Temples by Dynasty – Karnataka Series

Temples by Dynasty – Karnataka Series

Karnataka is my home state, so I thought it appropriate to begin the series by exploring its history. To cover the temples built by various dynasties, let’s start with the Medieval history of Karnataka.

Kadamba Dynasty- 325 AD–540 AD

Origin of Kadamba

Did you know that the origins of the Kadamba dynasty are shrouded in mystery and legend? According to one story, Trilochana Kadamba was born from Shiva’s sweat under a Kadamba tree. Another legend claims that Mayurasharma, born with three eyes, founded the dynasty.According to the Talagunda inscription, the founder of the dynasty, Mayurasharma was anointed by Skanda, the six-faced god of war. The family got its name from the Kadamba tree.

Fun Activities- Try to learn the origin of your family name and what makes it unique.

Did you know? – It is believed that Sri Krishna performed many of his divine acts (leelas) in Vrindavan under the canopy of the Kadamba tree

Key Rulers

The Kadamba Dynasty is one of Karnataka’s earliest, indigenous, and long-serving dynasties. They had their stronghold in the northern region of Karnataka and the Konkan region, with Banavasi as their capital, which is presently located in Uttara Karnataka. Some of the well-known rulers of the dynasty, including Mayuravarma, Kakusthavarma, and Ravivarma, played a crucial role in expanding the empire’s influence with neighbouring powers.

Temple Architecture

Kadambas were devoted to Vedic Gods, supported Shaivism in particular, their Kula Devatha(family God) was Madhukeshvara. One can learn many names of Shiva from the temples built such as Hattikeshvara, Someshvara, Kalleshvara, Ramlingeshwara, Tryambakeshwara, Mallikarjuna and many more. They gave equal importance to Vishnu and built temples dedicated to BhuvarahaNarasimha,  Kamala Narayana Temple, Yoga Narasimha, Keerthinarayana etc.

Fun Activities – Do you know your kula devatha?

Kadamba Temples are spread in many places in Karnataka, you can follow this trail – Aihole, Badami, Hampi, Mahakuta, Bandalike, Belgaum, Gadag, Haveri, Chikamagalur, Chitradurga, Shimoga, Kalasi and Raichur.

Fun Activities- Can you locate these places on the Karnataka map? 

Key features of temple architecture.

  • The most prominent feature is the Kadamba Shikara- A pyramid like structure that rises in steps with Kalasa on top.
  • Construction of tanks was regarded as meritorious work of public utility and charity. The tanks served the purpose of water storage and recharging of ground water. An outstanding example is Guddatataka tank, spread across 165 acres, this was constructed by Ravivarma for the benefit of the farmers in the year 500AD.
  • It is widely known that the successive dynasties’ like Chalukyas and Hoysalas were inspired by Kadamba style.

Famous Temple:


I hope you found learning about the Kadambas and their temples as fascinating as I did. Join me next time as we continue to explore the incredible temples constructed by other dynasties in Karnataka.


  • INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN COMMERCE, IT, ENGINEERING AND SOCIAL SCIENCES (IJRCIESS) ISSN: 2349-7793 Vol. 4 No. 7 (2010): July Double-Blind Peer Reviewed Refereed Open Access International Journal 1 International Journal of Research In Commerce, IT, Engineering and Social Sciences www.gejournal.net Regal Tradition of Karnataka: Kadamba Dynasty, Dr. V. VENKATESH
  • THE KADAMBA KULA, A History of Ancient and Mediaeval Karnataka BY George M. Moraes, M.A.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadamba_dynasty
  • Shanlax International Journal of Arts, Science and Humanities Social And Religious Conditions: A Historical Study of Kadambas * Santhosh Kumar T S

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