The renowned Madhukeshwara temple is the prime attraction of Banavasi, a quaint town located on the border of Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts. Banavasi was the capital city of the Kadamba kings, the first royal dynasty of Karnataka who established their empire in 345 AD. The Madhukeshwara temple stands proudly embodying the architectural grandeur of the Kadamba era.
As dynasties rose and fell apart with the passage of time, the temple
was subjected to additions and renovations by later dynasties. As such
the Madhukeshwara temple came to be known as an amalgamation of several
schools of architecture. The presiding deity of Madhukeshwara is a honey
colored lingam dedicated during the period of Mayura Varma, the first
king of Kadambas.
As one strolls around the sprawling temple compound, one stumbles
across a number of structures bearing the hallmark of different
architectural dynasties. The Sankalpa mantapa in front reveals the
influence of the Chalukyan style, while the Nritya mantapa or the
dancing hall was added during the Hoysala period and has exquisite
carving on the pillars and the ceiling. There are also beautifully
carved monolithic structures, credited to Sonda rulers.