Melkote, located 6 Kms to the North from Mandya, is a sacred pilgrim centre known for its Vairamudi festivalheld in March-April. More than one lakh devotees congregate here for this festival. The great saint Ramanujacharya walked this land a thousand years ago. The Chaluvanarayan Swamy and Yaganarasimha Swamy temples of Melkote boast of a history of more than 1000 years. Melkote is also home to the Academy of Sanskrit Research. Melkote can be reached by road from Bengaluru, Mysore and Mandya.
The Lakshminarayana temple at the village of Hosa Holalolu is a magnificent example of Hoysala architecture of the thirteenth century. The intricate carvings in stone depict various images from the Mahabharata and other epics. The temple is a trikutachala or three-celled temple. Only the main cell has a sukhanasi and a tower. Some of the images carved on the walls are about two and a half feet high. They are of fine proportions and well executed. The figures of Panduranga, Dakshinamurti and Mohini are particularly noteworthy. Groups of dancing ladies with accompaniments in impressive poses adorn the capitals of the pillars in the navaranga. There are also some interesting sculptures in the friezes, the scroll work and the railing panels. An annual jatra called Rangada-habba is held here in honour of Anjaneya about the month of April. It resembles the Holi festival in some respects. The villages put on various disguises, sing the praises of god and dance the whole night, squirting, at intervals, saffron water (vasanta) over one another.
The Mallikarjuna Temple at Basaralu is a good and highly ornate specimen of Hoysala architecture, built in the thirteenth century by Harihara Dannayaka, during the rule of the Hoysala King Narasimha II. Two fine elephants with animated appearance flank the doorway of the porch. Impressively worked images of a height of about two and a half feet, representing Gods and heroes, adorn the main wall above the basement. Sixteen handed Lord Shiva dancing on Andhakasura's head, Durga with 22 arms and Saraswati, both in dancing postures, Ravana lifting the Kailasa, Arjuna shooting the fish target, Draupadi rushing forth with garland and Gajasura Mardana are some of the remarkable images which are particularly interesting. There are six friezes of sculptures depicting war elephants, horsemen, lions, swans and makaras and illustrating Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and several puranic episodes. This temple is located 35 Kms from Mandya by road.
The Brahmeshwara Temple at Kikkeri, located about 10 miles from Sravanabelagola, is a fine specimen of Hoysala architecture. It was constructed in 1171 A.D., during the rule of the Hoysala King Narasimha I, by a lady named Bammare Nayakiti. This ornate structure has some special features. The sides of the temple are convex viewed from outside and bulge out so that the interior dimensions are widened beyond the base. The deep indentation of the horizontal courses in the basement and the knife-edge to which the cornices have been brought are also interesting points. It is a single celled temple and has an impressive and lofty stone tower. There is a well executed image of Lord Vishnu, about four feet high, in one of the niches of the navaranga. The madanike figures carved on the capitals of the pillars of the navaranga are of extra-ordinary workmanship and are life-like.
Thus mentioned are the various places of pilgrimage tourism in the Mandya district.
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