Photograph of sculpture on the west front 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. A typical plan of a temple of the period consists of the sanctuary or vimana attached by an antechamber (antarala) to a hall (mandapa). The Hoysaleshwara, placed on a high platform, is twin-shrined or dvikuta, with each linked shrine preceded by a Nandi pavilion. The sculpture panels in this view represent Vishnu in his avatar as the boar Varaha on the right, and dancing Shiva on the left.