A Hoysala-era idol of Mahakali at the Doddagaddavalli Temple near Hassan district, Karnataka was found damaged on Friday. The temple, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) monument, was built in the 12th Century by Hoysala dynasty.
Reportedly, the incident came to light on Friday morning when local people visited the temple and found that one of the idols of the deity was damaged. It is suspected that miscreants in search of hidden treasure took advantage of the lack of security and vandalised the idol in the process.
Manoj G, archaeologist and Indology researcher said the temple has a special place in the culture and archeological history of the state. “It is the only Hoysala temple with four garbhagruhas (sanctum sanctorum). Unfortunately, it was not well protected. The Archeological Survey of India could have done better by installing steel doors to the temple,” he said.
The temple, he said, was built by Mallishetty, a trader, and his wife who visited Kolhapur in Maharashtra. “They dreamed of building a ‘Dakshina Kolhapura’. We have lost a treasure of history and archaelology. It is time the officials wake up,” he said.
While the investigations on the charge of foul play have been initiated, Hassan’s Superintendent of Police (SP) R Srinivasa Gowda said that the temple had no guard, and its door was not locked when the incident took place, He added, “As of now, we cannot comment on who destroyed the idol.”
Dr Shalvapille Iyengar, an ancient history and archaeology expert, speaking to Hassan News said, “The Bhadrakali or Dakshina Kali image of Doddagaddhavalli Chatushkuta temple is destroyed by miscreants. It is a great loss to our heritage. This temple was built in C.E. 1113 during the rule of Hoysala Vishnuvardhana. It is a unique temple of Mahalakshmi and Bhadrakali image is placed in the south sanctum.”
The Lakshmi Devi temple, an architectural wonder, is located in Doddagaddavalli, a village in Hassan District of Karnataka. The Lakshmi Devi Temple, built in a chatuskuta style (four shrines), is one of the earliest known temples built in the Hoysala style. The temple was built by Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana in 1113 CE.