Views in Mysore. Ruined temple of Hallabeed [Hoysalesvara Temple, Halebid]. S.W. face
Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Halebid is a site in the Hassan district of Karnataka, once famous as Dwarasamudra, the capital of the Hoysalas, from the 12th to the 14th centuries. The Hoysaleshvara temple in Halebid dates from the mid-12th century and represents the apogee of the Hoysala style of architecture, richly decorated with finely wrought carving in the grey-green chloritic schist of the region. The temple was sacred to Shiva and consists of twin structures that are linked and form a complex with two sanctuaries and two pillared halls or mandapas built on a stepped plan. Lyon's 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, gives the following description of this photograph: '[which] is a view of the base of the southern Vimana [tower], with the lower part of that in the re-entering angle, between it and the porch. In the centre of both these great Vimanas, is an apartment or sanctuary, in which lingams were placed, lighted by the windows shown in the view. Under these windows, is the spout, which carried off the oil and water with which the Brahmins daily anointed the sacred emblem of Shiva. Mr. Fergusson in describing this side, writes as follows: - 'In place of the windows of the east face, there is first a scroll, and then a frieze of gods and heavenly apsaras, dancing-girls, and other objects of Hindu mythology. This frieze, which is about five feet six inches in height, is continued all round the western front of the building, and extends to some 400 feet in length. Shiva, with his consort Parvati seated on his knee, is repeated at least fourteen times; Vishnu, in his nine Avatars, even oftener; Brahma occurs three or four times, and every god of the Hindu Pantheon finds his place. Some of these are carved with a minute elaboration of detail, and the whole may probably be considered, as the most marvellous exhibition of patient human labour that the world ever produced'.