The origin of the Hoysalas is a matter of much interesting speculation and controversy. Like their distinguished contemporaries, the Seunas, the Hoysalas too claim their descent from Yadu (Lunar Dynasty) and call themselves the Yadavas. The conventional titles like, "Yadavanarayana", "Yadavakutambrad-yumani" and "Dvaravatipura-varadhisvara" are common to both the Seunas and the Hoysalas. These details are compiled from internet and by various sources by the Blogger over the years.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chenna Kesava Temple (1150 A.D), Kaidala, Tumkuru Taluk, Tumkur District.


Those of us who have visited Belur and Halebid will surely remember being awestruck by the sheer magnificence of the temples, wondering and praising the master sculptor - Jakanachari. But how many of us have bothered to find out where Jakanachari was born and which are the other temples that bear his signature. Jakanachari, the master sculptor was born and brought up at Kaidala, a small non-descript village nearby.

Kaidala situated a mere 9 km from Tumkur town off Gulur village on the Kunigal road, hosts two exquisite temples sculpted by Jakanachari. According to historical records, Kaidala was called Kridapura and was the capital of the state. Jakanachari, the famous architect and sculptor to whose skills are attributed some of the finest temples in the State including those in Halebid and Belur is believed to have been a native of this village.

The legend

Jakanachari’s life story speaks of romance, love and dedication to art. The master craftsman’s career began during the reign of Nripa Haya, a local chieftain ruling Kaidala or Kridapura. Jakanachari, a young sculptor, leaves his wife behind at Kaidala and travels far and wide; seeking to perfect his art and attains fame. During the course of his travels, he builds several elegant temples including Belur and Halebid. Working and travelling, Jakanachari becomes so engrossed in sculpting new and beautiful temples that he forgets his wife.

Back home at Kaidala, a son is born to him and his wife names him Dankanachari. The young boy grows up to become a sculptor too. Attaining adulthood, Dankanachari sets out in search of his father. At Belur, he notices that a Chenna Kesava temple is being built and goes to inspect the same. At the site, he points out a blemish in one of the images and says that the flaw makes the idol unworthy of worship. The architect, none other than Jakanachari himself, hastily vows to cut off his right hand if any defect could be found in the image he had carved.

In order to test the matter, the figure is covered with sandal paste, which dries on every part except around the navel. On examination, a cavity containing a frog in sand and water is found. Mortified at the result, Jakanachari cuts off his right hand as promised. Curious about the young man, Jakanachari makes enquiries and discovers that Dankanachari is indeed his own son.

Subsequently, Jakanachari gets a vision directing him to dedicate a temple to lord Chenna Kesava in his native place, Kridapura. Accordingly, he returns to that place and legend says that no sooner was the temple completed than his right hand was restored. In commemoration of this incident, the place has ever since been called Kaidala.

Chenna Kesava temple

The sprawling Chenna Kesava temple complex is completely surrounded by a tall fort-like wall. The temple is a fine blend of Hoysala, Dravidian and Vijayanagara styles of architecture. It was probably built around 1150 A.D by Bachi, samanta raja of Hoysala King Narasimha I.

The mahadwara or outer gate is surmounted by a massive gopura and has a large doorway flanked by beautifully anointed pillars. On the right pillar is a figure of Chenna Kesava, similar to the one inside the temple, with consorts on the side panels. The left pillar has a fine figure, about 11 ft tall, standing with folded hands, wearing an uttariya or upper cloth and a dagger, which is said to represent the celebrated sculptor Jakanachari. Another school of thought states that this figure represents the chief who sanctioned the construction of the temple or the mahadwara.

Enter through the main gate and the vastness and beauty of the temple complex strikes you. The large courtyard with its shady trees and lush green lawn provides a serene and harmonious ambiance ideal for spiritual thought and deliberation.

Two hero-stones are also placed to the right of the main entrance inside the temple courtyard. A short walk through the courtyard leads to the navaranga, which is supported by several artistically carved pillars.

The pillars and walls of the temple are adorned with carved relief images of dancing girls, sages, lions, elephants and demi-gods and incidents from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

The west-facing monolithic black-granite image of Lord Chenna Kesava is about 5½ ft tall and is installed on a 2½ feet high pedestal. The ten incarnations of Vishnu are carved on the prabhavali (representation of aura). Strikingly beautiful images of Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi – two consorts of Lord Chenna Kesava – flank the main image in the sanctum.

Gangadhareshwara Temple

The Gangeshvara or Gangadhareshvara shrine is situated adjacent to the Chenna Kesava temple. Though considerably smaller than the former, this quaint structure is in many ways grander.

The temple has only two parts, the navaranga, supported by four artistically carved black granite pillars and the garbha griha (sanctum). The outer wall of the temple has rows of intricately carved elephant figures and flower images adorning it. An exquisitely carved stone railing or parapet adorned with images of elephants, flowers and other relief flanks the navaranga. The pillars are strikingly beautiful and hold a stark resemblance to those in the Chenna Kesava temple at Belur, the Gangadhareshwara temple at Shivaganga, and the Virupaksha temple in Hampi among others.

This temple has two stone inscriptions in hale Kannada, which declare that a chief named Gule Bachi constructed these temples in 1150 AD during the reign of the Hoysala king Narasimha I. The name of the place is mentioned as ‘Kayadala.’

Travel to Tumkur and go past the town to reach the Tumkur-Kunigal road. Five km on this road is Gulur, turn right at the main circle and half a km later, you are at the Kaidala Chenna Kesava temple.


  1. My only favourite place is Kaidala. It is very near to Tumkur city. It is only the place to visit the Hoysala sculpture in Tumkur.

    Madhu, Tumkur

  2. I want to do Tonture, ear piercing and naming for my child, is there is facility to do such. Any one have contact to the temple

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