It was built around c.1117 by the Hoysala Empire King Vishnuvardhana and this Veeranarayana Temple overall reflects multiple architectural idioms – Chalukya, Hoysala, and Vijayanagara. The entrance Mahadwara and gopura are in the Vijayanagara style. This leads to a garuda Stambha in the courtyard and the ranga mantapa which are in Hoysala style. The inner mantapa is in the Chalukya style. The deity Veeranarayana is depicted in a standing position, holding the attributes Shanka, Chakra, Gadh, and the Padma in his four hands. The attire on deity is worn in a Veera Kavacha giving the appearance of being ready for battle. The deity is flanked by his consort Lakshmi and companion Garuda the eagle.
Once Vishnuvardhana was influenced by Ramanujacharya when the saint cured a Hoysala princess of illness. Bitti Deva changed his name to “Vishnuvardhana”, gave up his original faith Jainism, and became a Srivaishnava and a devotee of Ramanujacharya. The king built five temples for the God Vishnu: the Veeranarayana temple at Gadag, the Nambinarayana temple at Tondanur, the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Kirtinarayana temple at Talakad, and the Cheluvanarayana temple at Melkote. 34 medieval inscriptions have been discovered in Gadag, mostly within the premises of the two important temples in the town: the “Veeranarayana” and the “Trikuteshwara” temples. From these inscriptions, there is ample evidence Gadag was a notable place of learning administered by 72 Mahajanas during ancient times.
During the Vijayanagar empire era, the notable Kannada poet Kumara Vyasa who called Gadag his home, and the god Narayana his favorite deity wrote his Kannada version of the Hindu epic Mahabharata making adulatory references invariably to the deity of this temple at the end of each canto. Legend has it that it was in this temple, at a particular pillar in the hall, that Kumara Vyasa accomplished the epic having received divine inspiration from his deity. An inscription of c.1539 inscribed during the rule of King Achyuta Deva Raya confirms a gift given by the king to the Veeranarayana Temple.
Timings to Visit Veeranarayana Temple, Gadag
05:00 AM – 12:00 PM | 05:00 PM – 08:00 PM
By Air: Hubli Airport – 60 km, Belgaum Airport – 127 km
By Train: Gadag Railway Junction – 2.2 km, Bangalore Railway Station – 382 km, Kanginhal Railway Station – 12.6 km
By Road: Gadag – 2.7 km, Belgaum – 146 km.
Veeranarayana Temple, Gadag, Hanuman Gardi, Agrahar, Karnataka 582101, India.
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