In a way, it is good that there are even in the 21st centuries places that still hold some secrets of the past. One such place, which I am sure many are unfamiliar with is Aghalaya, a small village situated between Melkote and Shravanabelagola.
Aghalaya has a very beautiful temple dedicated to Malleshwara or Shiva. The very name Aghalaya is unusual. It means destroyer of sins. Agha means sin and Laya means destroy.
There is an 8th century AD inscription about the in Shravanabelogala and also another record dated 1120 AD referring to this village as Agale. This indicated the existence of Jainism in the area and the ruins of the place show that a Jain temple existed here centuries ago.
here is unusual in several respects. For starters, it is a Trikuta structure. This is a Sanskrit word meaning it is built on a Jagati or platform and contains a triple shrine, Gopura or compartments. Malleswara Temple
Though not much is known about the temple, it is generally believed that it was built sometime in the 13th century-sometime in 1260 AD. The second unusual fact is that unlike other Hoysala temples, this structure covers a fairly large area. In fact, the first view of the temple gives you the picture of a he temple.
It has three Garbhagrihas and all of them face east. There are also three Antaralas. The Garbagrihas and Antaralas are constructed all in a row with a common Navaranga and Mukyamantapa.
Lord Vishnu is featured on the exterior and this is really unusual in a Shiva temple. Both the exterior and interior are carved in typical Hoysala style. The temple resembles the Panchalingeshwara temple at Govindanhalli and has Gajalakshmi
carvings on the doorframes of all the three Garbhagrihas with
Tandaveshwara on the beams and perforated windows on either sides. The Garbhagrihas houses Shivalingas called Chandramouleshwara, Mallikarjuna and Siddalingeshwara.
On the door frame of one of the antaralas, there is an attractive carving of Umamaheshwara. The doorkeepers’ are sculpted on either side.
The Navaranga is a thing of beauty. It has thirty attractive pillars with lotus decorations in its ceiling. In the Devakoshtas there are sculptures of Surya with a Prabhavali of twelve suns called dwadashadityas. Other sculptures are of Veerabhadra, Saptamatrika, Nagarjuna, two Shanmukhas, three Ganapatis, two Mahishamardinis, a Naga sculpture, Saraswathi,Umamaheshwara and Keshava.
The doorframe of the main entrance to the temple is attractively designed. The entire temple is built of soap stone and the walls have big perforated windows, decorated pillars, as well as beautiful small sculptures of Matsya, Kurma,Varaha, Buddha, Kalki, Narasimha, Rama, Balarama, Krishna and
Vishnu which are the ten incarnations of Narayana. There are small sculptures of Shiva and Parvathi too. In ancient times, this was the place where you could wash away your sins.
The temple organizes special pooje during Shivarathri and Sravana Masa. The temple now initially in a dilapidated state but it has been renovated by the Department of Archaeology and the Dharmotthana trust of Dharmasthala.
Another notable temple here is that of Lakshminarayana. This too is an ancient temple. There are ruins of Eshwara, Basavanna, Vighneshwara, Anjaneya, Marikamba, Devamma and Honnadevi in the village.
There are a few hero stones near the Basavanna temple. A festival for the deity of Kala Bhairavadeva situated outside the village, is held once in five years on the day of Kamana Hunnime.
The village has a big tank which is really beautiful.
Agahalaya is 25 kilometres from Krishnarajapet. It is in Mandya district. Mandya is 51 kms and
117 kms away. Bangalore