Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple
Hoysaleswara Temple Construction of the Hoysaleswara Temple, dedicated to Lord Siva, was begun in the mid-12th century. It is covered with intricately carved sculptures. Even after 87 years of building, it was never completed because Halebid was sacked by the Delhi Sultanate.
This star-shaped temple is actually a pair of two identical temples with separate sanctuaries (altars) and mandapams (halls) next to each other. One of the temples has active worship and the other does not. There are also two Nandi Bulls. One of them is 5m (16 ft) long and is said to be the seventh largest in India.
There are about 20,000 sculptures on this temple. There are six rows of carvings around the base of the temple: elephants, lions, horsemen, scrolls, scenes from the Puranas, and geese. The base of the temple has the emblem of lions and elephants carved around it, seemingly supporting the temple and signifying stability.
There are 1,200 elephants carved on the outer walls, none alike. The upper parts of the temple’s exterior have carvings of gods and goddesses. There are also carvings depicting Lord Siva’s pastimes. There are also carvings of Lord Krishna and Vishnu on the temple and scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, carved in intricate detail. There is an interesting carving of Lord Narayana in the back right corner. Krishna is seen lifting Govardhan Hill and Rama is seen defeating Ravana. There is a carving of Chamundi killing Mahishasura, the buffalo demon, and an excellent carving of Ravana lifting Kailash, Lord Siva’s abode.