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Hoysaleswara Temple

Also referred as the Halebidu Temple, the Hoysaleswara Temple is a 12th century Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was built on the banks of the large man-made lake, and is the largest monument in Halebidu. The construction of the temple was started around 1121 CE and was completed in 1160 CE. The Hoysaleswara temple is a twin-temple dedicated to Hoysaleswara and Santaleswara Shiva lingas, named after the masculine and feminine aspects, both equal and joined at their transept. This temple has been listed as a heritage site by the UNESCO.

Temple History
It is believed that the temple derived its name from Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara, the presiding ruler of those times. The temple construction was however initiated and sponsored by the Shaiva citizens of Halebid. At the time of construction, a tough competition was held between the Hoysaleswara Temple and Chennakesava Temple at Belur. The Hoysaleswara Temple suffered loot and raid by the Muslim invaders in the early 14th century, which resulted into reducing the temple to debris, making it fall into the state of neglect.

Temple architecture
With exclusive carvings, the temple has two shrines, one for the king and the other for the queen. The walls of the temple have about thousand figures that depict scenes of Mahabharata and Ramayana. The temple is the perfect reflection of Hoysala architecture and was built in soapstone. The outer walls of this temple have intricate carvings and the temple has been described as an outstanding example of Hindu architecture.

Having four porches for entry, the main shrine of the temple faces towards the east. The temple also boasts of exquisite sculptures and paintings. The entrance of the temple has an image of a dancing Ganesha. There are more than 240 images in the temple and no other temple has these many intricate sculptures.

Garuda Pillar
One of the most popular attractions of the temple is the Garuda Stambha (Pillar). Garudas were known to be the selected bodyguards of the kings and queens. The Garudas used to live and move with the royalty with the sole aim of defending their master. In fact, at the death of their masters, the Garudas committed suicide. The inscription on the pillar commemorates Kuruva Lakshma (bodyguard of Veera Ballala II).



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