Yaaru ninna hesaru barithare? Karkala Gummatarayana? Barkuru Tattirayana?” Sri Vasudeva Acharya the geography teacher at MJC Manipal would shout at us when we forgot to put in our name and roll number on the answer sheets.
The town of Barkur has 300 odd temples and a zatra at the temple that is the temple fair meant the dancing Tattiraya in front of the chariot of the diety.
As we entered the Hebbagilu—or the main entrance of the temple at Barkur on either side the frame work of the Tattiraya is present. These huge bamboo dolls are dressed and someone enters it walks so we could these large structures walk. For while there were female dolls too. But somehow Tattiraya has always been more impressive.
The interesting part of these temples is the absence of imposing gopura’s the temples are very restrained in their presence and very reassuring. I remember one historian telling us this is because before the advent of the Hoysala kings, all these territories were Jain territories and Jainism did not flaunt.
The architecture also reveals a lot of this, in the temple carvings, there is a panel of the Mahaveera renouncing his king ship. Another panel depicts the court scene.
The outer most pannels appear to have stories from the folk literature. There was one panel that depicts a monkey bowing to a snake. I am still looking for the story that the panel could be saying.
The final and most interesting artifacts in the temples where two headstones with inscriptions in Hale kannada script. Though some of the the alphabets were recognizable many have either changed form or have flattened with age.