Hoysaleshwara Temple


Hoysaleshwara Temple is a 12th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is the largest monument in Halebeedu, the former capital of the Hoysala Empire. It is deemed unique for the richness and finesse of the carved friezes that adorn its exterior walls.

The temple was built on the banks of a large artificial lake during the reign of King Vishnuvardhana (1108-1142 CE) of the Hoysala dynasty. Halebeedu was originally called Dwarasamudra, a name derived from two Sanskrit words, Dwara (gateway) and Samudra (ocean), and translates to the gateway to the sea. The name poetically indicates the grandiose of the lake by comparing it to an ocean. The temple’s construction was first sponsored in 1121 CE by King Visnuvardhana's minister Ketamalla. It was designed and built by architect Kedaroja with the patronage of wealthy Shaiva (worshippers of Shiva) merchants and aristocrats and was completed in 1160 CE during the reign of Narasimha I (1142-1173 CE).

Hoysaleshwara Temple - panoramic view - 1

The immense structure covered with a profusion of carvings makes the Hoysaleshwara temple an exemplary monument.

In the words of art historian Gerard Foekema (1943-2014)

"No other temple in India shows the complete Hindu pantheon in such a lavish and successful way."