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Story of Jakkanacharya – Sculptor and Architect of Belur and Hoysala Temples

We rarely get to know about the hands that made the wonderfully ornate Hindu temples of ancient India. Jakkanacharya was the sculptor and architect of the Hoysala and Belur temples in Karnataka. There is an interesting story associated with Jakkanacharya.
  • He lived during the 14th century AD.
  • None of Hoysala or Belur Temples have the name of Jakkana.
  • He is more popular through folk stories.
  • There is an annual award in the name of Jakkanacharya in Karnataka and it is given to the best sculptor. 

Jakkanacharya and the Kappe (frog) Chennigaraya temple

Jakkanacharya was given the work of the Chennigaraya temple – presently located to the south of the world famous Chennakeshava Temple at Belur in Hassan District, Karnataka.

He completed the main murti of Chennigaraya and it was about to be consecrated and installed in the temple.

However, Dankana, Jakkanacharya’s son, came in search of his father and objected to the consecration of the murti as he considered it unfit for worship.

Jakkanacharya challenged his son and took an oath to cut off his right hand if the sculpture was defective.

Soon sandal paste was applied all over the murti of Chennigaraya and the portion near the belly did not dry up at all.

When a flake was taken out of that portion, a frog jumped out.

Accepting defeat, Jakkanacharya is said to have cut off his right hand.

This temple is now known as Kappe (frog) Chennigaraya temple. But worship is not offered to the deity.