Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Sacred Temples of the Hoysala

Temples of the Hoysala

The Hoysala Empire was a Southern mighty Indian empire that ruled from 10th and 14th centuries A.D. Belur was initial capital of the Hoysala Empire later moved to Halebidu.
During the reign, the Hoysalas built over 1500 temples throughout their empire. Today, however, only a little over a hundred of these monuments survive.Hoysalas promoted  tolerance, with Shaivite, Vaishnavite, Jainism .They were meant to be expressions of spiritual purpose and vehicles of spiritual practice and attainment.
Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple - Hoysala
Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple displays the magnificence of the Hoysala architecture. Photo source.
Hoysala temples were built on platforms and had a star-shaped plan ,hybrid of the nagara style from northern India and the Dravidian style The intricate decorations  cover the exterior walls  include depictions of deities, dance and music, hunting, the daily life of the peoples, and scenes from three of Hinduism’s greatest literary works – the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Bhagavatham.   
A section from the world famous hoysala architecture in India
A section from the world famous hoysala architecture in India. Source: BigStockPhoto

At the first capital of the Hoysalas, Belur is the Chennakeshava Temple Complex. This is situated at the centre of the old walled town on the banks of the Yagachi River. It was dedicated to the god Vishnu, and Shiva. There are  118 stone inscriptions covering the period from A.D. 1117 to the 18th century have been found there. These inscriptions provide us with fascinating details about the artists who were employed, grants made to the temple, and the renovations that were done.
Carvings of worshippers at Hampi
Carvings of worshippers lined up along a wall at Hampi. Source: BigStockPhoto
Belur city was attacked numerous times,finally succeeded in sacking the capital in A.D. 1310. This resulted in the destruction of the main temple in the centre of the city as well as numerous other smaller temples, shrines and palace buildings. One of these remaining temples is the Hoysaleshwara Temple. This temple was built in A.D. 1121 during the reign of King Vishnuvardhana Hoysalas, and was dedicated to Shiva. While it was the kings who usually sponsored the grandest temples in Southern India, this one was dedicated by the wealthy citizens and merchants of Halebidu.  
Carvings on the Hoysaleshwara Temple
The intricate carvings on the Hoysaleshwara Temple. Source: BigStockPhoto
On the occasion of World Heritage Day 2014 (18 April 2014), UNESCO granted India another 15 sites on its tentative World Heritage Sites. This meant that India now has a total of 48 sites on this tentative list. Of these sites, 3 of them are from Southern India, and one of these is the Sacred Ensembles of Hoysala.
Featured image: The Chennakeshava Temple built in 1117 AD by the Hoysalas at Belur Karnataka India. Source: BigStockPhoto
Drishti The Vision Foundation, 2014. World Heritage Day. [Online]
Available at:
Government of Karnataka, Department of Tourism, 2014. Blazing Trail of Golden Era... Tourist Guide of Hassan District. [Online]
Available at:
The New India Press, 2014. 3 Sites on Tentative Heritage List. [Online]
Available at:
UNESCO, 2014. Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala. [Online]
Available at:
Wikipedia, 2014. Chennakesava Temple. [Online]
Available at:
Wikipedia, 2014. Hoysala Empire. [Online]
Available at:
Wikipedia, 2014. Hoysaleswara Temple. [Online]
Available at:


  1. We are a team of education enthusiast who is working round the clock to make learning simple and easily accessible for every student.
    Education is the first building block of the human life cycle and we learn from every step forward, with help of this platform we are sharing our learning with all and open to share someone else’s good work here to make it available to every student.
    Daily Current affairs Quiz across the wide range of subjects including Sports, Technology, Politics, latest trending issues Government Schemes, Economics, etc.
    Latest Information about government jobs from all the sectors. Defense Jobs, PSU Jobs, Banking Sector and many more.

  2. THANK YOU for this explanation , and for your precious time : you have taught me something so obvious yet very important. Have a great day. Forward in Faith.Indianconstitutions

  3. Now you would no longer have to search tirelessly for UPSC coaching in Delhi. You need to reach out to Elite IAS Academy, and we would call you up and recommend the best courses as per your preparation level for your upcoming exams.
    IAS Coaching in Delhi

  4. Enroll in the top IAS coaching in Delhi to be exam ready for the upcoming IAS this year. You will be able to clear all your doubts across the various subjects on a one-to-one basis. Visit the website of Elite IAS Academy to know more.