Halebid, Hoysaleswara Temple, Karnataka • India

Discover the breathtaking Hoysaleswara Temple and its magnificent carvings, a true masterpiece of the Hoysala dynasty. This video, just over 7 minutes long, will take you on a journey through history and culture in the town of Halebid, Karnataka, India. With expert historical explanations included on the page, you'll gain a deep understanding of the rich and complex world behind these awe-inspiring works of art. Don't miss out on the chance to witness the beauty and wonder of the Hoysaleswara Temple - watch the video today!

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Unknown India • Ladakh, Karnataka, Telangana in 2022

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Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebid


The Hoysaleswara temple in Halebid was built during the reign of King Hoysala Vishnuvardhana. Construction of the temple began around 1121 and lasted for several decades. Some sources suggest that the construction of the temple was never fully completed due to the invasions and political instabilities that took place during this period. Nevertheless, the Hoysaleswara temple is an outstanding example of Hoysala architecture and art and bears witness to the golden age of this dynasty. 

The Hoysaleswara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is famous for its intricate carvings and detailed bas-reliefs which depict scenes from Hindu mythology, the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, as well as depictions of daily life of the time . 


Halebid's Hoysaleswara Temple is an excellent example of Hoysala architecture and has several distinctive features: 


Star plan 

The temple is built on a star plan, typical of Hoysala architecture. This design makes it possible to create several angles and nooks that provide more space for carvings and bas-reliefs. 

Raised platform 

The temple is built on a raised platform called "jagati", which serves as both a foundation and a processional for the devotees who go around the temple. 

Two shrines 

The Hoysaleswara temple comprises two shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, called Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara, in honor of King Vishnuvardhana and his consort, Queen Shantala Devi. Each shrine houses a lingam, a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva. 

Prayer rooms and pavilions 

The temple complex also includes prayer halls (mandapas) and pavilions (mantapas) for religious rituals and ceremonies. 

Sculptures and bas-reliefs 

One of the most remarkable features of the Hoysaleswara Temple is the richness and intricacy of its carvings and bas-reliefs. They depict scenes from Hindu mythology, Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, deities, animals, musicians, dancers, and scenes from everyday life. The sculptures are famous for their finesse, detail and realism. 

Frieze of elephants 

A continuous frieze of elephants, a symbol of strength and stability, runs around the base of the temple. Elephants are depicted in various poses and activities, reflecting the skill of carvers in the Hoysala era. 

building material 

The temple is primarily constructed of chlorite schist, a local stone that is both tough and malleable, allowing artists to create detailed carvings and reliefs. 

These features, among others, make Hoysaleswara Temple a masterpiece of Hoysala architecture and art, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Halebid, second capital of the Hoysalas 


Halebid succeeded Belur as the capital of the Hoysala Empire, in what is now the state of Karnataka in southern India. 

After the destruction of Belur in 1311 by the armies of the Delhi Sultanate led by Malik Kafur, the Hoysalas moved their capital to Halebid. Despite the difficulties and challenges posed by the invasion, life in Halebid continued and the town was rebuilt and developed. 


Reconstruction and development 

The Hoysalas invested in the reconstruction and development of Halebid as a new capital. Temples, palaces and infrastructure were built to support the growing population and to replace lost structures in Belur. 

Art and architecture 

The period after the destruction of Belur was also marked by significant artistic and architectural production in Halebid. The temples of Halebid, like the temple of Hoysaleswara, are a testimony to this. Hoysala architecture, characterized by intricate carvings and detailed bas-reliefs, continued to thrive in Halebid. 


Halebid's economy continued to grow despite the invasions. Commerce and agriculture have sustained the city, making it an important economic center of the region. The wealth and prosperity of the city is reflected in the magnificent temples and buildings that were built during this period. 


Halebid remained an important cultural and educational center during this period, with schools and centers of learning for the study of religious texts, philosophy, literature and science. 


The Hoysalas were forced to strengthen their defenses to protect Halebid against possible further invasions. The fortifications were improved, and the army was reinforced to protect the capital. 

Despite external challenges and threats, life in Halebid after the destruction of Belur has been characterized by resilience, growth and prosperity. The city continued to prosper as a cultural, economic and political center until its final decline in the mid-14th century, when the kingdom of Hoysalas was conquered by the armies of the Delhi Sultanate. 


the Hoysala empire 


The kingdom of Hoysalas was founded in the 10th century in the Karnataka region of southern India. Their history can be divided into three main periods: founding and rise, heyday and decline. 


Foundation and rise 

The Hoysalas dynasty originated from the Malenadu hills region in Western Karnataka. The founder of the dynasty, Sala, is said to have fought and killed a tiger to save a sage, hence the name "Hoysala", which means "to kill the tiger" (hoy in old Kannada means "to kill" and sala is the name of the founder). Their first capital was Belur, founded by Bittideva, also known as Vishnuvardhana, who reigned from 1108 to 1152. Under his rule, the kingdom of Hoysalas expanded and became more powerful, including winning victories over the Cholas and the Western Chalukyas. 


The height of the kingdom of Hoysalas took place during the 12th and 13th centuries, during the reigns of Veera Ballala II (1173-1220) and Vira Narasimha II (1220-1235). They developed a distinctive architecture and art, known as Hoysala architecture. Many magnificent temples were built including the temples of Belur and Halebid. The kingdom was prosperous and wealthy through trade and agriculture. 


The decline of the Hoysala kingdom began in the early 14th century, with the invasions of the Delhi Sultanate led by Alâ ud-Dîn Khaljî and his successors. In 1311, the army of Malik Kafur, a general from the Delhi Sultanate, attacked and destroyed Belur, forcing the Hoysalas to move their capital to Halebid. Despite their resistance, the kingdom of the Hoysalas was finally conquered by the armies of the Delhi Sultanate in 1343, marking the end of their rule and the beginning of Halebid's decline. 

After the decline of the Hoysalas, the region was ruled by various dynasties including the Vijayanagara, Sultanates of Deccan, Nayakas of Keladi and finally the British during colonization. Today, Halebid is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and bears witness to the history and culture of the Hoysala era.

What's the weather like in Halebid?

Links to related pages

• Main dynasties that ruled the region •

• Monuments •

Halebid • Karnataka, Hoysaleswara Temple - 12th-century Masterpiece

about the place, Halebid:

Halebid, also known as Halebidu, is a city located in the state of Karnataka, India. It has a rich history as the capital of the Hoysala kingdom, which flourished between the 10th and 14th centuries. Halebid is most famous for its intricate temples and carvings, most notably the Hoysaleswara Temple.


Spoken comments in the film: 

After the destruction of Belur, the first capital of the Hoysala empire, in the 12th century by the sultanate of Delhi, the emperor decided to move the court and the administration to Halebid which thus became the new capital of the empire. This capital needed a temple worthy of its rank, and this is how this magnificent Hoysaleswara temple was built in Halebid, Karnataka in southern India.


The temple dedicated to Shiva is actually made up of two complementary temples, the Hoysaleshwara temple and the Sri Shantaleshwara. A small temple which is also in this complex is dedicated to Nandi, the sacred cow serving as a vehicle for Shiva.


The columns of the temple of Halebid are remarkable works of art. If those inside the temple are used to support the building, those outside have rather a decorative function. This explains why the interior columns are less finely carved, presenting instead intricate fluting patterns, while the exterior ones are very finely ornamented with animals and mythological scenes.


If we remember that this temple dates from the 12th century, we can only be captivated by the technical quality of this pure marvel. Not only are the columns and the walls decorated with very finely carved elements, but the ceilings are also remarkable. Floral motifs and scenes from Hindu mythology adorn these star-shaped ceilings, characteristic of this temple.


The facades of the temple are impressive. The temples are built on a star plan, characteristic of Hoysala architecture, which gives a rhythmic aspect to its facades. How not to be amazed by the incredible work of sculpture and the complexity of the patterns adorning these facades. These motifs represent animals, scenes from mythology or from the life of gods, which are sometimes a little ... naughty.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of indian traditional music in "Halebid, Hoysaleswara Temple, Karnataka • India", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

the Hoysaleswara temple, Halebid, Karnataka • India
magnificent statue inside the Hoyaleswara temple, Halebid • India • Karnataka

magnificent statue inside the Hoyaleswara temple

exterior view of Hoyaleswara temple, Halebid • India • Karnataka

exterior view of Hoyaleswara temple

Nandi bull, mount of Shiva, Halebid • India • Karnataka

Nandi bull, mount of Shiva

frieze on the outer walls of the temple, Halebid • India • Karnataka

frieze on the outer walls of the temple

Halebid, Karnataka • India

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