Kedareshwara (dedicated to Shiva), Temple, Halebidu - a legacy of Hoysala rulers

stellate (star-shaped plan)Kedareshwara_Temple,_Halebidu

Kedareshwara Temple, Halebidu KA

stellate (star-shaped plan)
Kedareshwara Temple, Halebidu

Sri.Kedareshwara Temple at Halebeedu in the Hassan district of Karnataka close to  the well known Hoysaleshwara Temple, is a beautiful place of worship built in  Hoysala architecture. The constriction material is mainly soap stone  which was locally mined. This kind of rock is a soft one unlike granite or basalt,  intricate and imaginative  carvings can be achieved by skilled stone masons. 

Constructed by Hoysala King Veera Ballala II (r. 1173–1220 A.D.) and his Queen Ketaladevi, the main deity of this temple god Shiva; deity goes by the Kedareshwara.

Kedareshwara Temple,Halebidu KA

It is said the temple not accessible to public, however limited number of people  are allowed to go round the inter part of it which is well- illuminated during the day by numerous  stone perforated windows (jali). Jali windows are  fixed all round the three sides of the  temple atop the platform  

Standing on a 5 to 6 foot platform  (jagatti),  the interior of the temple can be reached through  a flight of steps. There are  four Star shaped pillars on either side of entrance towards Navaranga, What is surprising is in the temple built by the Hoysala dynasty, for unknown  reasons  there is no pradakshinapath (prakara for  circumambulation) round the sanctum. However, there is enough space available  for the people walk around the garbagriha, a prayer ritual every Hindu does in the temple. 


Kedareshwara_Temple,_Halebidu KA

Above image:  Kedareshwara_Temple, Halebidu  Hassan district, Karnataka. Base of the platform - the walls are  adorned with friezes in relief that depict animals and episodes from the Hindu epics............

The  base of the wall (adhisthana) around the common hall and the two lateral shrines   around the temple on the platform is replete with  moldings, each of which is adorned with friezes in relief that depict animals and episodes from the Hindu epics. Because of space to do  prathkshna,  visitors get a chance to look at the intricate carving closely walking clock-wise.  The star shaped  temple plan (stellate) with two  small vimana and a large vimana and their beauty is enhanced by the perforated windows (called Jali, literally, "sieve") on the sides. 

Star-shaped or "staggered square" (or cross in square) temple plans, a  common feature of  Hoysala style of temple construction,   create  multiple projections and recesses in the outer walls which  house amazing repetitive and  decorative sculptures and reliefs called "architectural articulation." 

The temple complex is  built as a big  structure  with three shrines, often referred to as  trikutas.  The central shrine has a tall tower while the lateral shrines  that are  virtually hidden behind the thick outer walls appear as  if  they are  part of the hall itself. Though dedicated to God Shiva, the  friezes and panel relief on the walls  display episodes from  both the Shaiva and Vaishnava puranas. Through  individual vestibules called sukanasi. the three sanctums are connected to the  central hall - mahamantapa 

It is quite sad the  main idols in the three sanctums  are missing so are the top portions of all three shrine. You won't see the tower )shikara).  According to historians   severe damages were taken place during the massive raid by the Delhi Sultanate armies of Alauddin Khilji (a treacherous ruler)  in the 14th CE   The Hoysala Empire and its capital Dorasamudra faced mayhem and destruction during the raid.    

In 1326 CE  Belur and Halebidu faced  plunder and destruction, this time by  another Delhi Sultanate army of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq.  Apparently, the commander was Ulugh Kahn and his powerful army. The Delhi army  raided the famous Srirangam temple in Tamil Nadu to loot treasures there and the vicious  army men had left  a trail of chaos, destruction and  blood shed,  killing 12,000 innocent Vaishnavite residents (in Tamil - 'Pannerayiravar mudi tiruthiya pandriazhwan mettu kalagam') who, unarmed,  tried to safeguard the main idol (Emperuman). The annual ritual of ''Tithi'' (Pithroo Karyam) or' Sirardham' for the Pithroos (ancestors) is being performed on Adi Ammavasai day every year on the banks of the Vaikkal near  Gopurapatti templein Tiruchirappalli district. 

Some noteworthy pieces of sculpture that are worth mentioning are  the dancing Bhairava (a form of Shiva), Govardhana (the god Krishna lifting a mountain)and  the god Vishnu as Varadaraja with  a huntress.