Hoysala Temples in 19th century

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The Hoysala Empire was a prominent South Indian Kannadiga empire that ruled most of the modern day state of Karnataka between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was later moved to Halebidu.

The Hoysala rulers were originally hill people of Malnad Karnataka, an elevated region in the Western Ghats range. In the 12th century, taking advantage of the internecine warfare between the then ruling Western Chalukyas and Kalachuri kingdoms, they annexed areas of present day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri River delta in present day Tamil Nadu. By the 13th century, they governed most of present-day Karnataka, parts of Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andhra Pradesh in Deccan India.

The Hoysala era was an important period in the development of art, architecture, and religion in South India. The empire is remembered today primarily for its temple architecture. Over a hundred surviving temples are scattered across Karnataka, including the well known Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura.

Belur temple gopuram, in 1895 – in 2009…

119423D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

Somanathpur temple, in 1865 – in 2009…

119425D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

Somanathpur temple, in 1865 – in 2009…

119426D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

Somanathpur temple, in 1865 – in 2009…

119428D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

Belur, in 1865 – in 2009…

119427D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

Halebid temple, in 1856 – in 2009…

119429D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

Halebid temple, in 1868 – in 2009…

119424D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

Halebid temple, in 1865 – in 2009…

119430D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

Halebid temple, in 1856 – in 2009…

119431D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

* Old pics courtesy British Library – ASI.

The Belur Temple originally had a gopurum on top, which collapsed / was taken down sometime later. The small ‘add-on’ shrine (seen in the center of the old photo) + the steps (in front of the add-on shrine) which were attached to the temple by someone after the Hoysala period were also taken out during some renovation exercise…

119437D1 - Hoysala Temples in 19th century

 

The Hoysala rulers also patronized the fine arts, encouraging literature to flourish in Kannada and Sanskrit. More than a 1000 temples were probably built during the Hoysala period. However only a few have survived relatively intact to this day. Some were just abandoned and disintegrated over the centuries; some were renovated and rebuilt to an extent that they no longer resemble their original design


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