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TARAKESHWARA TEMPLE, HANGAL

Tarakeshwara temple in the town of Hangal, Karnataka is a marvel of architectural splendor. Tarakeshwara temple which was constructed in mid-12th century, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The outer walls of the temple are articulated with both Dravidian and nagara style of miniature shikaras.

The temple is famous for its very large domical ceiling in the main hall, which rises, in concentric circles of cusped mouldings, and then, at the apex, falling again in a great rosette or pendant. Kirtimukhas are wonderfully done, including Scenes from the Ramayana on these walls. The open hall contains (at its centre), a most intricately carved, domical corbelled lotus ceiling. The rock is carved in the form of a lotus and is 30 feet in diameter, is a octagonal piece of stone supported on 8 pillars.

The temple consists of a sanctuary with a great adjoining pillared hall. Pillars are lathe-turned have bell-shaped section. There are plenty of decorative art on pillars, having elephants carved in such a way that a visible space separates the trunks from the pillar. A simple diamond shaped motif that are carved in bands around pillars are done in different sizes and minor variations.

Nandi pavilion resting on 12 pillars and leaning balcony seating. The columns are lathe turned (have geometric shapes). Both halls have stepped pyramidal roofs. The outer walls have carvings of miniature temples. There are memorial stones carved with religious (Mastigallu)and military scenes (Veeragallu). There is Ganesha temple near Tarakeshwara temple, which has a Nagara style (northern curvilinear) Shikhara.