The Hoysala Empire was a Southern mighty Indian empire that ruled from 10th
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
vehicles of spiritual practice and attainment.
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. 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
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 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.
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: http://www.drishtiias.com/upsc-current-affairs-article-World-Heritage-Day
Government of Karnataka, Department of Tourism, 2014. Blazing Trail of Golden Era... Tourist Guide of Hassan District. [Online]
Available at: http://www.hassan.nic.in/pdfs/tourism/Hassan-District-Tourism-Golden%20Era.pdf
The New India Press, 2014. 3 Sites on Tentative Heritage List. [Online]
Available at: http://m.newindianexpress.com/karnataka/313147
UNESCO, 2014. Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala. [Online]
Available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5898/
Wikipedia, 2014. Chennakesava Temple. [Online]
Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chennakesava_Temple
Wikipedia, 2014. Hoysala Empire. [Online]
Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoysala_Empire
Wikipedia, 2014. Hoysaleswara Temple. [Online]
Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoysaleswara_temple