Hoysala Temple Architecture

Hoysala Temple Architecture

News: The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas has been inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.This will be India’s 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What is the Sacred Ensembles of Hoysala?
• The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas is a group of three Hoysala-style temples in South India recognized as a World Heritage Site
• The temples include Chennakeshava Temple (Belur), Hoysaleswara temple (Halebidu) and Keshava temple (Somnathpura).

Key Features of Hoysala Temple architecture:
• Star-Shaped Base - Many Hoysala temples have a star-shaped or stellate (multi-pointed star) base plan, which is a distinctive characteristic of this architectural style.
• Soapstone Construction - Hoysala temples are primarily constructed using soapstone, a soft and easily carved stone that allows for intricate detailing. The temples are often adorned with exquisitely carved friezes, sculptures, and decorative elements.
• Detailed Sculptures - The exterior walls of Hoysala temples are covered with a profusion of sculptures depicting various deities, mythological figures, animals, and scenes from Hindu epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
• Vimana (Tower) - The main tower or vimana of Hoysala temples is typically pyramid-shaped and features multiple tiers. Each tier is adorned with decorative motifs and sculptures. The tower is crowned with a kalasha (a ceremonial pot) and a finial.
• Mandapa (Hall) - Hoysala temples often have large, intricately carved open or closed halls known as mandapas. These halls serve as spaces for religious rituals and gatherings.
• Ornate Doorways - The entrances to Hoysala temples are characterized by elaborately carved doorways with intricate lintels and door frames. These doorways often feature guardian figures and mythological scenes.
• Chalukya Influence - Hoysala architecture was influenced by the earlier Chalukya and Rashtrakuta architectural styles but developed its distinct features over time. It represents a fusion of various regional architectural elements.

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