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Gurpreet @gurichopra
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Thread on Hoysaleshwara temple, Halebidu, Karnataka.
It's not a temple. It’s a parallel universe. A time portal. A standing testimony to the ingenuity of our ancestors. It's existence speaks of the extraordinary achievements in science, architecture, mathematics. 900 years ago!
When you see Hoysaleshwara, the 1st reaction is disbelief. It doesn’t seem to be made of soapstone, but rather feels like a tapestry where all our beliefs, mythologies, our Devas, our very soul is inscribed fluidly. Nobody can return untouched. Devas do reside here!
Hoysaleshwara is a dwikuta temple with 2 linga shrines . It was built in 11th century by Kedaroja, master builder of King Narsimha I, under supervision of Ketamalla-Chief officer of public works.
Distinct style of Hoysala temples was lost with the fall of Dwarasamudra i.e. Star shaped base with intersecting projections above it, complex shikharas and band of niches for sculptures. It lasted for only 2 centuries reaching its heyday mid-12th cent with construction of Belur.
Hoysaleshwara represents the zenith of sculptural expression. Sthapatis weave their magic such that lifeless stones speak! Here we see beautiful depictions of the trimurthi – Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh, followed by Uma-Maheshwara at the end.
Maha Swaroopa of Natya Shiva! Naman to the sthapatis who crafted it.
Serene features of murthi, as Mahadeva performs Ananda Tandava. Notice the profusion of weapons-skull shaft with snake crawling on it & detailed kamarpatta. Goosebumps! 😍🙏
Overwhelmingly beautiful Gajanana! Every part of the sculpture-Serpent as a Janeu, Elaborate Mukuta, kamarpatta are perfectly executed. The ease with which this sculpture melds into the Gajasurasamharamurthy adjacent to it, shows the ace planning at work.
Seen here are graceful sculptures of Natya Ganesha. Ganaraya holds a serpent in his hand along with the Parashu, his preferred weapon. The stance and expresssions have a very calming effect. Prathampujya in a beautiful manifestation. 🌺🙏
Raudra roopa of Mahadeva performing tandava on demon. Detailing & execution are unbelievable! Shiva is depicted with 14 arms, each carrying specific weapon. The expressions clearly indicate krodha.
Sculptor has converted minimal space to pure awesomeness! Unparalled Genius!
Bhikshatana Bhairava: composite of fierce form of Shiva-Bhairava & calm monk-Bhikshatana. Sandals depict the monk whereas forked teeth, skull garland & severed head depict Bhairava.
Lower Right, a ghoul feeds her child while looking up adoringly!
This is by far the best depiction of a dancer frozen mid-performance IMO. The hand mudras, body stance & jewellery is mesmerizing! Almost as if the dancer swung around to face the audience & got immortalized in stone. Blink & she may dance! 😊
Kirtimukha is gorgeous!
The same panel consists of Shri Hari as Keshava & a musician playing Dhol. You can see his fingers passing beneath the strings of the instrument! Unbelievable, how Hoysala sthapatis cut through stone as if it was clay!
Vishnu in Vaman avatar asking King Bali for land that he could cover in 3 strides. Lower R-Shukracharya dissuades Bali. On getting the boon, Shri Hari transforms into mighty Trivikrama.
Within 2 strides he covers heaven & earth and finally steps on Bali.
Ugra Narsimha rupa is represented here in the act of killing Hiranyakashyap. Narsimha Swamy manifested to protect Prahlad & rid both, him & the world of Hiranyakashyap's tyranny. These sculptures depict different stages of his disembowelment.
Swaradayini herself performing nritya! Rare sight. What Elegance!
Devi Saraswati is represented here, with 10 arms & her vahan - beautifully carved hamsa below. She holds the mala & pustaka-her primary symbols. Hoysalas imagined all devatas as Dancers. Beautiful!
Ravana-anugraha murthi. An arrogant Ravana tries to lifts Kailasha. This disturbs Devi Parvati & Mahadeva in retribution touches his toe to the surface, pinning ravana below for 1000 years. His feet are pressed to the ground as he struggles to lift the weight.
The detailed depiction of Kailasha is a sight! You can see profusion of ganas & vegetation along different levels of the mountain. Above, Mahadeva pulls Devi close to comfort her. Density of carvings is unbelievable! Every nook is sculpted. 😍😍
Beautiful depiction of battle between Shri Hari & Indra over Parijat tree. Krishna, to fulfill Satyabhamas wish & also teach Indra a lesson, uproots Parijat tree from Indralok & brings it to earth. An enraged Indra follows him.
A fierce battle rages.
Krishna rides on to earth holding the Parijata tree. Shri Hari's features depict his battle readiness while Garuda prepares to launch weapon. Indra & Indrani follow them atop Airavata, wielding Vajra.
Finally Indra loses & Parijata stays on earth.
Gajendra Moksham. Shri Hari comes to the rescue of a Gaja devotee, on being attacked by a crocodile. Seeing Hari approach, the Gaja welcomes him by offering a Lotus. Vishnu kills the crocodile using Sudarshana chakra, liberating it from a curse.
Second photo for comparison.
Mahishasurmardini-Shakti in her martial avatar. Here she pins down demon Mahisha (bull) under her feet. As he tries to escape, she plunges the trishul into his body. Devi wields bow, parasu, ghanta, chakra, shankha & Trishul. Powerful iconography 😍🕉️🙏
Gajasurasamharamurthy- Mahadev in his ugra rupa liberates Gajasura by ripping him apart. He holds the elephant hide aloft & dances on Gajasura's head accompanied by preta musicians & Nandi. Iconography & detailing is mind-boggling! Every sculpture is unique & independent.
Beautiful sculptures of Mahadev & Shakti with Nandi. Last click-Varaha Avatar of Vishnu lifting Bhudevi from the ocean & trampling Hiranyaksha underfoot. Note the profusion of weapons and how Varahadev steadies Bhudevi by grasping her feet!
An aggressive, yet graceful sculpture of Mahadeva slaying Andhakasur with his Trishul. Mahadeva is depicted here, with 14 arms holding-Trishul, Damru, Rudraksh,Nandi Stambh, Skull staff etc.
Sculpture is so realistically portrayed - His ornaments sway as he performs Tandav!
Chamunda & Kali. Chamunda Devi is identified from the sunken ribs & mukuta of skulls that adorns her. Devi Kali wears Munda Maal & holds severed head of a demon. A dog can be seen trying to drink its blood. Ghoul musicians & dancers perform. as part of Devi's retinue. 🙏🌸🕉️
Four armed Garuda shown here in battle-ready mode. Detailing & profusion of weapons is a treat to the eye! The girdle & mukut are beautifully sculpted.
Second Picture -A battle rages between Garuda & two Nagas. Theyre natural enemies as per food chain.
Exquisite sculpture of Nataraja performing nritya atop apasmara. Mahadeva is depicted here with 10 arms holding numerous weapons & yet features indicate absolute calm. Meditative even among chaos!
Kamar patta & jewellery, the entire panel in fact is richly carved.
Lakshya Bhed by Arjun at Draupadi's Swayamvar. Arjun looks into the reflection & aims for the rotating fish. Upper left, Hanuman is represented symbolically on Arjuna's Dhwaja. The sculptures around this panel are arranged to give 3D effect!
Architectural Genius!
Krishna lifting Govardhan Parvat to protect Gokul from Indra’s deluge. Gaus & villagers gathers around while musicians & nritikas perform. Nagas & birds are shown atop Govardhan.
Upper right-Bananas tree with ripe fruit can be spotted!
6-armed Kartikeya & Ganapati are present at the south entrance to the temple. Fine specimens of Hoysala art, - Kartikeya is seated atop his Peacock, while Ganesha dances on his vahan Mushak.
Both carry their choice of weapons- Vel& Parashu respectively.
Walls at Hoysaleshwara temple display variety of animal motifs, Shardools, Kirtimukhas, lively battle scenes replete with rath yuddha and archers & infantry clashing. Rows of marching Gajas, Simhas & Ashwas adorn the lower section.
Interesting carving, showing the contact with foreigners during the reign of the Hoysalas. The dress & hairstyle are distinctly un-Indian & the sculpture probably represents traders or emissaries at Hoysala court?! Notice the absence of shoes!
Hoysaleshwara is replete with sublime depictions of feminine beauty & grace. Hoysala sthapatis created breathtakingly beautiful madanikas. A voluptuous Nagakanya unabashedly strikes a pose. Dont miss the the awesome hairstyle & footwear!
An ensemble of stunningly beautiful female musicians & dancers perform for the Devas! Shringaar & Nritya are inseperable. Jewellery, hairstyle, the very stance oozes perfection. Exact opposite of the anorexic bodies lauded today.
Timeless beauty & grace 🙏
Ornate musicians playing the dhol & bansuri are skillfully placed into niches alongside Devas. Beautifully rendered, you could mistake them for divinity! Carving is so realistically done that you will feel like reaching out to play the instrument! 😊
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