Still vivid with the images of Belur and Halebid, I was in mood for yet another temple of the Hoysala style. Maps&More from Stark World Publishing mentions this village as having the first example of what we today recognize as Hoysala style of temple architecture. The name of this village is in itself quite a mouthful and more surprising given its size.
I did not expect much because anything that is the first of its kind is to some extent experimental and is bound to lack the maturity of later creations. Part of the allure of getting to this place was that it was an isolated village without a bus service. It was away from the well-trodden tourist trail. So there I was, walking nearly five kilometers from Hagare to the village of Doddagaddavahalli. Why, the very name of the village is musical and to say it is a treat. One gets the feeling of walking into the heart of Kannada country.
The temple is seen in a complex of its own across the broad surface of a still lake. The nearer side of the lake is cultivated with various crops. The only distinct sounds in this wide and far reaching landscape was of the village women battering their soap soaked clothes against the stone steps leading to the lake. The washed their clothes just behind the temple.
With this view, I descended from the hill along a winding path, past a school, past buffaloes and into the village. It was at this point I realized the primary occupation of the people here. Harvested corn lay outside almost every house in the village. The sheltered porches were filled with corn. Corn kernels, separated from their cobs, were set out to dry outside houses. In some others, unprocessed corn, with husk, silk and all, were stacked up as high as six feet. Sacks bulged with corn. Corn cobs peeped out of iron bars. Discarded husks and ears were laid aside in heaps. There was corn everywhere and it was a sight unexpected.
The sad state of some of this corn was apparent in their decay. Later I found that lorries come into the village to transport the corn to the mandi at Shimoga. Much of the produce goes to Mumbai and Pune. Distribution systems need to be improved. They ought to be timely to transport goods as fresh as possible. Even with modern means of transport there is much to be desired in terms of organization and logistics.
I learnt much of this from a middle-aged villager who gave me ride back to the highway on his moped. He was obviously a respected gentleman as everyone greeted him with reverance as we passed. His standing must have increased a little on account of his association with a city dweller. He was playing the part of a gracious host. I was acutely aware of the transient role I played to his social status.
Villagers have a sense of economical living. It is only the minority that own a moped or better still a motorbike. When going downhill, some switch off the moped’s engine to save on fuel. Now that’s a lesson in reducing personal carbon footprint.
The temple itself was simple in decoration but it had in it the main aspects of Hoysala temple architecture – stepped and pyramidal towers, elevated plinth, star-shaped design with projections and the Hoysala emblem. The little doorway that lead into the inner courtyard made it almost magical. The pristine setting was amplified by the shrill call of two birds, obviously a couple. I was fortunate to spot a snake peeping out of a water spout that drains from the inner sanctum. I was careful to stay out of harm’s way.
The village is between Belur and Hassan. I alighted at Hagare and walked from here to the village. The distance is about 5 km one way. However, one need not walk back all the way to Hagare to continue to Hassan. Just walk back to the highway and flag for the bus.