A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in a village near Hassan in Karnataka was thronged by devotees last week.
The occasion and the place were very special – built in the 12th century CE, the temple was in ruins for more than 450 years before its restoration.
The restoration of the temple was done by a family in Karnataka. Ugra, a member of the family, shared on social media the reconstruction of the temple.
Located in a village called Shantigrama, just 15 kilometres from Hassan, the temple is close to the NH 75.
“Built in 1123 CE during the reign of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, the temple had been ravaged by Islamic invaders sometime between 1566-1568 CE,” Ugra wrote.
The 16th century was the period when empires in the south had almost been destroyed by constant attacks from Islamic marauders from the north.
As is usual with Islamic invasions everywhere, temples were ransacked, idols broken, and structures set on fire. The wealth of the temples were looted. Similar was the fate of this Shiva temple.
When Ugra’s family started the reconstruction work, the temple gradually started taking shape.
Though the invaders had set parts of the temple on fire, engravings on the walls were still visible at places.
Only a few of the motifs of dancing women or apsaras, as is a common feature in most ancient Hindu temples, survived the swords and hammers of the plunderers.
The work on restoration of the temple started in 2016. Ugra admits that even after it is restored, it won’t look as glorious as the original.
Constructing a temple that looks like a glorious 12th century temple would cost a lot of money and a special knowledge of engineering.
“The other side of the temple. It’s a far cry from what it was during the glory days of the Hoysalas,” wrote Ugra as he posted this image.
Not just the temple, the family also helped restore monoliths which were part of the temple architecture.
The Gopuram (ornamental tower) and the Garbhagriha (room of the presiding deity) were rebuilt.
Urga wrote that Shiva is worshipped as Lord Dharmeshwara in the temple. He wrote that the Islamic invaders had broken the lingam in two.
His family also worked on restoring the interiors featuring carvings on ceilings and polishing the soot off the walls.
In February this year the temple was opened to the public and a ceremony was held to worship the Lord.
All pictures were posted by Ugra on Twitter. You can see them in this single thread.