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If the experience in Belur was not enough for one day, i landed at this place. From a distance it looks like a simple plain(large though…) temple. But as i got nearer, i thought the architect of this temple must have been mad. How can you fill the entire outer wall with sculptures without leaving space? This is simply crazy but awesome. Now lets talk about Halebidu in general and this temple in particular.
Dwarasamudra was the capital of the Hoysalas during the 12th century. After being attacked by Allauddin Khilji and Malik Kafur in the 14th century, it fell into a state of disrepair and was called Halebidu (ruined city) by the locals. This town is well known for the two beautiful temples, the Kedareshwara temple (built in 1219 A.D. by Ketaladevi, a queen of Veera Ballala II) and the Hoysaleswara Temple. We will talk about the Kedareshwara Temple in a different Post.
The Hoysaleswara Temple was commissioned by Ketumalla, the commander of King Vishnuvardhana, according to an inscription dated 1121 A.D. It is a simple Dvikuta vimana (two shrined, one for Hoysaleswara and the other for Shantaleswara) and is built with chloritic chist (also known as Soap Stone). As a typical signature of Hoysala Temples, this one too stands on an octagonal elevated jagati. The two shrines are connected by a pavilion inside. The plan of the inside of the temple is simple but the exterior looks different because of the introduction of many projections and recesses in the walls.
The overall effect of the vertical and horizontal lines, the play of the outline, the effect of light and shade and the plan of the projections and recesses all amounts to a marvellous exhibition of human artistic brain. This temple of Halebidu, has been described as an "outstanding example of Hindu architecture" and as the "supreme climax of Indian architecture".
The temple has four porches for entry and the one normally used by visitors as main entry today is actually a lateral entrance (north). There is one entry on the south side and two on the east side, facing two large detached open pavilions whose ceiling is supported by lathe turned pillars. In addition there is a sanctuary for the Sun God Surya, whose image stands 7 ft. (2.1 m) tall. The pavilions enshrine large images of Nandi, and share the same jagati as the main temple.
With this high level description of the temple, we can start to explore, starting with the inner structure.