1. Hoysala Temple Architecture
  2. Kirtinarayan Temple (Hoysala)
  3. Padmanbhaswami temple Controversy
    1. Temple Treasures
    2. Gopal Subraminum’s Report
  4. Australian Nataraja from Chola temple

Hoysala Temple Architecture

Topic in news because ASI restored Kirtinarayan Temple.
(GS1) Q.Write a short note on Hoysala Temple Architecture (200 words)


  • Peak during 11th to 14th centuries in Karnataka.
  • Most Temples concentrated in Hassan, Chikmanglur and Mysore districts.
  • Notable examples:
  1. Chenna-Kesava Temple @Belure (Vishnu)
  2. Hoysaleshwara temple @Halebit (Shiva)

Both nominated for UNESCO heritage status.


Hoysala Temple Architecture 2

  • Soapstone, granite, schist stone and wood
  • Sculpture are carved on schist stone is soft when quarried but hardens when exposed to air, thus preserving the fine details for a long period.


  • Shaiva, Vaisnava and Jain- depending on village demography.
  • There are even twin-temples with both Shiva and Vishnu, indicating that devotees of Shaivism and Vainshnavism didnot have bitter rivalry- at least until the fall of Hoysala empire.


  • Temple base is star shaped, and not square shaped
  • Open Mandapa, closed by a compound wall.
  • Miniature shrines within compound wall
  • Temple wall profusely decorated with royals, sages, dancers and even Kamasutra figures.
  • Gopuram usually seven storey
  • Two Vimana and three Vimana structure- made from single granite.

~170 words

Kirtinarayan Temple (Hoysala)

Hoysala Temple Architecture at Kirtinarayan Temple

  • Location: Talakkad near Mysore, in Karnataka.
  • By Hoysala king, Vishnuvardhan after defeating Cholas. (1117 A.D.)
  • features: single granite vimana, huge statue of Nandi, open mandapa, garb griha.
  • Mughals and natual calamity had destroyed it.
  • Monument was submerged due to rise in water table and weight of sand dunes.
  • Why in news? Because ASI has restored it.

Padmanbhaswami temple Controversy

  • Location: Thiruvanthanpuram, Kerala
  • Architecture: Dravidian style
  • Deity: God Vishnu in his “Anantshayana” posture (sleeping on Shesh-naag)
8th century Tamil Alwar literature-“Divya Prabandha”, mentions this temple.
1050 CE Village sabha controlled temple’s property. Later Nair feudal lords controlled the temple.
14th Century Moroccan Traveler Ibn Batuta visited this area. Wrote about Vishnu’s idol, “its eyes were made of rubies that lit like lanterns during night.”
1750 onwards Maharaja of Travancore worshiped this Deity.
1947 Travancore tried to declare itself a “sovereign nation” but #EPICFAIL, had to join India.
2007 Ex-IPS officer files writ petition, questioning the Royal family’s right over this temple.
2011, Jan Kerala HC ordered State government to take over the temple administration. The royal family approaches Supreme Court.
2011, May SC gives stay order on Kerala HC. But ordered ASI to open the secret chambers and make asset list.
2014, April Amicus Curie report detailing the mischief in temple asset management.

Temple Treasures

  • Has total six secret chambers (Kallaras). From A to F
  • Chamber B not opened, has Cobra lock on it. People fear it’ll be bring bad omen. (On History Channel, they even claim Chamber “B” may have “Alien” technology that can bring disaster on earth like in Hollywood movies!)
  • Napoleonic era coins
  • East India company gold “Mohur” coins (total 17 kilos!)
  • Gold chains, crowns, rubies, plates, status.
  • Overall more than 1 trillion rupees worth assets. Richest temple in the world.

Gopal Subraminum’s Report

Supreme Court Amicus Curae Gopal Subraminum’s report says

  1. Gold plating machine found @temple. And One of the locker trunk was not locked. Meaning staff is replacing real gold asset with fake ones.
  2. Temple trustees didn’t maintain any account of gifts/donations in last 30 years, nor filed any IT returns.
  3. Locker B needs to be opened. Because there are reports that it has already been opened in past, photographs were taken (to show the assets to foreign buyers in black market). Hence temple staff creating rumors that it’ll create black omen. (may be Locker B’s assets already sold off in the blackmarket!)
  4. Even two new lockers found: G and H. Open them as well.
  5. Large scale conspiracy- Dead rickshaw driver, acid thrown on one employee. Police not doing anything- perhaps Royal rule predominate the social psyche of local juntaa.
  6. CAG should audit.

What has Supreme Court done?

  1. Appointed team of auditors under ex-CAG Vinod Rai (2G fame).
  2. Appointed an IAS officer as executive officer of the temple.
  3. Ordered the temple management not to transfer or sell any property until further order.
  4. Next hearing in August 2014.

Mock Question: In his travelogues, Ibn Batutta’s travelogues mentions

  1. that He had gifted “White slaves” to Mohd.Tughlaq
  2. that He was attacked by “Hindu” bandits
  3. Riches of Padmanabhswami temple.


  1. only 3
  2. Only 1 and 2
  3. Only 2 and 3
  4. All

Australian Nataraja

Background: Two Chola temples in Tamilnadu

1.Sundaresvara, in Suthamalli 2.Sapthakanni temple in Sripuranthan,
close to Gangai-konda-cholapuram [one of the capital cities of the Chola kings.] close to the Brihadeeswarar temple of Chola period.
  • Total 18 ancient bronze sculptures were stolen from these temples.
  • One of them was a Bronze Nataraja idol from Chola period, from ^that second temple, and was smuggled to Australia.
  • Australia will return Nataraja idol under its own Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act,
  • Australia, as a signatory to a UNESCO convention on the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property.
  • features of the UNESCO convention:
  1. Countries should keep National inventory/register of cultural goods.
  2. Train to police, custom officers about fight against illicit trading of cultural objects.

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