Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala

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Recently,the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, which includes three temples in Karnataka, has been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

About Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala:

  • The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas consist of a collection of Hoysala temples.
  • These are built in the 12th-13th centuries and represented here by the three components of Belur, Halebid and Somnathapura.
  • The three temples include;
    • The Chennakeshava temple: It is the main temple in the complex at Belur (Hassan district), located at the centre of the traditional settlement which is surrounded by the remnants of a mud fort and a moat.
    • The Hoysaleswara Temple: It is on the banks of Dwarasamudra tank in Halebidu (Hassan district), a town which has many protected and unprotected temples, archaeological ruins and mounds.
    • The Keshava Temple: It is at the centre of Somanathapura village (Mysore district).
  • These are primarily dedicated to Hindu deities like Shiva and Vishnu, with some also devoted to the Jain faith.
  • The Hoysala temples have a basic Darvidian 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.
  • Features of the architecture:
    • The Hoysala architects made considered and informed eclectic selections of features from other temple typologies which they further modified and then complemented with their own particular innovations.
    • The Hoysala style was created through a careful selection of contemporary temple features and those from the past to create a different identity from neighboring kingdoms.
    • The shrines are characterized by hyper-real sculptures and stone carvings that cover the entire architectural surface, a circumambulatory platform, a large-scale sculptural gallery, a multi-tiered frieze, and sculptures of the Sala legend. 


Q1) Who are Hoysalas?

The Hoysala dynasty was a medieval Indian dynasty that ruled over the Deccan region of southern India, primarily in the present-day Karnataka state, during the 10th to 14th centuries CE. The Hoysala Empire is known for its significant contributions to South Indian art, architecture, and culture.

Source: Karnataka’s sacred ensembles of Hoysalas inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list