Balligavi Kedaresvara Temple

Balligavi a town in Shikaripura taluk Shimoga district of Karnataka, is today known as Belagami or Balagamve. Its ancient names are Dakshina Kedara, Valliggame and Valligrame. Dakshina Kedara means Kedarnath of the South. Balligavi is a place of antiquity, it is known for its ancient monuments.

Balligavi Kedaresvara Temple is an excellent example of a trikuta (triple towers) temple in transitional Western Chalukya - Hoysala architecture. It is the oldest example of such a combinational style in Karnataka according to reports from the Mysore archaeological department. The temple faces east and has a stepped entrance on three sides. The entrance on the sides is a Western Chalukya idiom. The central shrine has a linga (universal symbol of Shiva) made from black marble (Krishnashila).

The shrine to the south has a linga called Brahma and the shrine to the north has a statue of Janardhana (Vishnu). The temples outside plan is in "staggered-square" style with many projections and recesses which is a Hoysala design. The outer walls of the open mandapa (hall) have carvings of women wearing fine jewellery. Two Hoysala emblems were added in 1060 CE by Hoysala Vinayaditya. The superstructure (tower) of the vimana (shrine) are very well decorated with sculptures of Tandaveshwara, Varaha, Uma Narasimha, Bhairava etc. (forms or avatar of Shiva and Vishnu) and the sukanasi of all three towers still exist. The western shrine is the oldest dating from the 7th or 8th century. Attached to the vestibule that connects the shrines is a well designed open mantapa with two rows of pillars. The outer row of pillars are 16 faced while the inner row of pillars are lathe turned with bell shaped mouldings, a style popular with both Western Chalukys and Hoysalas. The ceiling of the mantapa is flat and the inner ceiling is well carved with lotuses in them. The central ceiling has the carving of Tandaveshwara (dancing Shiva) with eight dikpalakas (guards). The entrance to the shrine which faces east has a Nandi, the bull and a celestial attendant of Shiva.