Temple: Hoysaleswara Temple
Hoysaleswara Temple – Overview
The Hoysaleswara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is the destroyer of the Universe as per Hinduism. This temple was built during the 12th century and the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana built it. During the 14th century the Muslims invaded Halebidu and looted its riches and wealth. The temple was razed and neglected by the rulers. Hoysaleswara was also referred to as Dwarasamudra or Dorasamudra. The distance from Belur to Halebidu is about 16 kilometres; Hassan to Halebidu is about 31 kilometres.
Hoysaleswara Temple – History
The Shiva and Parvathi temple was built by King Vishnuvardhana. It was the Shaivas who contributed money and wealth for building this beautiful temple. During this time, the Chennakesava temple which was a Vaishnava temple was being built. The building of the Hoysaleshwara temple was carried out as a competition to the Chennakesava temple. The temple has a very big tank which was built during the 11th century. The water to this tank is supplied from the Yagachi River.
Hoysaleswara Temple – Architecture
The beautiful Hoysaleswara temple is a stunning masterpiece with exclusive carvings. There are more than a thousand figures all along the walls of the temple. You can see scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana on the walls of these temples. The Hoysaleswara temple was built as a mark of respect to Shantaleshwara, (the queen of Vishnuvardhana) and Hoysaleswara. The temple has been built in soapstone. The architecture reflects the beautiful paintings during the Hoysalas’ rule. The shrines face eastwards. The temple walls have intricate stone sculptures which give the temple a different look. The Hoysala architecture is fine and this is clearly visible in the paintings spread around the temple.
The two shrined Hoysaleswara temple has a Shiva linga. Nandi, the attendant of Shiva is worshipped here. At the entrance, you can find the dancing Ganesha. There are close to 240 sculpturally articulate images. The doorways of the temple (both the eastern doorway and the southern doorway) have these exclusive sculptures. The sculptures also depict charging elephants which are symbolic of stability and strength. There are lions that are depicted in the sculptures that symbolise courage and strength. The Hindu epics have been beautifully depicted in the stone sculptures and are worth seeing. The Hoysaleswara temple has been listed by UNESCO as a heritage site. Other Hoysala temples of Somnathpur and Belur have also been awarded this honour.
How to Get to Hoysaleswara temple
The temple is about half a kilometre from the bus station of Halebid. You can even come to Hassan and then come to Hoysaleswara temple. There are State Road Transport Corporation buses that ply between Hassan and Halebid. There is no airport at Hassan but there are many trains that ply between Mysore, Bangalore and Hassan.
One can make flight bookings up to Bangalore or Mysore and then take a bus or a train to Halebid or Hassan. Shivratri is an ideal time to visit this temple.