Hoysala Empire

Hoysala Empire

Infobox Former Country
native_name = ಹೊಯ್ಸಳ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯ
conventional_long_name = Hoysala Empire
common_name = Hoysala Empire|
continent = moved from Category:Asia to South Asia
region = South Asia
country = India
status = Empire
status_text = Empire (Subordinate to Western Chalukyas until 1187)
government_type = Monarchy|
year_start = 1026
year_end = 1343|
event_pre = Earliest Hoysala records
date_pre = 950
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event1 =
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event2 =
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p1 = Western Chalukyas
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image_p1 =
s1 = Vijayanagara Empire
flag_s1 =
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image_map_caption = Extent of Hoysala Empire, 1200 CE|
capital = Belur, Halebidu|
national_motto =
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common_languages = Kannada
religion = Hindu
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leader1 = Nripa Kama II
leader2 = Veera Ballala III
leader3 =
leader4 =
year_leader1 = 1026 – 1047
year_leader2 = 1292 – 1343
year_leader3 =
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title_leader = King
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The Hoysala Empire (Kannada: ಹೊಯ್ಸಳ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯ) (: Audio-IPA|Hoysala_Empire.ogg| [hojsəɭə saːmraːdʒjə] in Kannada) was a prominent South Indian Kannadiga empire that ruled most of the modern day state of Karnataka between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was later moved to Halebidu.

The Hoysala rulers were originally hill people of Malnad Karnataka, an elevated region in the Western Ghats range. In the 12th century, taking advantage of the internecine warfare between the then ruling Western Chalukyas and Kalachuri kingdoms, they annexed areas of present day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri River delta in present day Tamil Nadu. By the 13th century, they governed most of present-day Karnataka, parts of Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andhra Pradesh in Deccan India.

The Hoysala era was an important period in the development of art, architecture, and religion in South India. The empire is remembered today primarily for its temple architecture. Over a hundred surviving temples are scattered across Karnataka, including the well known Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura. The Hoysala rulers also patronised the fine arts, encouraging literature to flourish in Kannada and Sanskrit.


Kannada folklore tells of a young man, Sala, who was instructed by his Jain guru Sudatta to strike dead a tiger he encountered near the temple of the Goddess Vasantika at Sosevur. The word "strike" literally translates to "hoy" in Hale Kannada (Old Kannada), hence the name "Hoy-sala". This legend first appeared in the Belur inscription of Vishnuvardhana (1117), but owing to several inconsistencies in the Sala story it remains in the realm of folklore.Historians feel that Sala was a mythical founder of the empire (Kamath 2001, p123)] Derrett in Chopra, Ravindran and Subrahmanian (2003), p150 Part 1] The legend may have come into existence or gained popularity after King Vishnuvardhana's victory over the Cholas at Talakad as the Hoysala emblem depicts the fight between the mythical Sala and a tiger, the emblem of the Cholas.The myth and the emblem was a creation of King Vishnuvardhana. Another opinion is the emblem symbolically narrates the wars between the early Hoysala chieftains and the Cholas, (Settar in Kamath 2001, p123)]

Early inscriptions, dated 1078 and 1090, have implied that the Hoysalas were descendants of the Yadava by referring to the Yadava "vamsa" (clan) as Hoysala "vamsa". But there are no early records directly linking the Hoysalas to the Yadavas of North India.Quote:"There was not even a tradition to back such poetic fancy"(William Coelho of "Hoysala Vamsa" - 1950 in Kamath). Quote:"All royal families in South India in the 10th and 11th century deviced puranic genealogies" (Kamath 2001, p122)] Quote:"There was a craze among the rulers of the south at this time (11th century) to connect their families with dynasties from the north" (Moraes 1931, p10–11)]

Historians refer to the founders of the dynasty as natives of Malnad Karnataka, based on numerous inscriptions calling them "Maleparolganda" or "Lord of the Male (hills) chiefs" ("Malepas").Rice B.L. et al. ("Mysore and Coorg from Inscriptions"- 1909) in Kamath (2001), p123] Quote:"A purely Karnataka dynasty" (Moraes 1931, p10)] Keay (2000), p251] Thapar (2003), p367] Stien (1989), p16] Rice, B.L. (1897), p335] Natives of south Karnataka (Chopra 2003, p150 Part 1)] This title in the Kannada language was proudly used by the Hoysala kings as their royal signature in their inscriptions. Literary sources from that time in Kannada ("Jatakatilaka") and Sanskrit ("Gadyakarnamrita") have also helped confirm they were natives of the region known today as Karnataka.The Hoysalas originated from Sosevuru, identified as modern Angadi in Mudigere taluk (Kamath 2001, p123)] An indigenous ruling family of Karnataka from Sosevuru (modern Angadi) (Ayyar 1993, p600)] The first Hoysala family record is dated 950 and names Arekalla as the chieftain, followed by Maruga and Nripa Kama I (976). The next ruler, Munda (1006–1026), was succeeded by Nripa Kama II who held such titles as "Permanadi" that show an early alliance with the Western Ganga dynasty.Seetharam Jagirdhar, M.N. Prabhakar, B.S. Krishnaswamy Iyengar in Kamath (2001), p123] From these modest beginnings, the Hoysala dynasty began its transformation into a strong subordinate of the Western Chalukyas.During the rule of Vinyaditya (1047–1098), the Hoysalas established themselves as a powerful feudatory (Chopra 2003, p151, part 1)] Through Vishnuvardhana's expansive military conquests, the Hoysalas achieved the status of a real kingdom for the first time. King Vishnuvardhana made many military conquests later to be further expanded by his successors into one of the most powerful empires of South India (Coelho in Kamath, p124). The true maker of the Hoysala kingdom as this was a period of significant religious and cultural activity (B.S.K. Iyengar in Kamath p126). Vishnuvardhana was practically an independent king by the latter part of his rule, (P.B. Desai in Kamath 2001, p126)] He wrested Gangavadi from the Cholas in 1116 and moved the capital from Belur to Halebidu.The Kadambas of Banavasi, Nolambas, Pandyas of Uchchangi, Alupas of Canara paid king Vishnuvardhana tribute. The territories of Talakad and Nilgiris came under his control (Chopra 2003, p152–153, part 1)]

Vishnuvardhana's ambition of creating an independent empire was fulfilled by his grandson Veera Ballala II, who freed the Hoysalas from subordination in 1187.Coelho in Kamath (2001), p126] The consolidator of Vishnuvardhana's conquests and the founder of Hoysasla imperialism (Chopra 2003, p154, part1)] Thus the Hoysalas began as subordinates of the Western Chalukyas and gradually established their own empire in Karnataka with such strong Hoysala kings as Vishnuvardhana, Veera Ballala II and later Veera Ballala III. During this time, peninsular India saw a four way struggle for hegemony - Pandya, Kakatiya and Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri being the other kingdoms. Their mutual competition and antagonisms were the main feature during this period (Sastri 1955, p192)] Veera Ballala II defeated the aggressive Pandya when they invaded the Chola kingdom and assumed the title "Establisher of the Chola Kingdom" ("Cholarajyapratishtacharya"), "Emperor of the south" ("Dakshina Chakravarthi") and "Hoysala emperor" ("Hoysala Chakravarthi").The most outstanding of all the Hoysala kings (Derrett in Kamath 2001, p126)] He founded the city of Bangalore according to Kannada folklore.B.S.K. Iyengar in Kamath (2001), p128] Keay (2000), p252] Vira Narasimha II rescued the Cholas from Pandya aggression, levied tribute on the Pandays and earned the title "refounder of the Chola Kingdom" (Chopra 2003, p155, part 1)] . Vira Narasimha II's son Vira Someshwara earned the honorific "uncle" ("Mamadi") from the Pandyas and Cholas. The Hoysala influence spread over Pandya kingdom also. [Sastri (1955), p195] Toward the end of 13th century, Veera Ballala III recaptured territory lost to the Pandya uprising and expanded his kingdom to encompass all areas south of the Krishna River.Thapar (2003), p368] The two branches of the Hoysala kingdom, whose capitals were Halebidu and Kannanur (near Srirangam) was merged by Veera Ballala III (Chopra 2003, p156, part 1)]

Major political changes were taking place in the Deccan region in the early 14th century when significant areas of northern India were under Muslim rule. Alla-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, was determined to bring isolated South India under his domain and sent his commander, Malik Kafur, on a southern expedition to plunder the Seuna capital Devagiri in 1311.Sastri (1955), pp206–208] The Seuna empire was subjugated by 1318 and the Hoysala capital Halebidu (also called Dorasamudra or Dwarasamudra) was sacked twice, in 1311 and 1327.Kamath (2001), p129]

By 1336, the Sultan had conquered the Pandyas of Madurai, the Kakatiyas of Warangal and the tiny kingdom of Kampili. The Hoysalas were the only remaining Hindu empire who resisted the invading armies.Sastri (1955), pp212–214] Veera Ballala III stationed himself at Tiruvannamalai and offered stiff resistance to invasions from the north and the Sultanate of Madurai to the south.Quote:"The greatest hero in the dark political atmosphere of the south" (Kamath 2001, p130)] Then, after nearly two decades of resistance, Veera Ballala III was killed at the battle of Madurai in 1343 and the sovereign territories of the Hoysala empire were merged with the areas administered by Harihara I in the Tungabhadra region.Chopra (2003), p156, part 1] While many theories exist about the origin of Harihara I and his brothers, collectively known as the Sangama brothers, it is well accepted that they administered the northern territories of the Hoysala empire in the 1336–1343 time either as Hoysala commanders or with autonomous powers (Kamath 2001, pp159–160)] This new Hindu kingdom resisted the northern invasions and would later prosper and come to be known as the Vijayanagara Empire.A collaboration between the waning Hoysala kingdom and the emerging Hindu Vijayanagara empire is proven by inscriptions. The queen of Veera Ballala III, Krishnayitayi, made a grant to the Sringeri monastery on the same day as the founder of the Vijayanagara empire, Harihara I in 1346. The Sringeri monastic order was patronised by both Hoysala and Vijayanagara empires (Kamath 2001, p161)]


The Hoysala administration supported itself through revenues from an agrarian economy.Kamath (2001), p132] The kings gave grants of land as rewards for service to beneficiaries who then became landlords to tenants producing agricultural goods and forest products. There were two types of landlords ("gavunda"); "gavunda" of people ("praja gavunda") was lower in status than the wealthy lord of "gavundas" ("prabhu gavunda").Thapar (2003), p378] The highlands ("malnad" regions) with its temperate climate was suitable for raising cattle and the planting of orchards and spices. Paddy and corn were staple crops in the tropical plains ("Bailnad"). The Hoysalas collected taxes on irrigation systems including tanks, reservoirs with sluices, canals and wells which were built and maintained at the expense of local villagers. Irrigation tanks such as "Vishnusagara", "Shantisagara", "Ballalarayasagara" were created at the expense of the state.Kamath (2001), p132]

Importing horses for use as general transportation and in army cavalries of Indian kingdoms was a flourishing business on the western seaboard.Marco Polo who claims to have travelled in India at this time wrote of a monopoly in horse trading by the Arabs and merchants of South India. Imported horses became an expensive commodity because horse breeding was never successful in India, perhaps due to the different climatic, soil and pastoral conditions (Thapar 2003, p383)] The forests were harvested for rich woods such as teak which was exported through ports located in the area of present day Kerela. Sung dynasty records from China mention the presence of Indian merchants in ports of South China, indicating active trade with overseas kingdoms.Thapar (2003), p382] South India exported textiles, spices, medicinal plants, precious stones, pottery, salt made from salt pans, jewels, gold, ivory, rhino horn, ebony, aloe wood, perfumes, sandalwood, camphor and condiments to China, Dhofar, Aden, and Siraf (the entryport to Egypt, Arabia and Persia).Thapar (2003), p383] Architects ("Vishwakarmas"), sculptors, quarry workers, goldsmiths and other skilled craftsmen whose trade directly or indirectly related to temple construction were also prosperous due to the vigorous temple building activities. Some 1500 monuments were built during these times in about 950 locations- cite web|title=Hoysala Heritage|url=http://www.flonnet.com/fl2008/stories/20030425000206700.htm|author=S. Settar|publisher=Frontline, From the publishers of the Hindu|work=Frontline, Volume 20 - Issue 08, April 12–25, 2003|accessdate=2006-11-17] More than 1000 monuments built by the Hoysalas creating employment for people of numerous guilds and backgrounds (Kamath 2001, p132)]

The village assembly was responsible for collecting government land taxes. Land revenue was called "Siddhaya" and included the original assessment ("Kula") plus various cesses.Kamath (2001), p132] Taxes were levied on professions, marriages, goods in transit on chariots or carriages, and domesticated animals. Taxes on commodities (gold, precious stones, perfumes, sandalwood, ropes, yarn, housing, hearths, shops, cattle pans, sugarcane presses) as well as produce (black pepper, betel leaves, ghee, paddy, spices, palm leaves, coconuts, sugar) are noted in village records.Thapar (2003), p382] The village assembly could levy a tax for a specific purpose such as construction of a water tank.


In its administrative practices, the Hoysala Empire followed some of the well-established and proven methods of its predecessors covering administrative functions such as cabinet organisation and command, the structure of local governing bodies and the division of territory.Kamath (2001), p130–131] Records show the names of many high ranking positions reporting directly to the king. Senior ministers were called "Pancha Pradhanas", ministers responsible for foreign affairs were designated "Sandhivigrahi" and the chief treasurer was "Mahabhandari" or "Hiranyabhandari". "Dandanayakas" were in charge of armies and the chief justice of the Hoysala court was the "Dharmadhikari".

The kingdom was divided into provinces named "Nadu", "Vishaya", "Kampana" and "Desha", listed in descending order of geographical size.It is not clear which among "Vishaya" and "Nadu" was bigger in area and that a "Nadu" was under the supervision of the commander ("Dandanayaka") (Barrett in Kamath 2001, pp 130–31)] Each province had a local governing body consisting of a minister ("Mahapradhana") and a treasurer ("Bhandari") that reported to the ruler of that province ("Dandanayaka"). Under this local ruler were officials called "Heggaddes" and "Gavundas" who hired and supervised the local farmers and labourers recruited to till the land. Subordinate ruling clans such as Alupas continued to govern their respective territories while following the policies set by the empire.Kamath (2001), p131]

An elite and well trained force of bodyguards known as "Garudas" protected the members of the royal family at all times. These servants moved closely yet inconspicuously by the side of their master, their loyalty being so complete that they committed suicide after his death.Shadow like, they moved closely with the king, lived near him and disappeared upon the death of their master - cite web|title=Hoysala Heritage|url=http://www.flonnet.com/fl2008/stories/20030425000206700.htm|author=S. Settar|publisher=Frontline, From the publishers of the Hindu|work=Frontline, Volume 20 - Issue 08, April 12–25, 2003|accessdate=2006-11-17] Hero stones ("virgal") erected in memory of these bodyguards are called Garuda pillars. The Garuda pillar at the Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu was erected in honor of Kuvara Lakshma, a minister and bodyguard of King Veera Ballala II.

King Vishnuvardhana's coins had the legends "victor at Nolambavadi" ("Nolambavadigonda"), "victor at Talakad" ("Talakadugonda"), "chief of the Malepas" ("Maleparolganda"), "Brave of Malepa" ("malapavira") in Hoysala style Kannada script.Many Coins with Kannada legends have been discovered from the rule of the Hoysalas (Kamath 2001, p12, p125)] cite web|title=Indian coins-Dynasties of South-Hoysalas|url=http://prabhu.50g.com/southind/hoysala/south_hoysalacat.html|author=Govindaraya Prabhu, S|publisher=Prabhu's Web Page On Indian Coinage, November 1, 2001|work=|accessdate=2006-11-17] Their gold coin was called "Honnu" or "Gadyana" and weighed 62 grains of gold. "Pana" or "Hana" was a tenth of the "Honnu", "Haga" was a fourth of the "Pana" and "Visa" was fourth of "Haga". There were other coins called "Bele" and "Kani".Kamath (2001), p131]



The defeat of the Jain Western Ganga Dynasty by the Cholas in early 11th century and the rising numbers of followers of Vaishnava Hinduism and Virashaivism in the 12th century was mirrored by a decreased interest in Jainism.Kamath (2001), p112, p132] Two notable locations of Jain worship in the Hoysala territory were Shravanabelagola and Kambadahalli. The decline of Buddhism in South India began in the 8th century with the spread of Adi Shankara's Advaita philosophy.A 16th century Buddhist work by Lama Taranatha speaks disparagingly of Shankaracharya as close parallels in some beliefs of Shankaracharya with Buddhist philosophy was not viewed favourably by Buddhist writers (Thapar 2003, pp 349–350, p397)] The only places of Buddhist worship during the Hoysala time were at Dambal and Balligavi. Shantala Devi, queen of Vishnuvardhana was a Jain but nevertheless commissioned the Hindu Kappe Chennigaraya temple in Belur, evidence that the royal family was tolerant of all religions. During the rule of the Hoysalas, three important religious developments took place in present day Karnataka inspired by three philosophers, Basavanna, Madhvacharya and Ramanujacharya.

While the origin of Virashaiva faith is debated, the movement grew through its association with Basavanna in the 12th century.It is said five earlier saints Renuka, Daruka, Ekorama, Panditharadhya and Vishwaradhya were the original founders of Virashaivism, a sect that preaches devotion to Lord Shiva (Kamath 2001, p152)] Basavanna and other Virashaiva saints preached of a faith without a caste system. In his Vachanas he appealed to the masses in simple Kannada and wrote "work is worship" ("Kayakave Kailasa"). Madhvacharya was critical of the teachings of Shankaracharya and argued the world is real and not an illusion.Madvacharya upheld the virtues of Lord Vishnu and propounded the Dvaita philosophy (dualism) and condemned the "mayavada" (illusion) of Shankaracharya and maintained there was a distinction between "Paramathma" (supreme being) and the dependent principle of life (Kamath 2001, p155)] His philosophy gained popularity enabling him to establish eight Mathas (monastery) in Udupi. Ramanujacharya, the head of the Vaishnava monastery in Srirangam, preached the way of devotion ("bhakti marga") and wrote "Sribhashya", a critique on the Advaita philosophy of Adi Shankara.He criticised Adi Shankara as a "Buddhist in disguise" (Kamath 2001, p151)] The impact of these religious developments on culture, literature, poetry and architecture in South India was profound. Important works of literature and poetry based on the teachings of these philosophers were written during the coming centuries. The Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu dynasties of Vijayanagar empire were followers of Vaishnavism and a Vaishnava temple with an image of Ramanujacharya exists in the Vitthalapura area of Vijayanagara.Fritz and Michell (2001), pp35–36] Scholars in later Mysore Kingdom wrote Vaishnavite works upholding the teachings of Ramanujacharya.Kamath (2001), p152] King Vishnuvardhana built many temples after his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism.cite web|title=Hoysala Temples of Belur |url=http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/hoysala/belur.htm|author=K.L. Kamath, November 04,2006 |publisher=1996–2006 Kamat's Potpourri|work=|accessdate=2006-12-01] cite web|title=Hoysala Heritage|url=http://www.flonnet.com/fl2008/stories/20030425000206700.htm|author=S. Settar|publisher=Frontline, From the publishers of the Hindu|work=Frontline, Volume 20 - Issue 08, April 12–25, 2003|accessdate=2006-12-01] The later saints of Madhvacharya's order, Jayatirtha, Vyasatirtha, Sripadaraya, Vadirajatirtha and devotees ("dasa") such as Vijaya Dasa, Gopaladasa and others from the Karnataka region spread his teachings far and wide.Shiva Prakash (1997), pp192–200] His teachings inspired later day philosophers like Vallabhacharya in Gujarat and Chaitanya in Bengal.The worldwide ISKON movement is an outcome of the efforts of the followers of Chaitanya (Kamath 2001, p156)] Another wave of devotion ("bhakti") in the 17th century–18th century found inspiration in his teachings.Shiva Prakash (1997), pp200–201]


Hoysala society in many ways reflected the emerging religious, political and cultural developments of those times. During this period, the society became increasingly sophisticated. The status of women was varied. Some royal women were involved in administrative matters as shown in contemporary records describing Queen Umadevi's administration of Halebidu in the absence of Veera Ballala II during his long military campaigns in northern territories. She also fought and defeated some antagonistic feudal rebels.This is in stark contrast to the literature of the time (like "Vikramankadeva Charita" of Bilhana) that portrayed women as retiring, overly romantic and unconcerned with affairs of the state (Thapar 2003, p392)] Records describe the participation of women in the fine arts, such as Queen Shantala Devi's skill in dance and music, and the 12th century Vachana poet and Virashaiva mystic Akka Mahadevi's devotion to the "bhakti" movement is well known.She was not only a pioneer in the era of Women's emancipation but also an example of a transcendental world-view (Thapar 2003, p392)] Temple dancers ("Devadasi") were common and some were well educated and accomplished in the arts. These qualifications gave them more freedom than other urban and rural women who were restricted to daily mundane tasks.Thapar (2003), p391] The practice of sati in a voluntary form was prevalent and prostitution was socially acceptable.cite web|title=Administration, Economy and Society in Hoysala Empire|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/history.htm|author=Arthikaje, Mangalore|publisher=1998–2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2006-12-08] As in most of India, the Indian caste system was conspicuously present.

Trade on the west coast brought many foreigners to India including Arabs, Jews, Persians, Chinese and people from the Malay Peninsula.Sastri (1955), p286] Migration of people within Southern India as a result of the expansion of the empire produced an influx of new cultures and skills.Royal patronage of education, arts, architecture, religion and establishment of new forts and military outposts caused the large scale relocation of people (Sastri 1955, p287)] In South India, towns were called "Pattana" or "Pattanam" and the marketplace, "Nagara" or "Nagaram", the marketplace serving as the nuclei of a city. Some towns such as Shravanabelagola developed from a religious settlement in the 7th century to an important trading center by the 12th century with the arrival of rich traders, while towns like Belur attained the atmosphere of a regal city when King Vishnuvardhana built the Chennakesava Temple there. Large temples supported by royal patronage served religious, social, and judiciary purposes, elevating the king to the level of "God on earth".

Temple building served a commercial as well as a religious function and was not limited to any particular sect of Hinduism. Shaiva merchants of Halebidu financed the construction of the Hoysaleswara temple to compete with the Chennakesava temple built at Belur, elevating Halebidu to an important city as well. Hoysala temples however were secular and encouraged pilgrims of all Hindu sects, the Kesava temple at Somanathapura being an exception with strictly Vaishnava sculptural depictions.cite web|title=Hoysala Heritage|url=http://www.flonnet.com/fl2008/stories/20030425000206700.htm|author=S. Settar|publisher=Frontline, From the publishers of the Hindu|work=Frontline, Volume 20 - Issue 08, April 12–25, 2003|accessdate=2006-11-17] Temples built by rich landlords in rural areas fulfilled fiscal, political, cultural and religious needs of the agrarian communities. Irrespective of patronage, large temples served as establishments that provided employment to hundreds of people of various guilds and professions sustaining local communities as Hindu temples began to take on the shape of wealthy Buddhist monasteries.Thapar (2003), p389]


Although Sanskrit literature remained popular during the Hoysala rule, royal patronage of local Kannada scholars increased.Ayyar (1993), p600] Kamath (2001), p132] Narasimhacharya (1988), p19] In the 12th century some works were written in the "Champu" style,A composition which is written in a mixed prose-verse style is called "Champu", Narasimhacharya (1988), p12] but distinctive Kannada metres became more widely accepted. The "Sangatya" metre used in compositions,A "Sangatya" composition is meant to be sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument (Sastri 1955), p359)] "Shatpadi" (seven line), "Tripadi" (three line) metres in verses and "Ragale" (lyrical poems) became fashionable. Jain works continued to extol the virtues of Tirthankaras (Jain ascetics).Sastri(1955), p361]

The Hoysala court supported scholars such as Janna, Rudrabhatta, Harihara and his nephew Raghavanka, whose works are enduring masterpieces in Kannada. In 1209, the Jain scholar Janna wrote "Yashodharacharite", the story of a king who intends to perform a ritual sacrifice of two young boys to a local deity, Mariamma. Taking pity on the boys, the king releases them and gives up the practice of human sacrifice.Sastri (1955), p359] E.P. Rice (1921), p43-44] In honour of this work, Janna received the title "Emperor among poets" ("Kavichakravarthi") from King Veera Ballala II.Narasimhacharya (1988), p20]

Rudrabhatta, a Smartha Brahmin (believer of monistic philosophy), was the earliest well known Brahminical writer whose patron was Chandramouli, a minister of King Veera Ballala II.Sastri (1955), p364] Based on the earlier work of "Vishnu Purana", he wrote "Jagannatha Vijaya" in the "Champu" style relating the life of Lord Krishna leading up to his fight with the demon Banasura.

Harihara, (also known as Harisvara) a Virashaiva writer and the patron of King Narasimha I, wrote the "Girijakalyana" in the old Jain "Champu" style which describes the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati in ten sections.Sastri (1955), p362] Narasimhacharya, (1988), p20] He was one of the earliest Virashaiva writers who was not part of the "Vachana" literary tradition. He came from a family of accountants ("Karanikas") from Halebidu and spent many years in Hampi writing more than one hundred "Ragales" (poems in blank verse) in praise of Lord Virupaksha (a form of Lord Shiva).E.P.Rice (1921), p60] Raghavanka was the first to introduce the "Shatpadi" metre into Kannada literature in his "Harishchandra kavya" which is considered a classic even though it occasionally violates strict rules of Kannada grammar.Sastri (1955), p362] Narasimhacharya (1988), p20]

In Sanskrit, the philosopher Madhvacharya wrote "Rigbhshya" on Brahmasutras (a logical explanation of Hindu scriptures, the Vedas) as well as many polemical works rebutting the doctrines of other schools of Vedas. He relied more on the Puranic literature than the Vedas for logical proof of his philosophy.Sastri (1955), p324,] Another famous writing was "Rudraprshnabhashya" by Vidyatirtha.


The modern interest in the Hoysalas is due to their patronage of art and architecture rather than their military conquests. The brisk temple building throughout the kingdom was accomplished despite constant threats from the Pandyas to the south and the Seunas Yadavas to the north. Their architectural style, an offshoot of the Western Chalukya style,Hardy (1995), p215, p243] Kamath (2001), p115, p118] shows distinct Dravidian influences.Sastri (1955), p429] The Hoysala architecture style is described as "Karnata Dravida" as distinguished from the traditional "Dravida",Hardy (1995), pp6–7] and is considered an independent architectural tradition with many unique features.Hoysala style has negligible influences of the Indo-Aryan style and owing to its many independent features, it qualifies as an independent school of architecture (Brown in Kamath 2001, p134)] An independent tradition, according to Havell, Narasimhachar, Sheshadri and Settar - cite web|title=History of Karnataka-Religion, Literature, Art and Architecture in Hoysala Empire|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/history.htm|author=Arthikaje, Mangalore|publisher=1998–2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2006-11-17] A feature of Hoysala temple architecture is its attention to exquisite detail and skilled craftsmanship. The tower over the temple shrine ("vimana") is delicately finished with intricate carvings, showing attention to the ornate and elaborately detailed rather than to a tower form and height.Foekema (1996), pp27–28] Though the Hoysala "vimana" have rich texture, yet they are formless and lacks structural strength, according to Brown - cite web|title=History of Karnataka-Architecture of Hoysala Empire|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/history.htm|author=Arthikaje, Mangalore|publisher=1998–2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2006-11-17] The stellate design of the base of the shrine with its rhythmic projections and recesses is carried through the tower in an orderly succession of decorated tiers.This is a Hoysala innovation (Brown in Kamath 2001, p135)] Foekema (1996), pp21–22] Hoysala temple sculpture replicates this emphasis on delicacy and craftsmanship in its focus on depicting feminine beauty, grace and physique.Quote:"Their sculptured figures, especially the bracket figures, have been objects of praise at the hands of art critics of the whole world. They include "Sukhabhasini", "Darpanadharini" and other damsels in various dancing poses". (Kamath 2001, p 136)] The Hoysala artists achieved this with the use of Soapstone (Chloritic schist), a soft stone as basic building and sculptural material.Sastri (1955), p428] Hardy (1995), p37]

The Chennakesava Temple at Belur (1117),Foekema (1996), p47] the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebidu (1121),Foekema (1996), p59] the Chennakesava Temple at Somanathapura (1279),Foekema (1996), p87] the temples at Arasikere (1220),Foekema (1996), p41] Amruthapura (1196),Foekema (1996), p37] Belavadi (1200)Foekema (1996), p53] and Nuggehalli (1246)Foekema (1996), p83] are all notable examples of Hoysala art. While the temples at Belur and Halebidu are the best known because of the beauty of their sculptures, the Hoysala art finds more complete expression in the smaller and lesser known temples.Foekema (1996), preface, p47, p59] The outer walls of all these temples contain an intricate array of stone sculptures and horizontal friezes (decorative mouldings) that depict the Hindu epics. These depictions are generally clockwise in the traditional direction of circumambulation ("pradakshina"). The temple of Halebidu has been described as an outstanding example of Hindu architectureFoekema (1996), p61] and an important milestone in Indian architecture.Brown in Kamath (2001), p135] The temples of Belur and Halebidu are a proposed UNESCO world heritage sites.cite web|title=Belur for World Heritage Status|url=http://www.hindu.com/2004/07/25/stories/2004072501490300.htm |author=Staff Correspondent|publisher=The Hindu|work=The Hindu, Sunday July 25, 2004|accessdate=2006-11-17]


The support of the Hoysala rulers for the Kannada language was strong, and this is seen even in their epigraphs, often written in polished and poetic language, rather than prose, with illustrations of floral designs in the margins.Ayyar (2006), p. 600] According to historian Sheldon Pollock, the Hoysala era saw the complete displacement of Sanskrit, with Kannada dominating as the courtly language.Pollock (2006), p. 288–289] Temples served as local schools where learned Brahmins taught in Sanskrit, while Jain and Buddhist monasteries educated novice monks. Schools of higher learning were called "Ghatikas". The local Kannada language was widely used in the rising number of devotional movements to express the ecstatic experience of closeness to the deity ("vachanas" and "devaranama"). Literary works were written in it on palm leaves which were tied together. While in past centuries Jain works had dominated Kannada literature, Shaiva and early Brahminical works became popular during the Hoysala reign.Narasimhacharya (1988), p17] Writings in Sanskrit included poetry, grammar, lexicon, manuals, rhetoric, commentaries on older works, prose fiction and drama.The "Manasollasa" of king Somesvara III is an early encyclopedia in Sanskrit (Thapar 2003, p393)] Inscriptions on stone ("Shilashasana") and copper plates ("Tamarashasana") were written mostly in Kannada but some were in Sanskrit or were bilingual. The sections of bilingual inscriptions stating the title, genealogy, origin myths of the king and benedictions were generally done in Sanskrit. Kannada was used to state terms of the grants, including information on the land, its boundaries, the participation of local authorities, rights and obligations of the grantee, taxes and dues, and witnesses. This ensured the content was clearly understood by the local people without ambiguity.However by the 14th century, bilingual inscriptions lost favour and inscriptions became mostly in the local language (Thapar 2003, pp393–95)]




*cite book |last=Ayyar|first=P. V. Jagadisa|title=South Indian Shrines |origyear=1993 |year=1993|publisher=Asian Educational Services|isbn=8120601513
*cite book |last= Chopra, Ravindran, Subrahmanian|first= P.N., T.K., N|title= History of South India (Ancient, Medieval and Modern) Part 1|origyear=2003|year=2003|publisher= Chand Publications|location=New Delhi|isbn= 81-219-0153-7
*cite book |last=Foekema|first=Gerard |title= Architecture decorated with architecture: Later medieval temples of Karnataka, 1000–1300 AD|origyear=2003|year=2003|publisher=Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd|location= New Delhi|isbn= 81-215-1089-9
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*cite book |last=Shiva Prakash|first=H.S.|editor=Ayyappapanicker|title=Medieval Indian Literature:An Anthology |year= 1997|publisher=Sahitya Akademi|isbn=8126003650|chapter= Kannada
*cite book |last= Stien|first= Burton|title= Vijayanagara|origyear=1989|year=1989|publisher= Cambridge University Press|location=Wiltshire|isbn= 0521266939
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*cite web |url=http://prabhu.50g.com/southind/hoysala/south_hoysalacat.html |title=Hoysala Coinage-Southern India, Govindaraya Prabhu, 1st Nov 2001|accessdate=2006-11-17 |format= |work=
*cite web |url=http://www.flonnet.com/fl2008/stories/20030425000206700.htm |title=Hoysala Heritage, Prof. Settar|accessdate=2006-11-17 |format= |work=Frontline, Volume 20 - Issue 08, April 12–25, 2003
*cite web|url=http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mp/2002/07/25/stories/2002072500270200.htm|title=The City of Boiled Beans |accessdate=2006-11-17 |format= |work=The Hindu, Thursday, Jul 25, 2002
*cite web |url= http://www.hindu.com/2004/07/25/stories/2004072501490300.htm|title=Belur proposal for World Heritage Status|accessdate=2006-11-17 |format= |work= The Hindu, Sunday July 25, 2004
*cite web |url=http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/hoysala/belur.htm|title=Hoysala Temples of Belur, by K. L. Kamat, November 04,2006|accessdate=2006-12-03 |format= |work=© 1996–2006 Kamat's Potpourri

External links

*cite web |url=http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/hoysala.htm |title=Hoysala Dynasty, Jyothsna Kamat|accessdate=2006-11-17 |format= |work=© 1996–2006 Kamat's Potpourri
*cite web |url=http://inscriptions.whatisindia.com/|title=Indian Inscriptions-South Indian Inscriptions, (vols 9, 15,17,18)|accessdate=2006-11-17 |format= |work= What Is India Publishers (P) Ltd, Saturday, November 18, 2006

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