The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas the famed Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid and Somananthpura in the State has been finalised as India’s nomination for consideration as World Heritage for 2022-23. These protected monuments are on UNESCO’s tentative list since April 15, 2014.
About Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas
- The sacred ensembles of the Hoysalas are extraordinary expressions of spiritual purpose and vehicles of spiritual practice and attainment.
- The sacred ensembles of the Hoysalas at Belur and Halebid are the finest, most exquisite, and most representative examples of the artistic genius and cultural accomplishments of the Hoysalas remaining today.
About Belur: Chennakeshava Temple Complex
- The Chennakeshava temple complex was at the center of the old walled town located on the banks of the Yagachi River.
- The complex itself was walled in a rectangular campus with four rectilinear streets around it for ritual circumambulation of the deity.
- Construction of the temple commenced in 1117 AD and took a 103 years to complete.
- The temple was devoted to Vishnu.
- The richly sculptured exterior of the temple narrate scenes from the life of Vishnu and his reincarnations and the epics, Ramayana, and Mahabharata.
- However, some of the representations of Shiva are also included.
- Consecrated on a sacred site, the temple has remained continuously worshipped since its establishment and remains until today as a site of pilgrimage for Vaishnavites.
About Halebid: Hoysaleshwara Temple
- At the zenith of the Hoysala empire, the capital was shifted from Belur to Halebid that was then known as Dorasamudhra.
- The Hoysaleshwara temple at Halebidu is the most exemplary architectural ensemble of the Hoysalas extant today.
- Built in 1121CE during the reign of the Hoysala King, Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleshwara.
- The temple, dedicated to Shiva, was sponsored and built by wealthy citizens and merchants of Dorasamudra.
- The temple is most well-known for the more than 240 wall sculptures that run all along the outer wall.
- Halebid has a walled complex containing of three Jaina basadi (temples) of the Hoysala period as well as a stepped well.
About Somnathpur: Kesava Temple
- The Keshava temple at Somanathapura is another magnificent Hoysala monument, perhaps the last.
- This is a breathtakingly beautiful Trikuta Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna in three forms – Janardhana, Keshava and Venugopala.
- Unfortunately, the main Keshava idol is missing, and the Janardhana and Venugopala idols are damaged.
- Still this temple is worth a visit just to soak in the artistry and sheer talent of the sculptors who created this magnificent monument to the Divine.
Back to Basics
- The Hoysala architects used their profound knowledge of temple architecture in different parts of India, and these temples have a basic Dravidian morphology but show strong influences of the Bhumija mode widely used in Central India, the Nagara traditions of Northern and Western India, and the Karntata Dravida modes favoured by the Kalyani Chalukyas. “
- Therefore, the Hoysala architects made considered and informed eclectic selections of features from other temple typologies which further modified and then complemented with their own particular innovations.
- The result was the birth of a completely novel Hoysala temple form.
- The temples are protected monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India, and the State Government will ensure the conservation of State protected monuments, which are around these three monuments since it would add to visual integrity of the place.
- Hoysala architecture is the building style in Hindu temple architecture developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries, in the region known today as Karnataka, a state of India.
- Hoysala influence was at its peak in the 13th century, when it dominated the Southern Deccan Plateau region.
- Large and small temples built during this era remain as examples of the Hoysala architectural style, including the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura.
- Other examples of Hoysala craftsmanship are the temples at Belavadi, Amruthapura, Hosaholalu, Mosale, Arasikere, Basaralu, Kikkeri and Nuggehalli.
- Study of the Hoysala architectural style has revealed a negligible Indo-Aryan influence while the impact of Southern Indian style is more distinct.
- Temples built prior to Hoysala independence in the mid-12th century reflect significant Western Chalukya influences, while later temples retain some features salient to Western Chalukya architecture but have additional inventive decoration and ornamentation, features unique to Hoysala artisans.
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