Submerged history resurfaces in it’s grandest avatar! It was about 2 years ago I had heard about this beautiful location closer to Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS) Dam, Mysore, Karnataka. The backwaters of KRS and the surrounding area is scenic, with a restored temple at a close distance – a perfect place for sunset photography, I was told by my nephew. A casual drive around Srirangapatna and then later in the evening a visit to the backwaters with my school friends left me stunned. It was my first visit then but had never imagined I would revisit almost every six months.
Truly a picturesque place, housing one of the hidden treasures of ‘Namma Karnataka’ – Venugopalaswamy temple. Temple and temple architecture is a major attraction, I confess! Present day ‘Hosa Kannambadi’ is the actual location of this restored Granite glory of a temple. The place is about 3 hrs drive (around 150 kms) from Bangalore and off the Bangalore/Mysore highway. It is just about an hour’s drive from Mysore. Believed to be yet another beautiful example of Hoysala architecture, this temple is said to have been built around 12th Century A.D. The temple complex was originally located in Kannambadi village. KRS Dam construction around 1909 A.D. is believed to have been the cause for the village, surrounding settlements and the temple to submerge completely.
The temple would emerge and would be visible during the drought period and only in the year 2000 when the entire place faced severe drought conditions that the temple is said to have been completely visible. For almost 70 years the temple is said to have remained submerged and still had stood the test of time. The fact that the entire temple was built in stone seems to have helped it stay intact even after being under water for almost seven decades.
It was the initiative of Khoday Foundation under the guidance and active participation of Shri. Hari Khoday that the mammoth task of relocating this submerged temple was taken up. Just a kilometre away from its original location, this temple was relocated stone by stone. I had read that the relocation was completed by the year 2011 but my first visit to this place was only much later.
Surrounded by water on all three sides and located in the most scenic as well serene place, today the temple attracts thousands of visitors on a weekend or sees a continuous flow of visitors during vacation time. The sanctum sanctorum or the garbha griha is flanked by pillared corridors on all the sides, typical of the South Indian temples. For a few years, this temple though relocated completely did not have the idol of the main deity ‘Venugopalaswamy’ but was open to all visitors. It is only in the recent few months that the idol of the deity has been restored in the garbha griha and regular puja and aarti are performed.
Another recent addition to this temple which is drawing the crowd in thousands is the most attractive stone chariot. Placed in the walkway around the temple compound, the chariot is most attractive. It immediately reminds visitors of the most popular and much-photographed chariot at Hampi. With the elephant balustrades on either side and carved panels around and on the platform on which the chariot stands, makes it a masterpiece of a architecture. Details of the pillars on the chariot, the roof carvings just leave the visitors wanting for more.
A good time to visit this place would be either around 9 a.m or around 5 p.m. It would very hot in the afternoon and walking on the stone slabs would be a real put off.
With heavy security positioned at this temple, photography is completely restricted inside the temple complex since the time the idol of Venugopalaswamy has been restored. Some of the pictures taken inside the temple are from my previous visits in May and September 2016. Visitors are allowed to carry their mobiles and take pictures only outside the temple complex. The temple and its entire complex is spick and span. Ample parking space and neat and clean public utilities closeby contirbutes for a pleasant experience of visiting this place. The Khoday foundation must be congratulated on its amazing work of restoring the temple to its original glory and maintaining it.