A disused kalyani – geometrically shaped stepped temple tank – dating back to the Hoysala era has been dredged and is being restored at Hosaholalu, near K.R. Pet in Mandya district.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) took up the work even though it is not a protected monument. The kalyani is reckoned to be massive in size compared to similar structures that have existed in the vicinity; it measures about 50 ft x 50 ft and is almost 25 ft to 30 ft deep.
Sources in the ASI told The Hindu that three successive years of drought caused the kalyani to dry up; but it brought to the fore debris and muck that had accumulated over years of neglect besides the full scale of the structure, which is reckoned to be around 600 years old.
The structure is about 2 km from K.R. Pet. It is about 250 metres from the Lakshmi Narayanswamy temple, and the main source of water is a nearby lake which feeds it besides rain.
“The kalyani is a classic example of Hoysala architecture. Drought resulted in the gradual drying up of the lake which left the kalyani desiccated. The ASI plans to fence the area and spruce up the structure, given its grandeur in terms of its architectural merit,” said an official who did not wish to be quoted.
It took the ASI staff about two weeks to clear the debris and dredge the tank. Strangely, labourers had to be brought from Mysuru as local workers kept themselves away owing to superstitious beliefs, sources said.
Ábout 50 trolley loads of muck and debris were removed from the kalyani. During the process of clearing, an undated sculpture of Lord Ganesh was found.
“Apart from being representative of the Hoysala style of architecture, the kalyani is a pointer to ancient Indians wisdom in water management as these wells not only stored water but enabled groundwater percolation,” the ASI official said.
Though the present generation in the village is largely ignorant of the kalyani’s significance, senior citizens of Hosaholalu aver they remember it being a source of drinking water about 60 years ago.