A sudden desire of visiting a historical place made us end up planning for a day trip to the lesser-known Mallikarjuna Temple located in Basaralu town of Mandya district. The choice is also because of the fact that the place is just around 130 km from our home in Bengaluru. While finalizing the route, one more popular temple called Saumyakeshava Temple in Nagamangala got included in our plan.
The easy route to reach Basaralu is through the Bengaluru-Mysore highway. However, we opted to go via Magadi road and chose Mysore highway for our return journey. We had a long day to go. So we started from home at 7 AM. Via Banashankari to reach Magadi road. Our first destination was Saumyakeshava temple in Nagamangala town which is around 125 km from Bengaluru. From Magadi road, we crossed towns like Tavarekere > Magadi > Huliyurdurga. On the way, before reaching Magadi, you can get a view of Asia’s second-largest monolith Savanadurga. You can also visit Thippagondana Halli (T G Halli) en route. The road condition is good, except for a few kilometers after Huliyurdurga.
Saumyakeshava Temple, Nagamangala
We reached Nagamangala town at around 11 AM. Saumyakeshava temple is in the center of the town which makes it easy for you to locate it. Hoysala rulers constructed this temple in the 12th century. It exhibits Nagara-style architecture which is seen only in few Hoysala temples. The temple tower and the bounding walls are constructed by the rulers of the Vijayanagara empire. It is dedicated to Lord Keshava (Lord Vishnu) and is protected as a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). There are no intricate carvings on the outer walls of the temple for which Hoysala architectures are popular. However, the pillared corridor, peaceful sanctum, make this a beautiful place to visit.
Malllikarjuna Temple, Basaralu
After taking a few photos in the temple complex, we proceeded towards our main destination “Basaralu” which is around 17 km from Nagamangala. We reached Basaralu by 12.30 PM. It is a very small town and the Hoysala marvel, Mallikarjuna temple is located in the center of the town. Using Google Maps, we reached near the temple. Sadly, the place is not given the importance it actually deserves. There are no proper signboards, no temple tower, no parking space. It just stands there among a few small houses. The town condition is not that tourist-friendly. The only good thing is the temple complex is maintained well by ASI.
The temple was built in 1284 AD by Hoysala king Vira Narasimha II and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The intricate carvings on the walls of the temple are as complex as that in the popular Belur, Halebeedu, and Somanathpura temples. There are 103 skillfully carved images on the wall panel. Most popular among them are: Sixteen handed Shiva dancing on the head of a demon, twenty two armed Durga and Saraswathi in dancing pose, Ravana lifting mount Kailasha, Arjuna shooting the fish target, Draupadi rushing forth with garland in hand, and the slaying of the demon Gajasura. The bottom six lines of the temple wall has figures of elephants, horses with riders, Hoysala emblem, puranic episodes, crocodiles and swans, a signature art of most Hoysala temples. Every inch and corner of the temple walls are decorated with amazing art. No one can go back from here without appreciating the craftsmanship of Hoysala empire.
Photography is not allowed inside the temple. Outside the temple, you can spend hours together capturing the beauty. There is a guard who takes care of this temple. He allowed us to go inside the temple and told us about the temple. He also told that people visit Basaralu these days after reading articles about the temple in internet. However, when we visited, there was no one else except us. It will be great if this temple becomes more known to the history and art lovers and finds a place in the big list of popular tourist attractions of Karnataka.
After clicking many photos of the temple, we left from there at around 2 PM and started towards Mandya. On the way, we crossed many villages and jaggery factories and touched Bengaluru-Mysore highway in Mandya. Later, in Maddur, we had lunch at Maddur Tiffany’s and started towards Bengaluru via the highway. By the time we reached home it was around 6 PM.
Note: We took many breaks to do experiment with our new action camera. You can reach the places much earlier if you drive continuously.
Below is the video log of our ride to these amazing temples. Please watch, provide your valuable feedback, and subscribe to our YouTube channel Steps Together.
- Route Travelled: Onward: BTM Layout > Magadi > Huliyurdurga > Nagamangala > Saumyakeshava temple, Nagamangala > Basaralu
Return: Basaralu > Mandya > Ramanagara > Bidadi > Kengeri > BTM Layout
- Total Distance (To & Fro): 281 km
- Mileage (Bike): 37.5 km/l
- Fuel expense: 538 Rs
- Total expense: 969 Rs
- Photos: Basaralu and Saumyakeshava Temple Album