Hoysala Temples


    Syllabus: GS1/Culture and History


    • The Sacred Ensembles of Hoysalas have been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


    • The sacred ensembles of the Hoysalas, constructed during the 12th and 13th centuries are represented by the three components of the Chennakeshava temple at Belur, Hoysaleshwara temple at Halebidu and Keshava temple at Somanathapur.
    • Temple architecture style: The Hoysala temples are constructed in Vesara style of architecture. The temple has a  Dravidian morphology along with substantial influences from the Bhumija style prevalent in Central India, the Nagara traditions of northern and western India.
    • The material used in temple construction is choloritic schist also known as soapstone. The temple has a distinct style following a stellate plan built on a raised platform.

    The Chennakeshava Temple 

    • Location: The Chennakeshava temple is located on the banks of the Yagachi River (a tributary of Hemavati River) in Belur.
    • Ruler: It commenced during the reign of king Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala dynasty in 1117 CE to commemorate his victory over the Cholas. It  took 103 years to complete.
    • Architecture: The temple stands 37 meters tall at its highest. Its outer walls are adorned with finely done artwork, with dancing girls in various postures and animals like horses, elephants and lions.
    • The other temples part of the Sacred Ensembles of Hoysala at Belur are Kappe Chennigaraya Temple, Veeranarayana Temple, and Ranganayaki Temple.

    The Hoysaleshwara Temple 

    • Location: The Hoysaleshwara temple is located in Halebidu in Karnataka.
    • Ruler: The Hoysaleshwara temple was commissioned in 1121CE during the reign of King Vishnuvardhana and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
    • Architecture: Intricate carvings, finely detailed sculptures, and star-shaped architectural plans are the prime features of Sacred Ensembles of Hoysala at Halebid.

    The Keshava Temple 

    • Location: The Keshava temple at Somanathapur is located in Mysuru district.
    • Ruler: It was commissioned by Somanatha Dandanayaka during the regime of Narasimha III in 1268 CE.
    • Trikuta Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna in three forms – Janardhana, Keshava and Venugopala.
    • Architecture: The Keshava temple is built on a raised platform with an outer Pradakshina pathway. The temple has a stellar plan with three shrines and Vimanas. The walls are covered in beautiful friezes of scenes from the epics, figures of elephants and battle scenes depicting cavalry.
    Hoysala Empire
    – The Hoysala Empire was a Kannadiga power that ruled most of what is now Karnataka, between the 10th and the 14th centuries. 
    – The Hoysala rulers were originally from Malenadu, an elevated region in the Western Ghats. 
    – By the 13th century, they governed most of Karnataka, entire northwestern parts of Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andhra Pradesh in the Deccan Plateau.
    – The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur, but was later moved to Halebidu.

    Source: TH