Hassan’s Hoysala temple

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The International Commission on Monuments and Sites specialist Tiong Kian Boom visited the Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebid, Karnataka's Hassan district.

The Hoysala building is contending for UNESCO's designation as a World Heritage Site.

Mr. Boom explored the temple and examined the Hoysala style buildings. He'll present UNESCO with a report.

Hoysala Architecture Features

Hoysala architecture is the building style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries.

In addition to the spectacular temples at Belur and Halebid, Hoysala kings also constructed a number of exquisite temples in Karnataka.

Hoysala temples are sometimes referred to be hybrid or vesara because of their distinctive style, which appears to lie midway between Nagara and Dravida.

The Hoysala temples have numerous shrines arranged around a central pillared hall and set out in the shape of an intricately designed star, as opposed to a plain inner chamber with its pillared hall.

The most distinguishing aspect of these temples is that they develop into incredibly complex structures with so many projecting angles coming from the initially simple square temple that the plan of these structures begins to resemble a star and is referred to as a stellate-plan.

Since soapstone is a rather soft stone, the sculptors were able to create elaborate designs on their sculptures. This is especially evident in the gods' jewellery, which is displayed on the walls of their temples.

Their highly unusual star-like ground designs and an abundance of ornate carvings make them stand out from other mediaeval temples.

Some of the well-known temples include Hoysaleshvara Temple (Lord of the Hoysalas), which was constructed in dark schist stone by the Hoysala king in Halebid, Karnataka, in 1150; Chennakeshava Temple, which was constructed under Narasimha III in Somnathpura, Karnataka, around 1268; and Kesava Temple, which was constructed by Vishnuvard.

Important Hoysala Temples


Chennakeshava Temple, an ancient structure, is notable in Somanathapura.

The temple in Somanathpura is one of the most outstanding specimens of Hoysala architecture and it is in extremely good condition. It was constructed in 1268 AD by Soma, a commander under Hoysala king Narasimha III.

The exterior walls of the temples are embellished with numerous star-shaped folds, and the whole thing is coated in plaques made of carved stone.

Additionally, the walls above the plinth are expertly carved with beautiful representations of Hindu gods and goddesses, who are precisely placed in vertical panels.

The Archeological Survey of India preserves the Chennakeshava temple at Somnathpur as a protected heritage site, and visitors are only permitted from 9:00AM to 5:30PM.


On the state route connecting Tiptur and Chandrarayapatna, Nuggehalli is about 50 kilometres from Hassan.

The Lakshminarasimha temple, constructed in 1246 CE, and the Sadasiva temple, constructed in 1249 CE by Bommanna Dandanayaka, a general in the Hoysala Empire during the reign of King Vira Someshwara, are two beautiful Hoysala temples that can be found in Nuggehalli.

An excellent illustration of a beautiful trikuta (three towers) vimana (prayer hall) Hoysala temple with exquisite sculptures covering the walls is the Laksmi Narayana Temple.

The Sadashiva Temple is a unique Hoysala temple constructed in the ekakuta style with a tower in the nagara style.

Due to the lack of artistic ornamentation, the walls of the shrine and the mantapa have a stern appearance. However, this temple is regarded as significant in terms of architectural.


Anekere is situated in the Hassan district, 6.5 kilometres from Channarayapatna Taluk. Anekere is well-known for its historic Chennakesava Temple, which was constructed in 1119 AD.

The Hoysala monarchs built this temple at Anekere, and it was recently rebuilt. The temple's entrance is beautifully carved with pillars and seating areas.

A sizable open area surrounds the shrine. One may locate a magnificently carved Kalasha, the largest in size and distinct in style, on the temple's roof.

At the temples in Koravangala and Doddagaddavalli, the same Kalasha is also present in a smaller size.

Important Hoysala Temples


Hassan is located 16 kilometres away from Doddagaddavalli.

The Hoysala-style Lakshmi Devi Temple in Doddagaddavalli is the town's principal draw.

One of the earliest known temples is the Lakshmi Devi Temple, which was constructed in 1114 CE under the reign of King Vishnuvardhana.

The temple has a lake at its back that adds to the natural splendour, and it is flanked by coconut plantations.

In Doddagaddavalli, the Lakshmi Devi Temple is made of soapstone or chloritic schist.

The jagati (platform) that was common in later Hoysala temples does not exist in this temple. The entry to the temple is through a porch that is supported by circular lathe-turned pillars. The temple is a chatuskuta building (four towers) that is housed inside a 7 feet tall stone enclosure.


The renowned Jain pilgrimage site of Shravanabelagola is only 10 km away from Kikkeri, which is in the Mandya district, and Channarayapatna is only 18 km away.

The Brahmeshwara temple, a magnificent specimen of Hoysala architecture, is Kikkeri's main draw.

During the reign of Hoysala King Narasimha I, a wealthy woman by the name of Bammare Nayakiti constructed the Brahmeshwara temple at Kikkeri in 1171 AD.

The temple has a unique appearance.

The outside walls of the temple have been made convex, enlarging the chamber beyond the base.

This building is an ekakuta (single shrine).

The Archaeological Survey of India's Karnataka state division has designated the temple at Kikkeri as a protected monument.


The historic Bucesvara temple, which was constructed in 1173 AD by wealthy officer Buci (or Buchiraja) to commemorate the coronation of Hoysala King Veera Ballala II, is the main draw of Koravangala.

Hassan is located 10 kilometres from the Bucesvara temple. The Koravangala Bucesvara temple is a divikuta, or two shrines facing one another.

A closed mantapa (hall) and an open mantapa join these shrines. As a result, one shrine's lighting is significantly different from that of the other.

The decorative elements of the temple can be considered to be of the "old kind," which before the Hoysala era and was still in use.

There are two other abandoned temples close by.

The Archaeological Survey of India has declared this temple a monument of national importance and is guarding it.


Hassan is 13 kilometres away from Mosale, which is known for its Nageshvara-Chennakeshava temple complex.

During the rule of Hoysala King Veera Ballala II in the year 1200 A.D., the temples were constructed.

Elegant examples of Hoysala architecture from the first half of the 12th century can be found at Mosale.

The temples at Mosale are straightforward single-shrined buildings with all the distinctive Hoysala architectural features, including a porch entrance into a square, closed mantapa or navaranga leading to the sanctum and a superstructure (shikhara) over the main shrine that is described as an ekakuta (single shrine with top).

A vestibule known as sukhanasi connects the hall to the sanctuary (garbhagriha).

The enclosed hall's inner and outer walls are decorated, and its bay ceiling is supported by four pillars in the centre that were lathe turned.

The Archaeological Survey of India has declared this temple a monument of national importance and is guarding it.

Important Hoysala Temples


Halebid is 10 kilometres away from the temple village of Belavadi. Belavadi village was also known as Ekachakranagara, which was the name of the Mahabharatha location where Bheemasena defeated the demonic Bakasura and defended the community.

The Lord Veeranarayana temple in Belavadi is the town's main draw. In the year 1200 AD, King Veera Ballala II of the Hoysala Empire erected this trikuta (three tower) temple.

Each of the shrines is one of the largest examples of Hoysala architecture and features a full superstructure (tower on top of shrine).

The temple is distinctive in that two of the shrines are situated side by side on either side of a large, open mantapa (hall) with 37 bays. There is also an ancient temple with a central shrine at the end of a closed mantapa with 13 bays and a closed mantapa with 9 bays.

This third shrine is an older building that displays a beautiful Hoysala architectural idiom with all the essential components of a Hoysala temple.


Hassan is 39 kilometres away from Haranhalli, which is situated in the Arsikere taluk.

The Lakshminarasimha temple and the Sadashiva temple, which are located a short distance apart from each other, were both intricately constructed by the Hoysala Empire King Vira Someshwara in the year 1235 AD.

The Hoysala architecture is full and well-exemplified in the Lakshminarasimha temple in Haranhalli.

The temple features three shrines and is a trikuta, with the centre shrine—which has a tower or shikhara and a sukhanasi—receiving the most attention (tower over the vestibule).

A communal hall known as mantapa connects the three shrines. While the main shrine has a vestibule that connects the sanctum (cella or vimana) to the hall, the lateral shrines are immediately attached to the hall.

The Archaeological Survey of India's Karnataka state division has designated this temple as a protected monument.

Ishwara Temple, Arasikere

One of the Hoysala Temples completed in 1220 AD is the Ishwara Temple at Arasikere. The Lord Shiva is the subject of the temple.

The ground layout of this temple, which has a 16-pointed star-shaped mantapa (hall) and an irregularly shaped shrine with three different sorts of star points, is thought to make it the most intricate Hoysala temple still standing.

The temple is an ekakuta shrine (single shrine), faces east like all Hoysala buildings, and is made primarily of soapstone. It has two mantapas, one open and one closed. The distance between the temple and Hassan city is 41 kilometres.

Important Hoysala Temples


The historical site of Amruthapura is situated in the Chikmagalur district. The location is 70 kilometres from Chikmagalur and 110 kilometres from Hassan.

Magnificent Amruteshwara Temple is Amruthapura's primary draw. Amrutheshwara Dandanayaka (commander), a Hoysala King Veera Ballala II, constructed the temple in 1196.

The temple was constructed with a large open mantapa and is a magnificent example of Hoysala craftsmanship (hall).

The temple still retains its original outer wall with intriguing, evenly spaced circular decorations; it is flanked by palm and coconut crops.

The temple is an ekakuta design because it has a single vimana (shrine), and a closed mantapa (hall) connects it to the main open mantapa.



Javagal is located 20 kilometres from Halebid and 40 kilometres from Hassan city.

Lakshminarasimha Temple is Javagal's top tourist destination. Vira Someshwara constructed the Lakshminarasimha Temple in 1250 AD. It is a prime example of Hoysala architecture from the middle of the 13th century.

The Hoysala temples share a straightforward design with this one.

Only the middle shrine has a superstructure (tower) and a sukhanasi, despite being a trikuta (three shrined) construction (nose or tower over the vestibule).

The three square, equal-sized shrines are united by a shared, enclosed hall (mantapa). The temple has a platform (jagati), which is a characteristic of many Hoysala temples.

Here, the kalasa and the insignia are absent. Later, a metallic pinnacle took the place of the kalasa.


In the Mandya district, there is a little temple village called Hosaholalu. Hosaholalu is situated 59 kilometres from Mysore city and 72 kilometres from Hassan.

The Lakshminarayana temple is Hosaholalu's top tourist destination (Lord Vishnu).

In 1250 AD, Hoysala Empire king Vira Someshwara erected the temple.

The style of the sculptures and architecture, which is nearly comparable to that of that era's Hoysala architecture at Javagal, Nuggehalli, and Somanathapura, has helped archaeologists determine the temple's approximate age.

Only the central shrine of the trikuta vimana (three shrined) temple in question has a tower (superstructure) on top.

The Hoysala invention of a jagati (platform) on which the temple is constructed lifts the entire structure by nearly a metre.

Important Hoysala Temples


Small town Aralaguppe is situated in Tumkur district, 62 kilometres from Tumkur and 80 kilometres from Hassan city.

The temple dedicated to Lord Channakeshava is Aralaguppe's main draw (Vishnu).

Around 1250 A.D., the temple was constructed under the direction of Hoysala Empire ruler Vira Someshwara.

The temple is a straightforward but incredibly well-articulated example of Hoysala architecture.

The plan is 16-star pointed architecturally, with a well-designed shikhara (tower) over the vimana (shrine). However, the kalasa on top is absent. The tower has four layers of square roofs, some of which still have their ornate kalasa, and a topping roof that is likewise 16-star pointed.

The temple is now a protected monument managed by the Archaeological Survey of India's Karnataka state branch.

Posted by V.P.Nimbalkar on 15th Sep 2022