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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Hoysala Expedition Part 16: Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu

After a longish break, its time to catch up on a few of my pending blog assignments, specially a few Hoysala expeditions I had carried out last November, which have not yet been written about. So here goes, back with possibly the most beautiful and the most historically important of all the Hoysala temples, The Hoysaleshwara and Shantaleshwara twin temples at Halebidu, at Hassan district of Karnataka.

Halebidu, which is now a quiet, but well known town in southern Karnataka, was once the power center of southern India, serving as the capital of the mighty Hoysalas for most of their reign. Known as Dwarasamudra and Dwaravati during those days, the city of Halebidu was ruined towards the end of 14th century when the rulers of north stared expanding their reach across India. However, the Hoysaleshwara temple stands tall having withered multiple storms of cultural oppression, and is testimony to the pinnacle of artistry of the sculptors of those times.

The temple itself is known to have been built in 1120 AD, when Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana was establishing the foundations of the empire that later earned great respect throughout southern India. Vishnuvardhana had been given the title "Hoysaleshwara", and that name itself was used to name the main deity - the majestic shivalinga - of the temple constructed during his time, indicating the respect his citizen had towards the great king. The adjoining sanctum has another shivalinga, which is named "Shantaleshwara", in the honour of Vishnuvardhana's famous queen, Shantala.

A video that depicts the beauty of the temple, with raga Saramathi as the background score as a tribute to the bhakti of the sculptors, here goes:

Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu from hmvprasanna on Vimeo.

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