Krishna Raja Sagara Dam, built on River Cauvery is a very important project to provide water for irrigation, drinking and electricity to many parts of Karnataka. Engineering genius Sir M.Visveshvarayya designed it in 1909 and with the help of Mysore Kind Krishna Raja Wadaiyar IV, he completed the construction around 1931. But because of the backwaters, the village of Kannambadi and surrounding areas where the KRS was built were to be submerged. So the king re-habituated the villagers to a near place naming it Hosa Kannambadi (New Kannambadi). But the villagers had to abandon the temple of Lord Venugopala Swami and leave the place. So they took the main idol of Lord Krishna playing the flute, was shifted to a new temple near to their rehabilitated village.
Lord Venugopala Swami temple, originally built by the Hoyasalas around 12th century AD, is huge and magnificent. With the massive complex area which was around 50 acres, the temple had a garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), a vestibule, a middle hall and a mukhya mantapa (main hall). The cell opposite to the entrance had a figure of Kesava (Lord Krishna) and the south cell, containing the figure of Gopalakrishna. The walls had scriptures written in the ancient Hale/Kannada language. With the construction of dam, the whole temple got submerged and it only used to resurface during dry summers.
The drought was evident in the year 2000, where the total temple was resurfaced. After being submerged for a 70 years, the resurfaced temple caught lot of attention. Then the Khoday Foundation under the guidance of Liquor Baron and philanthropist Late Mr. Sri Hari Khoday took up the task of relocating and restoring the temple. It was initially planned to shift the entire complex to Madhuvana Park in Mysore. However, protests from the villagers of Hosa Kannambadi convinced the foundation to shift it to a place near the rehabilitated village.
The cost of the project was estimated to be around ₹ 2.5 crore.The in-house architects of the group had shot the original temple on video, taken over 16,000 photographs, and marked each and every slab used in the construction of the original temple. Each and every temple stone was removed and reconstructed at Hosa Kannambadi with trained artisans and sculptors, with half a dozen experts from Tamil Nadu also involved in the reconstruction.
The new site is about one km to the north of the original site. The backwaters would touch the outer walls of the templeand the temple is now a picturesque site covered with water on three sides.As of December 2011, the temple restoration has been completed, and was ready by 2013 but still is awaiting an official inauguration. It however has become a tourist hotspot considering its tale of submersion and relocation. It is 30 km away from Mysore and 9 km from Brundavan Gardens, Krishna Raja Sagara.
Watch the story of the temple restoration here: