A leading Cardiff University architect is playing a central role in a prestigious project aiming to build a Hindu temple in a style that has not been practised for over seven hundred years. Dr Adam Hardy from Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture, a leading authority on Indian temple architecture, has been commissioned to design a Hindu temple in the complex and ornate 12th century style of the Hoysala dynasty of south India.
The organisation behind the project, the Shree Kalyana Venkateshwara Hoysala Art Foundation, has assembled a network of sculptors skilled in the intricate carving of soapstone – but lacked an architect able to design the temple until they discovered Dr Hardy’s work. Dr Hardy, who has just returned from a visit to the proposed site in India, said: “An architectural tradition can be learnt, just like a musical or a literary tradition. It can be passed down by masters, but if none are around it can be learnt and internalised from its products – the surviving temples, in this case. This project is particularly exciting for me because it is not a copy of a medieval temple that the clients are asking for, but a new creation coming out of the tradition.”
Hand-carved from grey soapstone, the temple will be located on a granite outcrop at Venkatapura, near Nangali in the Kolar District of Karnataka, about 60 miles from Bangalore. It’s hoped it will rival the famous Hoysala monuments at Halebid and Belur in scale and splendour.