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Hullabeed. The Great Temple. Sculptures from the west front. [Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebid.]

Hullabeed. The Great Temple. Sculptures from the west front. [Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebid.]

Photographer: Pigou, William Henry

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1856

Shelfmark: Photo 965/1(26)

Item number: 965126

Genre: Photograph

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 Garuda, (the vahana or vehicle of Vishnu), supporting Vishnu and Lakshmi on the left, and on the right Indra on his elephant, bearing a thunder bolt and accompanied by his wife Indrani.

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