occupies the gable roof of the sukanasa. The prastara of the Basral temple is one of the best preserved of all Hoysala temples treated with sculptures of Ganesa, Sarasvati, Dancing Siva, Ashtabhuja Vishnu, Lakshmi, Yoganarayana etc.