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The Hoysala kingdom and consolidated the kingdom between the rivers Tungabhadra and Kaveri

Updated on February 24, 2016

Chalukya monuments


Kalyani Kothi, Chalukyas,


Exploring the temples of the Kalyani


The rule of the Chalukyas of Kalyani

The rule of the Chalukyas of Kalyani was brought to an end by the Hoysalas by the close of the 12th century. The Hoysalas ruled for about 250 years. Dwarasamudra (or modern Halebidu) in Hassan district was their capital. The greatest of the Hoysala rulers were Vishnuvardhana, Ballala II and Narasimha and Ballala III. After the long rule of Ballala III, however, the Hoysala dynasty collapsed.

Vishnuvardhana (C. 1108 – 1141) was the first great of this dynasty. He liberated himself from the Chalukyan overlordship and conquered Talakadu from the Cholas.

ViraballaII (1173 – 1220) expanded the Hoysala kingdom and consolidated the kingdom between the rivers Tungabhadra and Kaveri. He fought against the Yadavas of Devagiri (in Maharashtra) and the Pandyas of Madurai (Tamil Nadu). His successors began to dominate over the Cholas and Pandyas. They even established a separate capital at Kannur to govern their Tamil territory.

Viraballa III (1291 – 1343) was the last of the great Hoysala rulers. During his regin, the Sultan of Delhi repeatedly invaded south India. Malik Kafur, the general of Alauddin Khilji, besieged Dwarasamudra, the Hoysala capital and plundered it. The Pandyas, Kakatiyas and the Yadavas also became victims of the military raids of the general of Alauddin Khilji.

The temples of Belur and Halebid are famous for their architectural beauty and these temples were built during Hoysala period.

Harihara, Janna and Raghavanka were some of the well known poets who enriched the Hoysala literature. Vishnuvardhana was the greatest ruler of this dynasty. Dwarasamudra (modern Halebid) was his capital.

Hoysala temple is built of schist (stone)




Typical Hoysala temple is built of schist (stone)

Hoysalas made rich contributions to religion, literature and arts

The Hoysalas made rich contributions to religion, literature and arts. They also built large number of temples and tanks.

The Hoysala were tolerant towards all sects and religions. Under the early Hoysala, Jainism received special attention Dwarasamudra, the capital city, and Shravana Belagola as well as its neighbourhood, became great centres of Jainism. Many of feudatories and officers of the early Hoysala were Jains. The most notable among them were two generals, Gangaraja and Hullaraja. By about the 13 th century, the patronage to Jainism decreased.

During the time of Vishnuvardhana, a new sect of Vaishnavism, called Srivaishnavism, became popular in the Hoysala Kingdom. Vishnuvardhana built couple of temples for Vishnu at Beluru and Talakadu and helped Srivaishnavism root itself in his kingdom. Many more Vishnu temples were built in the Hoysala kingdom later. Nearly all of them were works of great artistic beauty.

Shaivism maintained its predominant position throughout the Hoysala period. The Hoysaleswara temple at Halebid was the largest and the most beautifully decorated of the Shiva temples built in Karnataka.

Kannada literature was considerably enriched by the Hoysala. Kaveri Chakravarti Janna, the author of Yashdaracharite. Harihara, who composed Girija Kalyana, Raghavanka, who composed Harishchandra Kavya, were some of the well – known poets of this period.

The Hoysalas further developed the Chalukyan architecture and gave it a new form. In the beginning, they invited Chalukyan artists to build temples in their capital cities, but later mastered this art and made use of it effectively. They built a very large number of temples in the Kaveri – Tungabhadra region. The finest of them are located at Belur, Halebidu and Somanathapura.

Typical Hoysala temple is built of schist (stone). It stands on a platform. Its outer walls are fully carved. Round or star – shaped pillars are found in the hall. The towers are small but beautiful. Most temples exhibit the image of Sala (the legendary founder of the Hoysala dynasty) fighting against a tiger. This is the crest (Emblem) of the Hoysalas. Some temples have the images of Salabhanjika (Shilabalika). The best of them are found in the Chennakesava temple at Belur. Locally they are called Madanikas.


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    • 10000001 profile image

      madugundu krishna 2 years ago from Yemmiganur

      thanks for the comment

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      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Interesting snippet from Indian history