Wednesday, January 23, 2019
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Hoysaleswara Temple

 

Place

:

Hassan, Karnataka

Highlight

:

One of the major attraction of Halebid

Best time to visit

:

April - May

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Situated at a distance of 31km from Hassan district in Karnataka, Halebid (Halebidu) earlier known as Dwarasamudra was the ancient and wealthy capital city of the Hoysala Empire during the 12th and 13th centuries AD. The city, also known as the Benaras of the South is home to one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture. Among its numerous temples that attract attention even today are the Hoysalesvara, the Kerdaresvara and a group of three Jain temples.

Halebid is situated alongside a large 9th-century artificial lake known as Dvarasamudra which means entrance from ocean. The city was destroyed by the armies of the Delhi Sultan Allaudin Khalji in 1311 and 1327, after which it was deserted and later renamed Halebid. Fortunately, the Hoysaleshwara temple survived. The Hoysalas then shifted their capital to Belur, leaving behind Halebid.

One of the largest Shiva temple of South India, Hoysaleswara temple is a remarkable monument of Hoysala architecture. The temple was built in 12 th century by Ketamalla an officer of of King Vishnuvardhana but completed decades later in the reign of Narasimha I. It is similar to the temple at Belur, but its superstructe was never completed. Among the

The temple complex comprises two Hindu temples, the Hoysaleshawara and Shantaleswara temples and two Jain Bastis. One temple is dedicated to Siva and the other to Santeleswara. A monolithic Nandi bull statue is placed in front of the Hoysaleswara temple. Each shrine consists of a central sanctuary with three subsidiary chambers. The Jain bastis located within a garden enclosure have gleaming blackstone pillars and carved ceilings. Several thousands of figures can be seen in its walls. The basement has one of the most richly sculptured.

Hoysaleswara temple is a remarkable double shrined temple. The largest of the Hoysala temples, this temple fell to enemy attacks even before it was completed. It is one of the finest examples of temple architecture in India. Like the monument at Belur, Grey green schist was used for the construction of Hoysaleswara Temple. The temple complex is on a platform and there are two shrines. Each shrine has a linga (a symbol of Lord Shiva). The temple has two Garbhagrihas (Sanctum Sanctorums) and the Shiva Lingas. These Garbhagrihas are known as Hoysaleswara and Santaleswara named after the King and Queen Santala Devi, the chief queen of Vishnuvardhana Hoysala who also appear in the Kesava Temple in Belur. Behind the sanctorum of Lord Hoysaleswara there is a shrine dedicated to Lord Surya.

The Hindu temple on the northern side is devoted to God Shanthaleshwara and that of the southern side to God Hoysaleswara. A monolithic Nandi bull statue is placed in front of these shrines.

The temple complex faces a large water tank which was believed to be built in the middle of 11th century. The walls of the temple are covered with detailed friezes and sculptures depicting scenes narrated in Hindu epics. The speciality of this temple is that no two sculptures of the temple are the same. The various sculpture inside the temple like Krishna lifting mount Govardhana, Bhishma dying on a bed of Arrows, Krishna with gopis, Rama defeating the demon God Ravana. Rama killing the golden deer, Rama and Sita with the monkeys etc shows the excellence of the artisans' craft. Among its original 84 female figures only 14 still exists, 70 were stolen.

The temple remain open from sunrise to sunset. The Shantaleswara Temple at Halebid is also a worth visit. It was built by Veerballala II and his queen Abhinava Ketala Devi, in 1219 AD.

An open air Archaeological Museum located on the temple premises displays sculptures, wood carvings idols, coins and inscriptions. Among the many 12 C- 13 Century sculputres gathered here is a large image of seated Ganesha and Nandi. There is a large image of seated Ganesa and a Nandi. It is opened on all days from 10am to 5pm except Fridays. Photography is not allowed.

A road running about 1km south leads to the group of the 12th century Jain bastics. With lathe-turned bastis stand in a garden enclosure, one can walk around and see the dark interiors with carved ceilings. The road continues for another few meters which leads to the 13th Century Kedareshvara Temple. It is a star shaped temple which has a moulded basement and a set of carved panles. It has stone screens which illuminate the inerior of the hall.

 







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