About Srinivasa Temple.

Research by Dr. M.S. Krishnamurthy
Former Professor and Chairman
Dept. of Ancient History and Archaeology
University of Mysore, Mysore.

And Vice- Chairman, Technical Committee. 


Srinivasakshetra - Antiquity and Architectural Remains.


Srinivasakshetra is situated on the south bank of river Kaveri in Srirangapattana taluk of Mandya district. It is about twelve kilometers northwest of Mysore city on the Mysore-Brindavan gardens (KRS) road. A deviation towards the right, just before the beginning of the village Belagola, and before crossing the Right Bank (low level) canal of Krishnarasagara, leads to this place (map enclosed). The place has acquired the name Srinivasakshetra because of the presence of an ancient temple dedicated to gods Srinivasa and Bhoganarasimha there. The temple and its surroundings must have been a flourishing settlement right from the XI century AD, as evidenced by the presence of the temple of Srinivasa datable to that period on architectural features.

History of the place: Srinivasakshetra was not an isolated settlement of the Kaveri delta in this region. Evidently, it was a part of Belagola town, located at a distance of 2.5 Kms. south. To the west of Srinivasakshetra, at a distance of about 1 Km., on the south bank of river Kaveri is the Balamuri Kshetra , which was a part of ancient Belagola town1. An inscription on a stone slab, set up at Balamuri, states that Panchavan Maharaja, a mahadandanayaka and a feudatory of the Chola king Rajaraja I gave a grant for the daily nivedya (offering of food) and nandadivige (oil lamp) of god Mahadeva at Balambutirtha (Balamuri) of Ballegola (Belagola). A small temple of Siva at Balamuri, now called Agastyesvara, having archaic architectural features, built on the banks of river Kaveri, is obviously the one mentioned as the temple of Mahadeva in the inscription. This Chola occupation in the Belagola region definitely marks the beginning of the recorded history of this place.

Though Belagola was within the geographic boundary of the Gangavadi province, no record of the Gangas is found at this place. However, an inscription of Satyavakya Permanadi (Rachamalla II) dated 904-05 AD, at Rampura2, about six kilometers northwest of Srinivasakshetra, records the construction of a barrage across river Kaveri at Talenere. Another inscription3 of XIII century AD records the construction of a barrage to river Kaveri at Belagola. One more inscription4 of 1467 AD from Sitapura (on the north bank) records the construction of a barrage and a canal for river Kaveri. The land survey (1973) of the area shows the existence of courses of disused canals in the Belagola region. These evidences prove that the Belagola region was a fertile land sumptuously irrigated by the canals of the river Kaveri.

Branching of river Kaveri into various divisions in the Belagola region was ideal for the construction of barrages across the narrow courses of the river and to divert the water to irrigate large areas during ancient times. The fertility of the soil and perennial water resources made the people to settle in this region since the early times.

Belagola, (Belagola sthala – Valaikula (Tamil)) literally means the “white pond”. Belagola is said to have derived its name from a pond (kola) situated at a distance of about 250 meters east of the Janardhana temple there. This marshy pond, full of reeds, is situated amidst paddy fields at present. It appears that the pond was well within the town of Belagola. But, when the low level Right Bank canal was constructed, the area around the pond was converted into wetlands and the township that existed there was moved to an elevated place.

Belagola of the past was not an isolated township. The outskirts of this town was dotted with places like Apperahalli5, Dhanadevalli (Hosahalli)6, Balamuri Kshetra7 and Srinivasakshetra8. These settlements, combined together, formed Belagola sthala alias Vishnuvardhana Chaturvedimangala, a settlement of Brahmins well versed in the four Vedas9. The headquarters of the Vishnuvardhana Chaturvedimangala was Valaikulam, i.e., the present town of Belagola.

The topography of the town of Belagola of the present day has thoroughly changed due to the construction of the Krishnarajasagar dam and many other barrages across Kaveri during the beginning of the XX century. As a result, big channels like Virijanadi canal, Devaraya canal and the Low Level canal flow in this region, irrigating the areas that come under their purview. Hence, most of the old settlements of the region were vacated and shifted to elevated places leaving the riverside Srinivasakshetra and Balamuri Kshetra isolated (See Map).

Belagola appears to have come to limelight during the time of the Chola occupation of south – southeastern parts of Karnataka during the last quarter of the X century AD. With the advent of the Chola rule, the fertile provinces of the old Mysore state (Gangavadi province), south of river Kaveri, came under the influence of the Tamil culture. Urbanization took place through establishment of chaturvedimangalams, which eventually resulted in the construction of temples. Temples like Agastyesvara at Balamuri, Srinivasa at Srinivasakshetra, and Janardhana at Belagola are the works of the Chola period built in XI century AD. These temples are built in granite in pure Chola idiom. Belagola, being the headquarters of the region, has the temple of Janardhana built elaborately in the Chola style. The temple of Srinivasa is a moderate structure enough to fulfill the needs of the surrounding agrahara. This also served as a riverside pilgrim place of the Vaishnavas. Correspondingly, Balamuri, with its temple of Agastyesvara served as a pilgrim centre of the Saivites.

The Hoysalas occupied southeastern Karnataka in about 1115 AD, after expelling the Cholas from this region. During the Hoysala rule, Belagola continued as a place of importance. Belagola is called by the name Valaikulam alias Vishnuvardhana Poysaladeva chaturvedimangala in an inscription10 of 1338 AD. No King is mentioned in the inscription. However, the inscription glorifies the place as sarvanamasyadagraharam (agrahara revered by all) and Dakshinavaranasi (southern Varanasi). These expressions are a clear proof of the eminence of Belagola as an important Hindu pilgrim centre and also a flourishing settlement of the Brahmins versed in the four Vedas.

The Vaishnava domination in the ancient town of Belagola since the XI century AD is well evidenced by the presence of the Janardhana temple there. This temple is definitely a structure built in XI century AD during the Chola occupation of the area. Though no foundation inscription for establishing an exact date for this temple is available, the architectural features of the temple clearly exhibits the typical Chola idiom found in the temples of southeastern Karnataka, built under the patronage of the Cholas.

Similar architectural features, as found in the Janardhana temple, are also found in the Srinivasa temple at Srinivasakshetra. It is a known fact that Balamurikshetra, with its temple of Agastyesvara built in 1012-13 AD, had already attained eminence as Dakshinavaranasi11. The Vaishnavas of Belagola, who probably wanted to have a parallel Vaishnava Kshetra on the riverbank, developed Srinivasakshetra by constructing a temple of Vishnu there in XI century AD. Thus, Belagola town, with its two riverside pilgrim centres catered to the needs of both the sections of the Hindu society, namely, the Saivas and the Vaishnavas.

Srinivasa / Bhoganarasimha Temple: The temple is a composite structure consisting of buildings belonging to four different periods. Earliest is the Srinivasa shrine datable, on architectural features, to XI century AD. Extension to this temple in the form of an additional shrine of Bhoganarasimha and a common assembly hall in front, adjoining both the shrines, was made probably in the XII – XIII century AD. Two porches to this assembly hall, one to the east and one to the south, were added during the period of the Wodeyars of Mysore. The utsavamandapa on the northwestern side of the temple also appears to be a structure of this period. During the middle of XIX century, two structures were built haphazardly adjoining the Srinivasa shrine. They are, the pakashala (kitchen – 1842 AD) built against the southern wall and a Srimatha (1847 AD) built against the northern wall of the Srinivasa shrine.

Plan: The temple is a double-shrined (dvikutachala) structure, having parts built in two different periods. The earliest part of the building is the shrine of Srinivasa. This shrine is a small structure having a square sanctum (2.5 x 2.9 mts.) and a vestibule in front (2.5 x 4.9 mts.). This shrine faces east. To this shrine, during the XII century AD, an assembly hall having sixteen pillars was added (14 x 17 mts.). The vestibule of the main shrine and the assembly hall are connected to each other through a small trancept or an ardhamandapa (2 x 2 mts.).

Each of the central parts of the eastern and southern walls of the hall has a doorway opening to the courtyard. The central bay of the northern wall opens to another shrine (3 x 3 mts.), passing through a vestibule (3 x 2.5 mts.), where the seated images of Narasimha with Sri and Bhu devis are installed. This shrine and the assembly hall in front appear to be the work of XII – XIII century AD.

Porches (3 x 3 mts.) to the doors of the hall on the southern and eastern sides appear to have been added during the regime of the Wodeyars of Mysore (XVIII century AD). These porches are supported on four pillars. Approach to the porch is provided on the two sides through flights of steps flanked by carved balustrades.

Balipeethas are provided in front of both the porches. An utsavamandapa (2.9 x 5.3 mts.), probably a work of XVIII century, is also added on the northwestern side of the Srinivasa shrine. It is a small pavilion covered on three sides by brick walls, with a porch supported on two pillars in front, built facing north. A compound of brick and mortar is built all round the prakara (40 x  30 mts.), with gates to the north and to the south. The northern gate is provided with a dwaramandapa, which is in ruins now.

Elevation: Notable part of the elevation is to be seen only in the Srinivasa shrine. The structure is built traditionally according to the existing medium and it is quite attractive too. Debris, of a height of about one foot all round, has covered the lower mouldings of the plinth. However, the upana, jagati, kumuda , kantha and pattika are clearly discernible. Jagati is a square moulding. The kumuda is three faceted. The kantha is high, deep and paneled. Pattika again is a brimmed moulding. The total height of the plinth is one metre.

The wall is simple and only the architectural patterns are carved. The pilasters are square and closely spaced. Each pilaster has a square, slender shaft having a vase (kumbha) shaped top. Above this are the capital, abacus and the corbels. The projecting corners of the abaci have pointed drops and the outer faces of the corbels have small hemispherical knobs.

An explanation regarding the carving of the vase (kumbha) motif on the shafts of the pillars and pilasters is necessary here as it helps us to fix the date and the architectural idiom of this temple. The vase motif on the pilasters provides a clinching clue to identify a temple as the work of the Chola artists. It is known for certain that Chola artists had the tradition of carving the pillars in the temples they built, with the vase motif. The temples built in the Chola idiom, in the territories occupied by them in Karnataka, also have similar motifs on the pilasters. Examples are available in plenty to prove this in Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts. The Janardhana temple at Belagola also has pilasters with the vase motif besides other architectural features of the Chola style like the cloistered verandah all round built close to the temple structure, which serves the dual purpose of prakara and pradakshinapatha. Traces of such a cloistered veranda are also noticed in the clearance work done in the premises of the Srinivasa temple under study.This is a feature found in the temples of the Cholas built in Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts. A few temples built at Tonnuru at a later period, but by the Tamil architects also have these distinct features.

The presence of Chola inscriptions and construction of temples in the Chola idiom at Belagola is a definite evidence for the Chola occupation of the Belagola province and the prevalence of Chola architectural tradition in this region.

The Hoysalas expelled the Cholas from Karnataka in 1117 AD, as evidenced by the inscriptions and titles of Hoysala Vishnuvardhana. However, the architectural traditions of the Chola artists continued to prevail in the occupied territories of the Cholas even after the Chola rule. The temple building tradition in the Dravidian style, as practiced by the Cholas, continued to prevail even during the Hoysala regime and under the Hoysala patronage in southern Karnataka. The Hoysala artists, no doubt, introduced soapstone medium extensively for building temples. But the earlier tradition of using granite medium also continued. Some patrons of temples even went to the extent of bringing architects from Tamilnadu to build temples in Tamil tradition in the heartland of the Hoysala domain in Karnataka. This fact is clearly evidenced from the temples and inscriptions of Tonnuru (Pandavapura taluk, Mandya district), about thirty kilometers north of Srinivasakshetra.

The Hoysala artists, no doubt, built temples in Dravidian style in granite medium. These temples possess a clear stamp of the Hoysala art in the form of soapstone pillars turned on lathe. A notable feature of the order of the pillars of the Hoysalas is the ‘bell’ motif found in the central part of the shaft. The bell motif is noticed invariably on each and every pillar or pilaster the Hoysalas carved. Lakshminarayana temple at Tonnur, built in 1173 AD, during the reign of Ballala II, is built in granite in the Dravidian idiom. The pilasters on the wall of the vimana have the bell motif on their shaft. The navaranga of this temple has four lathe turned pillars of soapstone with the usual bell moulding in the centre. The engaged pillars on the inner face of the wall of the navaranga also have this bell motif on their centre shaft. In contrast to this practice, at Tonnuru itself, there are three more temples of the same period built under the Hoysala rule, in granite, in Dravidian idiom, but by the Tamil architects who hailed from the Tamil country. They are the Yoganarasimha temple (built in 1152 AD), Kallesvara temple (built in 1152 AD) and the Krishna temple (built in 1157 AD). These temples are exceptions to the general trend of architecture of the Hoysala country for sectarian reasons.

It is a known fact that Tonnur (Tondanur – Tamil – literally means the town of the devotee, i.e., the Vaishnavas, actually of Sri Ramanuja) was the place where saint Ramanuja is said to have lived. Because of Ramanuja’s association, this place gained religious significance among the Bhaktas, i.e., the Vaishnavas. A stucco relief, said to be that of Sri Ramanuja, is installed in a niche in the temple of Yoganarasimha at Tonnuru. Hence, Tonnuru served as a place of pilgrimage to the Vaishnavas. Rich Vaishnava devotees, from Tamil country, visited this place and got Vaishnava temples constructed here. The temple style, practiced in Karnataka, it appears, did not suit their taste. Their religious and cultural fanaticism was so strong that they brought architects from Tamil and Malayalam countries and got temples built in Tamil tradition. Thus, Tonnuru has the distinction of being a place where the two idioms of the Dravidian architectural tradition, viz., the Tamil and Karnataka are found simultaneously. These temples, particularly the Yoganarasimha and the Krishna exhibit the clear stamp of Chola workmanship in the form of vase moulding on the pilasters, in the closely built cloistered circumambulatory path and in the design of the shaft of the pillars. Thus, the temples of Tonnuru provide the benchmark for identifying a monument as that of the Chola or as that of the Hoysala through the vase and the bell motifs.

Based on the observations made above, the temple of Srinivasa at Srinivasakshetra may be said to be a structure built during the XI century AD, when the Cholas had political sway over this region. The Srinivasa temple appears to have been built in the normal course unlike the Tonnur temples, which are an exception to the rule. Therefore, the temple of Srinivasa possesses the regular features of Chola idiom as practiced in XI century AD. The Hoysala occupation of the region resulted in the impact of the Hoysala architectural tradition and that is clearly discernible in the corbels on the pillars of the hall added during the XII – XIII century AD.

Now, coming back to the study of other architectural members of the Srinivasa temple, the architrave above the wall is simple and non-ornate. No reliefs are found on its surface. The kapota is a prominently projecting slab. Its lower portion is made concave and its upper surface carved convex. Except a thin brimmed moulding carved to regulate the fall of rainwater, there is nothing noteworthy at the lower portion. The upper portion, however, at the corners of the building, has knobs carved quite prominently.

Above the cornice, one more cornice in the plumb line of the wall below is provided. This has plain dentilations at regular intervals on the top. This cornice actually conforms to the course of the ceiling slabs placed above the wall.

The central part of the three walls of the garbhagriha and the two sidewalls of the sukanasa have shallow niches with architectural frames. These niches are narrow and tall as found in the contemporary Chola temples. All the niches are empty and no sign of placing of sculptures is found there. ‘Split- pilasters’, having the decoration of capital, abacus and corbels, flank niches. Pilasters support a turreted canopy having conventional mouldings, coping and a stupi above. All these turrets are not dissimilar to each other in their design, treatment and size.

Above the wall of the sanctum, is a parapet built out of brick and mortar. The conventional hara consisting of miniature pavilions with kuta, shala and panjara canopies are found. No sculptures are found in the parapet, which, unfortunately, is in disrepair.

Above the sanctum is the vimana consisting of a single tier. The vimana also is built out of brick and mortar. The tier (tala), built conventionally, has a plain wall relieved with pilasters, a sloped kapota and a small podium with seated lions at the corners. Above this is the circular neck (griva) of the vimana relieved by mahanasis at the four cardinal points. The mahanasis have architecturally embellished niches, with pilasters and big kudus, surmounted by keertimukhas (damaged). These niches have the lime stucco sculptures of the seated forms of Vishnu like Narayana (west), Paramapadanatha (north) Hayagriva (east) and Lakshminarasimha (south). The top portion of the sikhara is designed like an inverted lotus and the stupi is missing.

Unfortunately, much of the decorative details of this vimana is lost. However, the existing decorations of the vimana are not original in nature. Over an old vimana of the Chola times, probably of the same order, repairs must have been done several times and what exists at present is, of course, the work of the time of the Wodeyars of Mysore.

An addition in the form of an assembly hall to the temple of Srinivasa was made during the Hoysala period. No epigraphical evidence is available to ascribe the construction of this hall to any particular period. However, the shape of the pillars and the corbels above exhibit traits that suggest C. XII century as the probable date to this structure.

The hypostyle hall, built in front of the Srinivasa shrine is square in plan. It has four rows of pillars, with four pillars in each row that support the architraves running east – west. The roof is simple and flat. The pillars of the hall are treated identically. As the floor of the hall has been done several times, the pedestals of the columns are buried under. The pillars, at present, stand directly over the floor. Only the shafts are visible at present. All the columns, with their corbels, are carved out of granite. The typical Hoysala craft of carving pillars on lathe is not to be found. As the original Srinivasa shrine was in the Chola idiom, the extension is also made in a similar manner. The base of the shaft is cubical, above which it becomes octagonal to a height of about 15 cms. Above this, the shaft is completely cylindrical and uniform in diameter. Above the shaft, directly, sits the corbel bracket. The bracket is extended on both the sides for about a foot. The lower ends of the bracket have the brimmed projecting knop in the centre, with its two sides having the transverse roller design. These two motifs suggest the blend of the post- Chola (the knop) and the late Hoysala (transverse roller) motifs. The design of the pillar shaft suggests the Chola workmanship as seen at Tonnur temples built by the Chola artists in the middle of XII century AD. But the corbels there are of typical Chola idiom. To this type of corbel is also added, the design of the transverse roller extensively seen in the Hoysala corbels. Therefore, on the basis of the design of the corbel, the date of construction of this hall may be assigned to the XII – XIII century AD. Belagola, during this period, was under the strong influence of the Vaishnava sect. It was a flourishing chaturvedimangala during the XII century AD, as evidenced by its name Kongukonda Vishnuvardhana Poysaladeva Chaturvedimangala12.

It is a known fact that the Hoysalas relieved this region from the political hold of the imperial Cholas. The construction of Janardhana and the Srinivasa temples at Belagola, during the Chola period, had made this place a stronghold of the Vaishnavas. Further, the construction of Bhaktavatsala (Narasimha) temple in the Hoysala idiom, during the Hoysala period proves that Belagola was a stronghold of the Vaishnavites. Hoysala Vishnuvardhana was a patron of the Vaishnava cult as evidenced by the construction of major Vishnu temples at Belur, Tonnur, Talakad and Doddagaddavalli by him. In this ideal religious ambience, Vaishnavism grew into a prominent sect at Belagola and the place got the distinctive name Vishnuvardhana Chaturvedimangala.

The growth of Vaishnavism at Belagola in the Hoysala period necessitated expansion of the Srinivasa shrine at Srinivasakshetra as it was also a riverside pilgrim centre. The shrine was enlarged by constructing an assembly hall along with the shrine of Bhoganarasimha.

The assembly hall has doorways provided towards the east and on to the south opening to the courtyard. The central bay of the northern wall of the hall opens to the Bhoganarasimha shrine. A square sanctum is built projecting from the northern wall where Bhoganarasimha image is housed. A sukanasa is constructed to this shrine adjoining the two central pillars of the northern colonnade of the hall. The two recessed bays thus created on the left and right sides of the sukanasa are used to keep the images of Alwars and other deities.

The porches to the assembly hall were added during the period of the Wodeyars of Mysore. The shafts of the front pillars of the porches are designed similar to the pillar shafts of the assembly hall. They support corbels carved in the late Vijayanagar style having double flexured arms with kadalipushpa drops. Similarly, the slabs of the eave (kapota) that runs right round the porches exhibit a change in colour, texture and decoration, from those of the cornice of the wall of the temple. These two factors make clear the fact that the porches are a later addition.

The porches have approaches through flights of steps from the sides. The steps are flanked by ordinary balusters with the simple volute design. The doorframes of the temple are very ordinary and plain in their execution, a feature common in the Chola temples. Even the ceilings are plain and most utilitarian. The ceiling of the Srinivasa shrine is of nabhichanda type. The ceiling of the Narasimha shrine has reliefs of twenty padmas, arranged in five rows of four padmas each.

The exterior wall of the assembly hall is very simple in construction. The plinth, up to the topmost moulding is hidden under the debris all round. Only at the backside of the Narasimha shrine, the sloped top of the uppermost moulding is visible. It appears that the walls of the assembly hall are constructed over a simple manchabandha adhisthana.

The wall surface is simple, plain and devoid of any carving. Dressed stone slabs are kept sideward one above another in two parallel lines and the interspace is filled with mud. A simple sloped kapota is provided all round, except around the Narasimha shrine, where crude dentilation is made for the kapota.
The Narasimha shrine also has a small tower of brick and mortar. The tower is single tiered. This tower is in a better state of preservation than the one seen above the Srinivasa shrine. The tower is in Dravidian mode. The shikara is domical. No stucco sculptures are found on the body of the vimana.

During the XIX century, two additional structures were built adjacent to the Srinivasa shrine. They are (i) the pakashala (kitchen) and (ii) the Srimatha (monastery). Both the structures are built haphazardly adjacent to southern and northern sides of the Srinivasa shrine respectively. Both these are built out of brick and mortar and both are in a bad state of preservation.

The pakashala has an entry from the southern side and the Srimatha from the northern side. An inscription on the lintel of the doorway of the pakashala states that it was constructed in 1842 AD and the Srimatha, according to another inscription, was constructed in the year 1847 AD.

An utsavamandapa of one square (ankana), with a porch supported on two pillars, is constructed on the northwestern side of the Srinivasa Shrine. It is built facing the river (north). A simple manchabandha adhishthana is provided only for the mandapa. The mandapa is covered on its three sides by brick walls. It has no superstructure.

A rectangular compound of brick and mortar is built enclosing the temple complex. It has entrance gates towards the north and the south. The northern gate that opens towards the riverbank has a dwaramandapa, which is in disrepair.

To the southern bank of the river, near the temple, a few steps (sopana) are provided, which, according to an inscription there, in XVIII – XIX century characters, is a service of a lady by name Nanjamma of Varanasi.                                                               

Sculptures: Two important sculptures are found in the temple. They are the one of Srinivasa and the other of Bhoga Narasimha .The sculpture of Srinivasa is in the main shrine while that of Bhoga Narasimha is housed in the northern shrine.                                                                                                                                                                                     

Srinivasa: The sculpture of Srinivasa, from its decorative features appears to be of the Hoysala period. It is a standing image of four feet height. It is carved in black granite. The decorative details are quite lavish, reminding us of the Hoysala influence. However, the facial features have the typical stamp of the Vijayanagara style of sculptures. It appears that during the Vijayanagara days, when Vaishnavism was strong and widespread, the old sculpture of the Chola days was replaced by the present one.
The image of Srinivasa is four handed. The God holds in his upper right hand chakra, upper left, sankha, the lower right hand is in varadamudra and the lower left is katihasta. Varieties of ornaments carved elaborately and crisply adorn the body of the image. The attributes sankha and the chakra are also intricately decorated. So is the kirita, carved in two tiers with delicate beadwork. The antariya of the God hangs on the two sides of the body with multiple folds. The body of the image is quite well polished.

Bhoga Narasimha: The image of god Narasimha is five feet high. It is sitting in the maharaja leelasana posture over a high pedestal. Narasimha is four handed. Chakra (upper right), Sankha (upper left), Abhaya (lower right) and Varada (lower left) are the attributes and gestures of the sculpture. The lion face of the god is calm and quiet. The crown is conical and multi tiered. Ornamentation is quite rich and detailed. The image, in its appearance is big, good looking and impressive too.

On the right and left sides of the image of Narasimha, are the sculptures of Sridevi and Bhudevi respectively. These two images of Devis are carved separately and are placed on the two sides of the Narasimha image. All have separate stone peethas but are placed on a common, oblong pedestal. The images of the Devis are four feet in height. The workmanship, the decoration and the proportions of the Devi images go well with those of the main image. The image of Lakshmi is well finished. The facial features remind us of the elegant look of the Chola sculptures, while the image of Bhudevi is not so well finished. Stylistically these sculptures also can be dated to the Vijayanagara period and style.

There are sculptures of Vaishnava Dwarapalakas for both the shrines. They also bear traits similar to those found on the cult images housed inside the sanctums.

It is heartening to note that the Orissa Association of Mysore has taken up the renovation and restoration work of the entire temple and its architectural adjuncts, with the permission of the Government of Karnrtaka.


Notes and References

  1. E.C. Vol.VI, Sr.78.
  2. Ibid.Sp.85.
  3. Ibid.Sp.84.
  4. Ibid.Sp.19.
  5. Ibid.Sp. 24.
  6. Ibid.Sp.69.
  7. Ibid.Sp.78.
  8. Ibid.Sp.81-83
  9. Ibid.Sp.70.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.

*For details see website www.mysoreoriya.org


Repair and Conservation Work to be undertaken:
The temple is now in a bad state of preservation.  The outer walls of the ancient sanctum are losing their plumb line.  These walls are to be re-assembled. The tower of brick and mortar above is highly dilapidated. This needs to be re-constructed.  The tower of Bhoga Narasimha shrine also needs urgent repairs. Portions of outer walls of the assembly hall need to be reset.  The porch on the eastern and southern sides, also need to be reset.  The entrance porch on the northern side of the compound is to be reconstructed.  A new enclosure wall is to be built.   The remains of the plinth of the original cloistered veranda around the western sanctum, is to be traced and conserved.  The Utsava Mandapa built during the recent centuries, on the northern-western side of the enclosure also needs repairs.

The technical committee consisting of the specialists from the field has prepared a detailed project report for the renovation and restoration of this unique temple. As per the estimation made by the experts, the cost of renovation and restoration work will exceed Rs.30.00 lakhs.  The estimated time for conservation and restoration work is about 24 months.

Click here for road map of temple...


1. After dismantle of the dilapidated Pakasala and Yagnasala and clearing more than three feet thick debris of lime mortar layers over the roof, it was observed that the foundations of Sri Venkateswara temple have sunken at various places. Similar conditions were observed at many areas of Navaranga and Garbhagriha of Bhoga Narasimha temple. Such sinking of foundations had resulted severe cracks, bulging out and tilting of walls of the temple. In addition, severe cracks were observed in the Vimana Gopuram of Sri Venkateswara temple. 
2. To set right these defects, each and every stone member in the walls were dismantled and stacked serially after properly marking with alphabets and numbers, making detailed sketches and taking photographs.
3. The Vimana Gopuram of Sri Venkateswara was dismantled as decided by the Technical Committee for reconstruction by Md. Jan from Hampi, in the same ancient style and design. Md. Jan made multiple visits to the temple site with his draftsman and prepared detailed sketches of the Gopuram and took photographs before dismantle.  
4. The sunken foundations were dug out and re-laid in proper alignment with the help of leveling instruments.
5. The uniqueness of this temple is that there are two rows of walls – the inner and the outer walls with a gap of about one and half foot between the two. Originally the gap was filled with mud and broken bricks. All stone members in the inner and outer walls are of large size granite stones. After dismantling the stone members in the outer walls, the exposed inner wall stones were repaired with pointing.  
6.  Then all stone members of the outer walls were again re-erected to proper line and plumb. The gaps between the walls were filled up with granite boulders and cement mortar instead of mud and broken bricks.         
7.  A layer of cement concrete was laid over the stone slabs on the roof of the temple over which a layer of four and half inch average thickness RCC was cast with slope for proper drainage of water.
8.  Both Mantapas in the east and south sides were in bad conditions. These were tilted to the front and there was fear of collapse. These Mantapas were dismantled and re-erected with proper alignment.
9. A new parapet with cornicing in original design has been constructed in the roof.


1. Due to sinking of foundations and bulging out of walls, the Vimana Gopuram of Sri Venkateswara had developed severe cracks and was in bad condition. And also to rectify the defects in the foundations and walls of the Garbhagriha, the Technical Committee decided to dismantle the Vimana Gopuram of Sri Venkateswara and rebuild the same by Md. Jan from Hampi after the defects in walls and foundations were set right. Accordingly, Md. Jan has arrived at site and started rebuilding the Vimana Gopuram of Sri Venkateswara since October 14, 2007.
2. Md. Jan will also repair/rebuild the Vimana Gopuram of Bhoga Narasimha after completing the first one.
3. Some stone members in the rear side and some ceiling stones of Bhoga Narasimha Garbhagriha are broken and damaged. These are to be repaired and set right.
4. The Technical Committee decided to make the flooring of the temple in granite stone, for which the surface has been prepared by digging the floor and laying a layer of concrete. The granite stone flooring work will be taken up by mid November 2007 after chemical cleaning of the ceiling and inside walls of the temple. Chemical cleaning of walls is in progress.
5. Work on renovation of the Utsava Mantapa, the gate with steps to Kaveri in the north and the gate at the south entrance has been taken up and progressing.
6. Debris to be removed and leveling of the surrounding of the temple to be done.
7. Electrification of the temple premises to be done.

 Besides the above, we have to construct
1  A boundary wall all around the temple.
2. Bathing ghat on the riverside and an enclosure for changing clothes.
3. Two rooms for Archaka and Security to be constructed.
4. Installation of a bore well for fresh water with OH tank.
5. Landscaping.    

It may be observed that the cost of renovation has escalated considerably. In the original estimation, it was RS. 28.00 Lakhs and now it has gone up to around RS. 35.00Lakhs. Major reasons for such rise in project cost may be attributed to increase in quantum of work, which could not be envisaged at the time of preparing the detailed project report. These extra activities are:

  1. The defects in the foundation and walls of Sri Venkateswara garbhagriha could be noticed only after dismantle of the Pakasala and Yagnashala, because these two dilapidated structures were covering the main temple structure. Rectifications of defects in the foundation and walls have increased the cost considerably.
  2. Dismantle of Vimana Gopuram of Sri Venkateswara and rebuilding a new one became absolute necessity to set right the defects in the foundation and walls of the Garbhagriha.  Thus the original estimation for this single item increased by 2.5 times.
  3. Two ceiling stones and two beams of the Garbhagriha and Sukhanasi of Sri Bhoga Narasimha had developed cracks, which could not be noticed during initial inspection. Repair of these stones necessitates extra expenditure.       
  4. Decision to be taken by the Technical Committee to either repair or rebuild the Vimana Gopuram of Sri Bhoga Narasimha. Incase it is to be rebuild by Md. Jan instead of repairing, the cost will increase further. For the time being, the cost of repair has been considered in the fund requirement statement.
  5. In the initial estimation, we thought of repairing both the Mantaps in the east and south sides. However, seeing the extent of defects and fearing collapse, the Technical Committee decided to dismantle both Mantaps and re-erect to proper line and plumb. This has affected the project cost.
  6. Initially it was thought of retaining the existing floor or to make a cement floor. However, the Technical Committee desired that for maintaining the sanctity of this ancient temple, the floor to be made of rough granite stone. The cost of flooring has been estimated to be around RS.2.00 Lakhs.

A meeting was held in the temple premises on 19.8.2007 to review the progress of renovation work, take stock of the balance work to be completed and decide the sequence of activities and review the fund position. The meeting was chaired by Dr. M.S. Nagaraja Rao, Chairman,Technical Committee. Dr. M.S. Krishna Murthy, Vice Chairman, Technical Committee, Sri Narasimhaiah, Sri RYN. Iyengar and other members of Technical Committee participated in the deliberations. Sri S.A. Narayan Prasad, Sri S.A. Govind Raj, Sri S.A. Srivathsan from Bangalore; whose parents and all family members deeply involved in the affairs of temple renovation work, were present and keenly took part in the discussions. Many members of Orissa Association Mysore were present. Before commencement of the meeting, the committee members and others who were present, went round and minutely inspected the work and appreciated the progress achieved. After thorough discussions and deliberations, the following decisions were taken
1.The floors of Navaranga, Sukhanasi and both Mantapas have to be made with rough granite stones instead of cement floor. The total area of floor is about 1800 Sq. feet. The estimated flooring cost with granite stone is RS.2.00lakhs.
2. The experts in the technical committee examined the cracks in the ceiling stones and in the rear outer wall of the Garbhagriha of Sri Bhoga Narasimha temple. They opined that these defects are to be rectified by removing the stones and resetting same with proper alignment To accomplish this work, the Vimana Gopuram of Sri Bhoga Narasimha, which is reasonably in good condition; has to be dismantled and rebuild by Md. Jan. This will increase the cost considerably.
In view of paucity of funds, D.K. Misra, President, Orissa Association Mysore requested the experts to explore the possibility of repairing the cracked stones without dismantling the Vimana Gopuram and thereby the ancient structure is conserved. The cost of repair of Vimana Gopuram is RS. 40,000.00, where as the rebuilding cost will be around RS.1.75 lakhs.
The committee informed that decision in this regard would be taken after observing the construction of new Vimana Gopuram for Sri Venkateswara which is being done by Md. Jan.
3. The Technical Committee decided to close the unused opening in the Navarang, which was there earlier for connecting to the Pakashala, now dismantled and removed.
4. It was decided in the meeting that the debris has to be removed and the temple surrounding is leveled up to the plinth level.
5. It was further decided that for strengthening the foundation and restricting seepage of water into it, cement concrete flogging to be done all-around the temple.
6. Four wooden doors are to be made out of the wood salvaged from the dilapidated temple and fixed at two entrances to Navaranga and one each at the Sukhasnasi of Sri Venkateswara and Sri Bhoga Narasimha.
7. The walls outside and inside the temple are to be cleaned with suitable chemicals and a protective chemical to be applied. The cleaning work is in progress.
8. President, Orissa Association Mysore, D.K.Misra gave a broad picture of as on date fund position and requirement of funds for carrying out the renovation work. He requested all to put efforts for arranging funds to meet the project cost. He reiterated his desire to perform Pranapratistha of the deities some time towords end of January 2008, so that gods and goddesses get regular puja in the temple.
9. D.K.Misra informed in the meeting that at present the Archaka is performing daily puja of the Purna Kumbhas, where powers of gods and goddesses have been preserved after Kalakarsana and kept in a makeshift temple in Belagola. The monthly expenses including remuneration of the Archaka comes to RS. 2000.00 and is spent from the temple renovation fund account. In view of this, Dr.M.S. Nagaraja Rao, Chairman Technical Committee suggested that all members and persons connected with this temple should contribute RS.2000.00 each for meeting the daily puja expenses. Immediately 10 members including Dr. Rao, Dr. Krishna Murthy, Sri S.A. Narayan Prasad and his brothers and Sri RYN. Iyengar gave the amount, to meet the puja expenses for 10 months. D.K.Misra requested all members present in the meting to follow suit.          
Item wise fund requirement is given in the statement of account and fund position as stated below. 







Donations and other incomes in Temple A/C & Foreign Currency A/C in RS.





Major expenditures in RS.

  1. Payment to Contractor
  2. Temple renovation work
  3. Encasing deities – cost of plywood, carpenter and transport
  4. Payment to Vidya Bhat for oil paintings of deities
  5. Remuneration to priest and Oil etc.
  6. Gudali Puja expenses
  7. Kalakarsana puja expenses
  8. Photo printing
  9. Payment of TDS
  10. Advance payment to Md. Jan for Gopuram work
  11. Advance payment National Marble for Granite stones and laying
  12. Purchase of TMT rods for RCC
  13. Payment to Engineer I/C
  14. Printing Brochures, I-.cards etc and stationary
  15. Website Development & renewal
  16. Rental car for Gudali Puja & Kalakarsana Puja day and  traveling for Eng.I/C & OAM members
  17. Puja expanses (For Gopuram)
  18. Meeting expenses at temple site
  19. Purchase of utensils for temple
  20. Electrical expanses
  21. Traveling expanses for Md. Jan & draftsman
  22. Postage and photocopy
  23. Bank charges
  24. Miscellaneous






































Total expenditure up to date





Balance in Bank:

Balance in Bank as on 03.11.07
  1. Temple A/C
  2. Foreign currency A/C










Commitment for donation:

Donation Committed – yet to receive RS









Funds Required:

Bills pending for payment in RS.
1. L. Mahadeva, contractor







Work in progress and fund required

  1. Vimana Gopuram by Md.Jan of Sri Venkateswar (balance payment)
  2. Chemical wash and cleaning of Navaranga, Sukhanasi, Garbhagriha and outer walls
  3. Repair and renovation of Utsava Mantapa, South side gate and North side gate with steps to river Kaveri
  4. Granite slab supply & fixing in  the floor of Navaranga, Sukhanasi and both Mantapas(balance payment)




















Work to be taken up immediate next & funds required

  1. Repair/Re-build of Vimana Gopuram of Sri Bhoga Narasimha
  2. Kalasa on both Vimana Gopuram.
  3. Repair of Garbhagriha and Sukhanasi of Sri Bhoga Narasimha.
  1. Repair and strengthening of foundation and rear wall of Sri Bhoga Narasimha Garbhagriha
  2. 4 Nos of Teakwood doors
  3. Clearing of debris and leveling of  surroundings
  4. Flogging of entire periphery of temple with concrete


  1. Electrification of temple & premises




40000.00/ **175000.00





















Work to be taken up in due course & fund required

  1. Construction of Boundary wall
  2. Construction of two rooms for Archaka and Security
  3. Installation of Bore well and OH tank
  4. Landscaping















On October 14, 2007, Md. Jan started rebuilding the Vimana Gopuram of Sri Venkateswar. On that occasion, a Puja was performed on the roof of the temple. Dr. M.S. Krishna Murthy, Sri S.A. Balaji along with his brothers  Sri S.A. Govind Raj and Sri S.A. Srivathsan and Sri RYN. Iyengar, from Bangalore and many members from OAM were present.
Since then, Md. Jan’s work is progressing well.

Photographs of all recent works:


I The renovation work of the temple is progressing quite satisfactorily and if it goes in this way, god willing, we will be able to perform Prana Pratistha of deities sometime towards end of January 2008. And then Lord Venkateswara and Bhoga Narasimha with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi will come out of Purna Kumbhas and get worshiped in Their abode itself. As learnt from Agama Scholars, gods and goddesses should not remain closed in Kumbhas for a very long period. In our case, it is already more than one year.
However, the most worrying factor now is the precarious fund position. Kindly go through the statement of accounts stated above, which shows the details of receipts and expenditures, the present bank balance and funds required for the balance work to be executed. All our friends and well-wishers are requested to put all-out efforts for generating funds, so that the temple renovation work proceeds uninterrupted.   


Appeal for donations: Philanthropists and people everywhere who respect the Sanatana Dharma, to kindly donate liberally for this noble work.

Donations are exempted from Income Tax under section 80G.