Built-in 1224 AD by Hoysala King Veera Narasimha, the temple is dedicated to Lord Lakshmi Narasimha, an incarnation of God Vishnu. The monument is protected by Archaeological Survey of India.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple comes in a triple form, known as Vimana. While one of the shrines is south facing, the other two are north and west facing.
Soapstone has been used to construct the temple. If you touch the walls there is a soapy feeling and the stone is really tender.
The Dhwajasthamba and Garudasthamba greet us as we enter the courtyard. The Temple is built on a three-feet-high star-shaped platform called Jagati that appears to rest on the back of ashtadikgajas (eight elephants). This is symbolic of the fact that elephants were used to transport the stones from the quarry required for building the structure.
Inner walls of the shrine are plain and square, unlike the outer walls which are star-shaped (Nakshatra) which provides enough space to exhibit Sculptures.
The external wall has two eves. The first eve consists of small towers which exhibit miniature decorations on pilasters, known as aedicule. The second set of eves is followed by a panel engraved with the images of deities and by a set of moldings.
The closed central hall has no windows connects to the three sanctums via a vestibule (called sukhanasi).
There is a slab in Kannada inscription at the temple which exhibits the construction details.
Alone with Lord Lakshmi Narasimha (protector of mankind and slayer of evil demons and spirits), the temple has idols (murthis) of Lord Ganesha, Lord Sri Krishna, Goddess Sharadamba and Lord Purushottama along with the deity the Lord Narasimha. These four idols surround the main idol of Lord Narasimha.
The statue of Lord Narasimha is in a relaxed position, protecting his devotee Prahlada.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple- The Open Air Architectural Gallery
Some of the vital sculptures of the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravati is Lord Krishna playing the flute and a man with a serpent.
Sculptures of deities, apsaras, musicians and dancers, some of which are defaced and broken. However, the turrets, carved on the upper reaches of the wall, over 100 of them, are intact and represent models of towers seen in numerous temples of India. Sculptures also tell regarding the daily lifestyle of the thirteenth century.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple is highly acclaimed by the tourist for its architecture, sacredness and serenity.
The temple is situated right in the middle of the old town and is well maintained with daily puja happening with great fanfare, and regular local visitors to the temple have kept the premises in good condition.
It is believed that here, Lord Vishnu in the avatar of Varaha, that is, wild boar, rescued Bhudevi, that is, Goddess Earth. She was held captive within the ocean by demon Hirayankasha. As per Holy Scriptures, once Varaha lifted earth together with his 2 tusks, stream Tunga and Bhadra were formed. Also, the city of Bhadravati was long referred to as "Vankipura", named when the sage Vanki had performed penance and had worshipped Lord Lakshmi Narasimha in this region for a long time. With time Vankipura came to be referred to as Benkipura and Benki Pattana, which means ‘City of fire,' thanks to the presence of giant iron ore deposits and therefore the important establishment of many furnaces here that made firearms for export.
Legend has it that during Rama's rule of Ayodhya when he made rounds of his kingdom to ascertain the welfare of his people, he observed his shadow appeared in two forms: one as a vanara or monkey and the other as a human. Puzzled by this unusual phenomenon, he sought the reason for this.
The twin shadows apparently were caused because he had been cursed by the vanara king Vaali whom he had killed, not face-to-face, but while hiding himself behind a tree in a confrontation that was really between Sugreeva and Vaali. This was contrary to the Kshatriya traditions. To be relieved of Vaali's curse, Rama was asked to go to the sacred Tungabhadra river, pray to Lord Narasimha and install the Ishwara lingam.
The Temple also finds mention in the Mahabharata. Following the battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna asks Lord Krishna the means by which he could atone the sin of killing his own kith and kin in the war. Krishna suggests that the mere darshan of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha at Vankipura would enable the atonement.
The temple is still functional and hence is visited by numerous devotees throughout the year. There is an important guideline even for the priests to worship at this temple; only celibates are permitted to perform worship at the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravati.
Some of the sculptures of the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravati are worshipped till date.
Because of the divine anger form of Narasimha, high level of attention is always asked for. People are always asked to provide complete dedication, before performing such religious values.
Besides the regular rituals, there are annual festivals celebrated here.
The temple is open throughout the year. There are no holidays and no such best time to visit.
The temple opens early in the morning at 6.00 am to the visitors.
The temple is closed in the afternoon. The temple again opens at 6.30 pm at evening and closes at 9 pm.
Though there is no process of serving food or lunch at the temple, Prasada is served after worship.
There is no entry fee in the temple. From parking to use of the camera, everything is free of cost.
As a general guideline at any Indian temple, devotees need to keep their footwear outside the temple.
Located on the banks of River Bhadra, Bhadravati an industrial town and taluk in the Shivamogga (Shimoga) District of Karnataka state, India. It is situated at a distance of about 255 km from the state capital Bangalore and at about 20 km from the district headquarters Shivamogga (Shimoga). The city is famous for its couple of tourist destinations, besides the paper mills and iron and steel plant; one is the Bhadra wildlife sanctuary and the other is the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple.
Tourists can opt for NH-206 to reach Bhadravati. This highway passes through Tumkur, Tiptur, Arasikere, Kadur, Birur and Tarikere to reach Bhadravati. All KSRTC and private buses that start from Bangalore to Shivamogga (Shimoga) stop here at Bhadravati. The journey will be around six hours. From Shivamogga (Shimoga): To reach Bhadravati from here, one can either book a taxi or take a KSRTC bus. The journey may not be that comfortable but will be economical.
There is another route from Mysore to Bhadravati. The route of Mysore passes from Channarayapattana, Arasikere, Kadur to reach Bhadravati.
The nearest railway station to the temple is the Birur- Bhadravati railway station. The trains that ply between Bangalore and Shivamogga (Shimoga) have stoppage at the Bhadravati railway station.
Visitors can also reach Birur junction from major cities in India and take a local train/bus to reach Bhadravati.
The Hubli airport is the nearest domestic airport to the temple, while the Bangalore airport is the nearest international airport. The Hubli airport is approximately 170 km from Bhadravati. There are daily flights to Hubli from Bangalore and Belgaum. There is also an option of using the Mangalore airport which is 180km away.
Once you are in Bhadravati, you can avail any local transport to reach this temple. If you are in your car, then ask the locals to direct you to the temple. The temple is located at one and a half kilometer from the main road. It takes almost an hour to reach Bhadravati from Birur. You can get around the town in auto rickshaws.
Here are a number of ancient temples located around the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravati.
Sri.Amrutheshwara Temple: This temple is located in the quaint village of Amruthapura, in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. It is almost 30 km from the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravati. This temple was also constructed during the Hoysala rule. The walls and pillars of the shrine are sculpted with incidents from the great Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Sri. Chintamani Narasimha Temple: This sacred temple is also located on the banks of River Tunga and Bhadra, in an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Sri Rameshwara Temple: Built by Hoysala and Ikkeri kings in Koodli where river Tunga and Bhadra unite.