05 September 2015

Lakshminarasimha Temple, Nuggehalli

Nuggehalli is a small village near Chennarayapatana in Hassan District. It's famous for Hoysala style Lakshminarasimha temple which was constructed around 1250 AD by Bomanna a commander in Hoysala king Vira Someshwara's empire.

Sculptures around southern side of Lakshminarasimha temple. Most prominent in this set are Vamana receiving gift from Bali and Trivikrama with river Ganga
If you ask any random Kannada speaking person, how this place got its name ? The obvious answer will be that it's due to abundant cultivation of Nuggekai(Drumsticks) in around the village. Actually, the name is from kannada word nuggu(ನುಗ್ಗು) meaning 'intrude'. Over the centuries, the people from neighbouring villages have tried to intrude or attack this place frequently and hence the name Nuggehalli. This was explained in detail by my friend Ananth Shayan, whose ancestors hail from the same place and also accompanied us for a short weekend trip.

Structures in Nuggehalli Village next to Lakshminarasimha temple

Getting There:
Nuggehalli is around 150 kms from Bangalore. After taking a deviation from Bangalore-Hassan highway one needs drive around 20 kms to reach the destination. Inside the village, the approach to temple may be bit confusing. You need may need to take villager's help for wading through narrow roads and don't rely completely on Google Maps.

Front facade of the temple. It's in complete contrast to what's their inside :)

About the Temple:
The temple is among 3rd generation of Hoysala temples with three shrines in different directions around a common hall inside garabagudi. The three deities are Venugopala, Keshava and the main deity Lakshinarasimha. The exteriors of the temple are covered with sculptures which mainly comprise 24 forms of Vishnu and other related deities. As per archaeologists, the sculptures may not be of royal class with respect to grandeur but above average if compared with rest of Hoysala temples. 

Venugopala and Padmanabha
Descriptions of the Sculptures:
There are no official guides at the temple who can provide you detailed walkthrough of the sculptures. However, the temple management has provided the details in a board next to entrance of garabagudi. We actually took the photographs of all five boards and did a self walkthrough by referring to images in our phones. The experience was totally different than our initial round around the temple in which we randomly identified a few sculptures and also mixed up a few forms like Varaha, Hayagriva etc. :)

Sculptures around Northern side of the temple
To conclude, Nuggehalli is must visit place for archaeology, history and travel enthusiasts. It's highly recommended to explore the place at leisurely pace as you need at least 2-3 hours to go through all the carvings in detail !


  1. Nice! I visited a few other Hoysala temples recently - Koravangla and Doddagaddavalli - both near Hassan. Will make sure to visit Nuggehalli sometime soon :)

    1. Nice to know about your exploration of Hoysala temples. How about going together rest of the unexplored temples ?

    2. Sounds great! We can plan over emails :)