During the 12th and 13th centuries AD, Halebid was the regal capital of the Hoysala Dynasty. Literally meaning 'the ruined city', Hoysala was also known by other aliases such as Dwarasamudra, which is derived from the vast tank known as Dwarasamudra.
This magnificent temple town has to bear the brunt of raids by
marauding invaders, who robbed it of its treasures, leaving behind the
ruins of the once-magnificent Shiva temple. In the face of persistent
attacks, the Hoysalas then relocated their capital to Belur and this
royal capital gradually reduced to a state of dilapidation and ruins.
The Hoysaleshwara and Kedareshwara temples in Halebidu are supreme
examples of Hoysala temple architecture. Hoysaleshwara temple was built
by Ketamala and attributed to Vishnuvardhana, the Hoysala ruler. It
enshrines the deities of Hoysaleswara and Santaleswara, named after the
king Vishnuvardhana Hoysala and his wife, Queen Santala.
The Hoysala temples are manifestations of the Vesara style of temple
architecture characterized by star-shaped structures set upon raised
platforms. The Vesara style was initiated by the Badami Chalukyas and
further refined by the Kalyani Chalukyas. Nowadays, a vibrant tourism
industry has emerged in Halebid around these fabulous temples.