About Karnataka Chapter
Bṛhat Anveṣī – Karnataka Chapter – brings to you 14 magnificent temples, in 3 different cultural regions, over 4 days, with a thrilling ride through the beauty of Western Ghats, coffee plantations, rainforests, mist-covered valleys, coastal backwaters, ancient waterways, sacred beaches and picture-perfect countrysides dotted with coconut trees, paddy fields and terracotta huts. The temples included in the tour have magnificent architecture of at least 3 different styles: Hoysala architecture with its extremely fine sculpture and innovative śikharas; the stately elegance of the Vidyaranya temple in Sringeri; and the coastal Kanara architecture with sloping roofs, wooden pillars and draviḍa style prākārams.
Registrations for Karnataka Batch 2 are now closed. Watch this space for announcements on upcoming chapters.
Why Join Us
Do you love to travel? Are you an explorer by nature? Do you like to discover new places, exotic cultures and ancient mysteries? Are you interested in magnificent architecture and exquisite sculpture? Do you appreciate folk culture and local cuisine? And do you want to learn about all this while traveling? If this is you, then you should join the Karnataka Chapter of Bṛhat Anveṣī, for it will give all of the above and more and will leave you elevated in knowledge and experience while giving you an enjoyable and fun sojourn.
If you are interested in the cultural, architectural and historical heritage of India, and you want to explore the same by throwing yourself in the field yet want some guidance, then you must apply for Bṛhat Anveṣī – Karnataka chapter. In this travel program offered by Bṛhat, you will not just get to go to all these temples and places but will also get the expert knowledge and guidance of Pankaj Saxena, a scholar of Hindu temple architecture. Via live demonstrations you will learn more about the architecture and sculptures of these temples and also have glimpses of temple rituals as they happen in these ancient abodes. By applying for this program, you will get both the thrill and adventure on one hand and cultural guidance on the other of exploring 18 great temples in four fun-filled days.
Curated with Expertise
About the Guide - Pankaj Saxena
Pankaj Saxena is a scholar of Hindu temple architecture, Hindu arts and aesthetics. He has visited more than 1200 ancient temples all over India and documented photographic, historical and oral evidence of the living tradition centred around the Hindu temple. He writes on the meaning and purpose of the Hindu temple in Hindu society and history and has authored various articles on that topic.
अन्वेषः षणम् णा
traveller, discoverer, seeker
A travel program with guided tours to some of the most important cultural assemblages in India including its temples, civilizational centers and living systems.
Day 1 - 30th Sep
- “The Wonder that is the Hindu Temple” - Orientation at 7 pm in Hassan.
(Arrival at Hassan.
Orientation in the evening at the hotel in Hassan.
Night Stay in Hassan)
Day 2 - 1st Oct
- Chennakesava Temple, Belur
- Hoysaleshvara Temple, Halebidu
- Kedareshvara Temple, Halebidu
- Jain Temples, Halebidu
- Hulikere Step Well
- (Night Stay in Hassan)
Day 3 - 2nd Oct
- Veera Narayana Temple, Belavadi
- Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Javagal
- Bucesvara Temple, Koravangala
- Nageshvara-Chennakeshava Temple complex, Mosale
(Check out from Hassan in the morning,
park luggage in the bus for the day,
and check into the hotel in Sringeri.
Night stay in Sringeri.)
Day 4 - 3rd Oct
- Shri Sarada Matha, Sringeri
- Agumbe Ghat
- Sri Krishna Matha, Udupi
(See Sringeri in the morning,
check out from the hotel in Sringeri by 12 noon.
Leave for Udupi.
Stop at Agumbe Ghat en route.
Night stay in Udupi.)
Day 5 - 4th Oct
- Chowlikere Ganapathi Temple, Barkur
- Panchlingeshvara Temple, Barkur
- Somnatheswar Temple, Barkur
- Kattale Basadi, Jain Temples, Barkur
(Heritage tour of Barkur temples.
Tour ends after lunch.
Chennakeshava Temple, Belur
Chennakeshava Temple is one of the largest and the most famous temples ever built by the Hoysala dynasty. It is also one of the most ornate, with its sculpture, mainly its madanikās, famous all over the world. It was built by King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 CE, on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur also called Velapura, an early Hoysala Empire capital. It is one of the most important Vaiṣnava centres of Karnataka. Its sculptural wealth is legendary with a range encompassing all human life carved in such fine detail that is rarely surpassed anywhere else.
Hoysaleshvara Temple, Halebidu
Hoysaleshvara Twin Temples is one of the greatest Śaiva temples created by the Hoysala Dynasty in Halebidu which was earlier known as Dwarasamudra and was one of their greatest capitals. The twin temples contain Śiva lingaṃ in the garbha-gṛhas. The temples boast two of the largest and most exquisite Nandi witnessed anywhere in Hoysala architecture. Though the śikhara is no longer extant the artwork on the outer walls of the temples, especially the friezes mesmerize any visitor. The famous Śaiva dvārapālas are known for their fine carvings and eloquent expressions.
Kedareshvara Temple, Halebidu
This temple is one of the lesser known temples of Hoysala architecture but a true marvel. Built in the favorite soapstone of the Hoysala it is a trikūṭa, meaning it has three garbha-gṛhas joined together in a common mandapa. It displays one of the finest and the most unique set of sculptures found in the Hoysala architecture. The central shrine of the temple has a star-stellate plan which is quintessential of many of the great Hoysala temples. The quiet location around it adds to the charm. It was created by Veer Ballala II, the Hoysala king in the late 12th to early 13th centuries.
Jain Temples, Halebidu
These Jain temples are three in number and dedicated to the Jain tīrthaṇkars Parshvanatha, Shantinatha and Adinatha. They are very unlike other Hoysala temples as their exteriors are not ornate at all and sometimes just plain walls with very simple motifs. However, the vigṛhas of the tīrthaṇkars are huge and finely sculpted. These temples were also built during the late 12th to early 13 centuries and were destroyed during the Islamic invasion of south India by the Delhi Sultans.
Hulikere Step Well, Halibedu
Hindus turn everything into a temple. A water body, like a lake or a pond is an integral part of a temple. A temple tank is called kalyāṇī. In many Chalukyan and Hoysala temples, the temple kalyāṇī is imagined as an inverted mirror image of the temple itself – as the temple above ground, so the kalyāṇī below. But there are many free standing temple tanks/ step wells which are decorated with many small temples adorning the corners and centers of its steps at many places. Hulikere Step Well is such a temple tank which is a marvel in itself. It is one of the most beautiful and deepest temple tanks in Hoysala architecture.
Veera Narayana Temple, Belavadi
Veera Narayana Temple is a detached trikūṭa located in a quaint little village of Belavadi, dedicated to three forms of Viṣnu: Veer Narayana, Yoga Narasimha and Venu Gopala. It is one of a kind because while two of its lateral shrines are connected with a common manḍapa, the third and the central shrine is detached by two smaller open and closed manḍapas, thus creating one of the most peculiar and beautiful facades of all the great Hoysala temples. The original shrine dates back to the early 11th century and the latest to the 13th century. The open manḍapa is the largest of all Hoysala temples with 108 lathe-turned pillars with every pillar unique in its carving.
Lakshmi Narasimha, Javagal
Another great Hoysala trikūṭa, this temple has a closed common manḍapa with three garbha-gṛhas dedicated to Lakshminarasimha, Sridhara and Venugopala respectively. Although this temple is also built in soap stone, it is of a different tone and hue which after weathering of around 800 years has turned almost completely chalk white. As a result it has a unique appearance of all the Hoysala temples. But the most important feature of this temple is that its walls are very low and thus the deva-koṣthas featuring the most famous aspect of Hoysala temples – its beautifully sculpted images of the deities – are completely at a human level and one can marvel at them and study their features as if one would look at another human being.
Bucesvara Temple, Koravangala
Around only 15 kms from the city center of Hassan, this temple is located in the midst of a picture-perfect quaint village with coconut trees, lakes on many sides and paddy fields dotted with beautiful terracotta huts. The temple is a dvikūta with the main shrine dedicated to Śiva and another, situated right in front of this one with a common attached manḍapa dedicated to Lord Sūrya. The temple is low and accessible but with one of the most complete Hoysala seals with the king battling a lion displayed at the śikhara of the temple.
Nageshvara-Chennakeshava Temple complex, Mosale
This is a twin temple complex like no other. The two temples are completely detached but built on the same platform. They have their own manḍapas and are almost completely identical to each other in form and structure, with the only difference in the deity to which they are dedicated to. While one temple is dedicated to Śiva, the other is dedicated to Viṣṇu. As a result the deities displayed on all the deva-koṣthas are also different. The twin temples are perfect as the kalaśa at the top of both of them are completely intact making them the most perfect sight of all the Hoysala temples.
Shri Sharada Matha, Sringeri
Sringeri is the Peetha of the south, one of the four traditional Shankaracharya Mathas in India. And it is a wonder in every sense of the word. It sports the ancient Vidyaranya Temple on the banks of the pristine river Tunga, along with many other temples. The Matha premises are huge and sport tropical rain forests, areca nut plantations, coconut trees and rice paddies. And right through the middle of the Matha flows the river Tunga. On one side of the river lie most of the temples and on the other side is the Shankaracharya nivāsa. The two sides are connected by a footover bridge. Nature is protected here and you can find elephants, deer and dogs roaming around and mixing freely with humans while students in traditional attire study under trees from great masters. That is the wonder that is Sringeri.
Sri Krishna Matha, Udupi
Sri Krishna Matha, Udupi, is one of the most ancient of the Krishna temples of the Madhva sampradāya. The temple was founded by Shri Madhvacharya himself in the 13th century and is one of the most famous and important Dvaita Matha to exist anywhere in India. Shri Madhvacharya had found the vigraha of Shri Krishna and ever since then it has been worshipped here. Nothing in the Matha has changed in the past 800 years in the way in which the worship is offered. The garbha-gṛha still does not use electric lights and worship is offered in the light of the dīpamas. The temple celebrates many festivals including a float festival in its temple tank. Almost every evening there is a musical performance offered to the deity.
Chowlikere Ganapathi Temple
This temple is situated in an ancient port capital which is now a small town but has a village-like charm as it is surrounded by paddy fields and coconut lined backwaters from every side. This temple was built in the coastal Kanara style, with sloping roofs built of stone slabs and huge prākāras surrounding the inner temples. The architecture is similar to Kerala but has a distinct style of its own. It is said to be built by the Cholas and the deities worshipped here are Mahalingeshwara and Ganapathi. The garbha-gṛhas, two-storeyed, are rectangular fronted by square free standing Nandi manḍapas and with śikharas lined with Mangalore tile roofing, giving them a distinct charm.
Panchlingeshvara Temple, Barkur
This temple is one of the most famous and unique of all temples in Barkur. Barkur is one of the most important temple towns of coastal Karnataka. It is said that there are 365 ancient temples here, one for each day. Every few metres, is an ancient temple though many have changed over the centuries. The temple is famous because of its unique two storeyed garbha-gṛha. It has a unique apsidal shape which is called apsidal in architectural terminology. The two storeys have different tile roofing and there is a wooden lattice pradakṣiṇā patha around the stone garbha-gṛha. The temple legend goes that the vigrahas from Kashi were delayed and so the priests installed five stones from local quarry in the garbha-gṛha.
Somnatheswar Temple, Barkur
This is a temple dedicated to Śiva, belonging to the great Śaiva age which saw many great temples built in this region. The temple is two storeyed and rectangular in shape. The lower storey is built in stone and is beautifully carved in ways particular to this region and also shows similarities to the early Draviḍa architecture of Tamil Nadu which is also a testimony to the Chola past of this Tulu heartland. The upper storey is built with mixed material and is plainer. The roofing of both the storeys is different. There is a free standing Nandi manḍapa. The temple boasts many inscriptions. The special part is the front manḍapa which is very long and rectangular with old stone pillars.
Kattale Basadi, Barkur
Kattale Basadi is a small campus with two Jain Basadis, and three temples in the same complex. Kattale means dark and the Basadi is called Kattale Basadi because of its unique design. The Basadis are totally covered with stone walls and roof on all sides, except one tiny entrance, the only source of light. The entrance faces south and has some carvings to its side. One can take a look inside the Basadi from outside. There are no deities inside at present. Kattale Basadi complex has 3 temples and some more ruins. One temple is dedicated to Jain Tīrthaṇkara while other two are dedicated to Śiva and Viṣṇu.
Rs.19,999. This includes broadly food, accommodation, and local travel. Some more details are as below:
- Interaction with scholars, authors and Pradhanācārya (temple head priest).
- Cultural experiences of all places in the itinerary
- Clean, comfortable hotel stay with basic amenities. The room will be on a twin-sharing basis.
- We will provide three meals per day i.e., breakfast, lunch and dinner. We will explore local flavours and delicacies. We will also get the opportunity to have food in temples and Anna Kṣetra.
- Additional snacks, special dietary requirements, personal or special medicines
- Single room or other room preferences will be chargeable and basis availability
- Any shopping or other individual outings/expenses
In travel programs, where fixed costs are involved, there is very little room for us to enable financial aid. However for truly needy seekers for whom this is a complete blocker, we would love to talk and find a way together. Please write to us email@example.com or connect with us on +91 70088 73551
- Personal expenses during the trip such as local snacks, shopping, souvenirs, etc.
- Expenses in case of evacuation due to medical emergencies, natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods, etc. towards travel, boarding, lodging, and medical costs.
In case you are not able to join the yātrā due to any avoidable/unavoidable reason/s, we will be glad if you could notify us the same in writing. We shall endeavour to refund as per the below-mentioned guidelines.
Cancellations made 45 days or more before departure (01-08-2022) – 90% of programme fees
Cancellations made 35 to 44 days before departure (12-08-2022) – 80% of programme fees
Cancellations made 22 to 34 days before departure (25-08-2022) – 70% of programme fees
Cancellations made 21 days before departure (26-08-2022) – No refund
Please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at +91 70088 73551 for further assistance.
You should have innate śraddhā in our tradition and be willing to experience it. You must be medically fit to endure physical exertion.
- Click on the ‘Register Now’ button on the webpage
- Fill in your name, email id, and phone number and submit
- Proceed to the enrollment form page and fill in the enrollment form for the program; upload the documents and submit.
- We will process your enrollment form and verify documentation within 4 working days of your submission. You can check your email for a confirmation of your enrollment and a payment link.
- Make payment using the payment link and secure your admission into the program.
- We will send you an acknowledgement of your payment. Post this step, you can proceed to book tickets and plan your travel.
- In any of the above steps, if you have questions, please do contact us over email or phone.
We will be there to assist you at each stage of the process and you can reach out to us at email@example.com for any query. In the meanwhile, you can try to avoid the following mistakes to make the registration process easier.
- Incomplete and incorrect information: Name, Email id, Phone Number etc.
- Uploading unclear photo or ID proof or B&W photo.
- Do remember that filling your name, email address and phone number is just the first step showing your interest in the programme.
- Check your email for confirmation of enrollment after 4 working days.
- Make sure to make the payment and complete the enrollment process.
In our culture, there is no age limit when one can embark on a tīrtha yātrā. However, from our experience of such yātrās, we have learnt that the below guidelines have been helpful:
Participants must be between 18 and 60 years of age.
Participants below the age of 18 must either be accompanied by a parent/guardian or submit a letter of parental consent.
If you are vaccinated, we suggest you please carry a copy of the certificate along with you.
Please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at +91 70088 73551 for further assistance.
Keeping in mind the planned itinerary and the time taken to fully appreciate the living traditions, daily travel can span between 6-8 hours. This includes brief recesses.
Your health is of utmost importance to us and we will ensure that you have the required assistance when needed.
We recommend that you take sufficient stock of medicines you are accustomed to for headaches, digestion issues, nausea, vomiting etc.
- The average temperature is between 21 to 27 °C.
- Karnataka also has an average record of 13.5 cm rainfall in the month of September.
We intend to visit religious institutions and local communities. Prepare to dress modestly, keeping the religious sentiments and local culture in mind.
- Male – Please carry a pair of dhotis along with you as some temples only allow men in dhotis.
- Female – Some temples allow females in traditional Bhāratīya attire like a saree or a long kurti with dupatta/chunni to cover. Avoid Sleeveless and short clothes for temple visits.
The rooms will be basic, clean & tidy on a twin-sharing basis with attached washrooms.
- Temples are sacred places. Do remember to remove your shoes and sandals while visiting temples.
- Temple is the abode of deity and we enter the temple to have their darśana. It is best to enter a temple with an attitude that you are entering your own Self and maintain the decorum with devotion.
- Photography or Videography is strictly prohibited in most of the temples. Before photographing the inner chamber of sacred temples, be sure to get permission from the temple management.
We have prepared a list of items typically suitable for a trip like this one, but you do not have to swear by it!
- Personal clothing including warm/monsoon wear and attire appropriate for Temple visits
- Toiletries/Personal hygiene & Sanitation requirements
- Footwear suitable for walking
- Dry Snacks/ Water Bottle
- Umbrella/Rain Coat
We start our journey at Hassan. Hassan is about 186 km from Bangalore and is accessible through hired cab from Bangalore or any other nearest city/train/bus.
It would take approximately four to five hours to get to the venue from the heart of Bangalore city by road via taxi. Participants have to make their own arrangements.
By Air – Nearest Airports are :
- Mangalore International Airport (81.4 miles / 130.9 kilometres)
- Kannur International Airport (83.9 miles / 135.1 kilometres)
- Kempegowda International Airport (109.3 miles / 175.9 kilometres)
By Train –
- Hassan has a railway station (Station Code – HAS) for those of you who prefer to travel via train.
By Bus –
- You can also avail the bus to Hassan through local transport or online bus services.
The exact venue details will be provided to the enrolled yātrīs.
We will start our trip after breakfast. On average, we will be covering at least 3 temples per day and will return back to the hotel.
Some days we will depart with luggage packed as post temple visits we will be travelling to a different destination.
Who is Bṛhat Anveṣī?
A human being is born to search: for truth; for beauty; for meaning in life. Kaśmīra Śaiva darśana tells us that, vimarṣa – Śiva reflecting upon himself – is one of the highest goals of existence itself. According to another school of thought, Nature nudged evolution to a point where a species would emerge capable of reflecting upon itself and the mysteries of the cosmos, life and existence.
Without getting deep into darśana, the point is that, humans are born to search, born for anveṣaṇa. The word anveṣaṇa means discovering, seeking, or searching, and the one who searches is called – anveṣī – the discoverer. This element of discovery has mainly two dimensions – inner and outer. And the two are connected. The favorite theme of literature is wanderlust/ fernweh – the innate urge of humans to go out and discover the world.
Yes, that urge to discover the world is innate in all humans. To search for what is novel, what is new is basic. To discover the undiscovered, to unravel the hidden, to find pleasure in the very act of discovery – anveṣaṇa – comes naturally to us. Human history is full of courageous journeys taken individually and in groups, changing the course of entire humanity in the process. This urge is biological, as most other species also have this urge to chart new waters and to discover new territories. But in humans it is central. We are born – anveṣī.
But there is a deep inner dimension to this urge for discovery. While discovering the world we also discover the self. While looking for the new, we also crave for what is eternal and everlasting. While looking for change, we also look for the unchanging and the permanent. In short, while we discover the outer world, we also go on an inner journey an inner – anvekṣaṇa.
In Bhāratavarṣa and Hindu dharma, we discovered a perfect way to harmonize these two seemingly dichotomous urges of humans in one fulfilling quest.
We created an entire tradition of traveling to sacred kṣetras, where both the inner and the outer quest of man for discovery is quenched in a way that is not just fulfilling, fun and satisfying but also spiritually and culturally elevating.
Bṛhat Anveṣī is a program in tribute to this fundamental quest. It seeks to contemporize this ancient Indian tradition by guiding travel groups through sacred kṣetras of India which are rarely explored by most of us, but which are not just full of architectural, sculptural and cultural splendor, but are also living systems carrying beautiful ancestral traditions for thousands of years. We seek to satisfy the wanderlust in you in a way which will leave you not just intellectually satisfied but will also elevate your understanding and knowledge.
When discovering together such, WE are,