Hoysala star temples


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January 24th 2016
Published: January 25th 2016
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The Hoysala temples are star shaped and they have star quality carvings. Our first visit today had some connections with the Hoysala, but it is now a Jain temple. On the way we passed a large sugar cane factory. Most of the sugar cane is still taken to the factory by bullock carts. Outside the factory were lines of bullock carts and on the road there were more all heading to the factory.

Shravengabola is a Jain village. It is named after an ancient pond. On either side of the pond are hills, each with a Jain temple. We climbed the 650 or so stone steps up the tallest hill. At the top is a a granite simple temple with a huge granite statue.

After a lunch break at the hotel in Hassan we drove to Belur. This is a Hoysala temple, again in the shape of a star. It is particularly known for the sculptures of dancing girls that are in the place of brackets for the roof, one is shown in the photo. The temples are carved from soapstone. This is an easy material for carving and detailed filigree work is possible. Inside the temple are more dancing figures. The carving on these figures is so detailed that there are moveable parts, e.g. Bangles that move. One of the pillars inside used to rotate, but no longer does so. This pillar has mini representations of the carvings on the main temple, so small they are not easy to see. This would be a good place to inspire an artist.

Thelast temple was at Halebid. This is the largest Hoysala temple. A few sections of the carving were not completed. This means that you can see on the temple the process of carving from sketch, to rough outline to detailed work. The evening light was particularly good on one side of the temple. This temple is two temples combined, each has a sanctum sanctorum. On the side of the temple the sculpture is in horizontal Lines with elephants at the bottom, horses, scroll work, scenes from the Hindu stories, mythical beasts called makras and swans. An elegant nandi for each of the two temples is on the left hand side. Again this temple has fine filigree sculpture work and it is kept in good condition.

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