Known as the 'supreme climax of Indian architecture', the Hoysaleswara Temple is one of the largest temple in South India. It was the master piece contributed by the Hoysala Empire. The Hoysala ruler Vishnuvardhana built it in the 12th century. The temple is located at Halebidu and was named after the ruler. The temple faced the wrath of the Muslim rulers. They looted the temple which finally resulted in the problem of its maintenance.
The Hoysaleswara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple houses two shrines, one is dedicated to Hoysaleswara and another is dedicated to Shantaleswara(named after Shantala Devi, queen of King Vishnuvardhana). Erected on a raised platform, the temple was built in soapstone. The shrine houses the Shiva lingam, the universal symbol of Lord Shiva. One of the many shrines is dedicated to Sun God. The huge image of the lord inside the shrine looks very impressive. Walk into the hall of the temple and you will find giant images of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva.
The temple boasts of its extremely beautiful walls which are embellished with intricately carved sculptures. The walls at the entrances of the temple are adorned with Ganesha images. Some of the? pillars inside the temple have 'madanika' sculptures in their brackets which leave the onlookers spell bound.
One of the main attractions inside the temple is the 'Garuda Pillar'. Garuda was the name given to the main bodyguards of the kings and queens. They used to accompany the royal people everywhere and would commit suicide after their master's death. Located in the southern side of the temple is the pillar depicting Garuda taking his own life. The name of this Garuda was Kuruva Lakshma, who was the bodyguard of Veera Ballala II. Devotees from far and wide come to the Hoysaleswara Temple to see its mesmerizing architecture.