#AncientTemples
#Hoysala
#History #Architecture
We visit different countries to see broken, damaged historical monuments and boast about them after return. But we hardly visit the historical places in our own country or talk about the Architectural monuments and their History.
The profusion of temple architectural styles in India is awe inspiring. Take for instance, the Hoysala era temples. Some of the most magnificent specimens of South temples are those attributed to the Hoysala dynasty of Karnataka.
The Hoysalas built over 1500 temples throughout their empire. Today, however, only a little over a hundred of these monuments survive. The artistic achievement of the Hoysalas is also marked by the intricate decorations that cover the exterior walls of numerous temples.
These stone sculptures and carvings are full of both religious & cultural iconography, and include depictions of deities, dance and music, hunting, daily life of the people, and scenes from 3 of Hinduism’s greatest literary works– the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Bhagavatham.
Karnataka tells us the tales of its rich past between the 12th & 15th centuries through some highly ornate temples that have ‘Hoysala’ writ all over them and are exquisite Hoysala era temples. To understand Hoysala temples, we must 1st need to know the background.
When the Hoysala rulers went about building temples all over what is Karnataka today, they invested in structures that inspire awe with their precisely sculpted walls, intricately chiseled pillars and expertly carved vimanas. The Hoysala Empire was extremely prosperous.
The kings and rich individuals across the empire commissioned stone temples that have survived invasions and the ravages of time.
From modest beginnings around 950 C.E., the Hoysalas emerged first as local chieftains under the Ganga dynasty of the South and then the Chalukyas.
By 12th century, they had managed to overthrow the Chalukyas and fought off the Cholas. To commemorate this victory, the temple at Belur was built. The Hoysala kingdom had reached its zenith by 1200 C.E. And as seen elsewhere, military prowess went hand with religious revival.
And then suddenly, by 1311, it was all over. Muslim armies loyal to Delhi Sultanate invaded South and appeared in Halebid. The last great Hoysala king, Ballala III chose to pay tribute to the armies to avoid a long siege and destruction of his kingdom.
By 1320, Ballala III accepted suzerainty of Tughlak Sultans of Delhi. Thus Hoysala independence ended. The Hindu kingdoms of the South rebelled against Delhi and their return to power was led by two brothers, Harihara and Bukka in 1329, who established the Vijayanagar Empire.
When Ballala III died in 1342, Harihara and Bukka did not allow his son to become king.
And for the first time in the history of South, a single Hindu empire encompassing the whole of South India was born.
But with the rise of the Vijayanagar Empire, potstone was replaced by hard granite, which did not allow for fine carving, and thus, the era of Hoysala architecture ended with the dynasty that began it.
Hoysala era temples are dedicated to two religions, Hinduism and Jainism.
The Jain temples are quite plain than the Hindu temples which are richly embellished both on the inside and outside. The Hindu temples themselves are dedicated to two different sects. Shaiva i.e. those dedicated to Lord Shiva, or Vaishnava, i.e. those dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
It is possible to understand which sect a temple belongs to simply from its name. If the name of the temple has the suffix “esvara”, meaning “Lord of”, then it is Shaiva temple.
Vaishnava temples always bear the name of the deity the temple is dedicated to.
It took 100 years for the Hoysala dynasty to gain independence, another 100 to reach the peak of their power and then 150 years for their decline and eventual disappearance into a far larger kingdom. They were not completely destroyed though.
They assimilated into an empire that covered a range that had never been seen in south India. This ensured that what had been created under their rule, survived to the modern day. Today, it is remembered mainly for its temple architecture rather than its military conquests.
There are over a hundred temples from this era still standing in various parts of Karnataka.
The best part about visiting these temples is that the locals are always happy to have a visitor. So If you find a temple shut, do not be disheartened. 🙂
The village elders usually hang around the temple and if you ask them, they will send someone to call the priest who will open it up for you.

Some Pictures of the Hoysala era temples.

BHAIRAVA TEMPLE – PUSHPAGIRI (1)
(2)
Pictures of VEERA NARAYANA TEMPLE – BELAVADI (1)
(2)
Pictures of LAKSHMI NARASIMHA TEMPLE – JAVAGAL (1)
(2)
(3)
Pictures of CHENNAKESHAVA TEMPLE – ARAKERE
(1)
(2)
Pictures of ISHVARA TEMPLE – ARASIKERE
(1)
(2)
(3)
Pictures of KEDARESHWARA TEMPLE – HALEBID (1)
(2)
(3)
Pictures of DIGAMBAR JAIN TEMPLES – HALEBID
Pictures of LAKSHMI DEVI TEMPLE – DODDAGADDUVALLI
Pictures of ALLALANATHA TEMPLE – KONDAJJI
Pictures of LAKSHMI TEMPLE – HARANAHALLI
Pictures of SOMESHVARA TEMPLE – HARANAHALLI
Pic 3 & 4 SOMESHVARA TEMPLE.
Pictures of LAKSHMINARAYANA TEMPLE – HOSAHOLALU
(2)
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