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Unidentified small shrine at Halebid.

Unidentified small shrine at Halebid.

Photographer: Oakeley, Richard Banner

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1856

Shelfmark: Photo 959/(20)

Item number: 95920

Genre: Photograph

An albumen print by Richard Banner Oakeley of a free-standing miniature shrine at Halebid in Karnataka. 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 about 1100-1350 AD. Invasions by the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century led to its decline. The Hoysalas were avid 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 twelfth-century Hoysaleswara temple dedicated to Shiva, which was built for an official of Vishnuvardhana (reigned 1108-1142). It is an example of the lavish Hoysala style and is encrusted with continuous bands of sculpture, unsurpassed in its detail and vibrancy. Oakeley, of whom we know little, travelled through Madras during 1856 and gave a brief account of his journey in the preface to his work. He described this scene, 'A beautiful little temple, greatly ruined; situated on the west of the main Temple. Vast masses of masonry, and huge blocks, richly carved, surround it'.

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