The Vaideyswara is the only one of the five Panchalinga temples in Talakad that has been fully excavated from the sand dunes. It is a highly ornate Dravidian structure constructed almost entirely out of granite, and plays a pivotal role in the Panchalinga Darshana festival.
The original shrine on this site was built in the eleventh century when Talakad was under the control of the Cholas, and was subsequently expanded under the rule of the Hoysala and Vijayanagara empires, as well as the Maharajas of Mysore.
Two of the highlights of the temple are an extremely rare sculpture of Ganesh riding his mouse, known as Vijaya Ganapathi, and a beautifully carved granite chain that hangs from one of the eves of the roof. Other features include a highly elaborate main entrance and a host of elegant statues and carvings of Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, and other deities, as well as scenes of popular mythological episodes.
With its serene and secluded atmosphere and magnificent mélange of architectural styles, the Vaideyswara gives you a vivid picture of the glory that once was Talakad while making you wonder what other hidden gems still lie buried beneath its sands.
The Vaideyswara Temple has an elaborately sculptured main entrance, with two imposing dwarapalakas (sentinels) adorning the sides of the doorway.
A common feature of temples in Southern India, Dwarapalakas stand at the doorway guarding access to the resident deity and preventing it from being disturbed.
Here are two close-ups of the magnificent Dwarapalakas.
As is customary in a Shiva temple, the entrance courtyard features a statue of the faithful bull Nandi directly facing the shrine of the deity.
Here is a close-up of the statue.
Carved into the wall of the inner sanctum of the temple is an extremely rare depiction of Ganesh riding his mouse, known as Vijaya Ganapathi.
Bovine beasts grazing above a lotus flower.
Two statues gazing out from the wall of the temple.
There is quite a profusion of different carving styles in the temple.
A carving depicting a scene from an old myth in which the hunter Kannapanaar sacrificed his eyes to Shiva.
Hanging from one of the eaves of the temple roof is this beautiful chain of rings carved out of a single block of granite – showing the great skills of the artisans that built the Vaideyswara.
Red and ochre flecked feet of stone.