Hullabeed. The Great Temple. South-east angle. [Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebid.]
Photographer: Pigou, William Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph with a view from a south-east angle of the Hoysaleshwara Temple at Halebid in Karnataka, taken by William Henry Pigou in c. 1855, from 'Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore'. Halebid (ancient Dwarasamudra), a small town in the Hassan district, was once the capital of the Hoysala dynasty of the southern Deccan which flourished from the 12th to the 14th century. Invasions by armies of the Delhi Sultanate led to its decline by the mid-14th century. The Hoysalas were prolific temple builders and the site is renowned for the remnants of architecture and sculpture fashioned out of the chloritic schist in the region. The most famous monument here is the Hoysaleshwara temple dedicated to Shiva as Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer, which was built for Ketamalla, an official of Vishnuvardhana (ruled c. 1108-42). It is an exemplar of the lavish Hoysala style and is encrusted with continuous bands of sculpture, unsurpassed in its detail and vibrancy. The temple, placed on a high platform, is twin-shrined or dvikuta, with each linked shrine preceded by a Nandi pavilion. Each of the twin temples has a sanctuary and an attached pillared mandapa or hall, and has miniature detached shrines near the entrances. Perforated stone screens or jalis are inserted between the lathe-turned columns of the mandapas.