The Hoysala Legacy: Belur, Halebidu, Somanathapura


The Hoysalas were the supreme rulers of the Southern Deccan in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Together with their queens, ministers and commanders, they sponsored a series of magnificent temples, the most famous of which are those at Belur, Halebidu and Somanathapura, described in this guidebook. The complicated layouts, elaborate wall treatments and spacious interiors of these monuments testify to the genius of Hoysala designers and builders, while the carved friezes, wall panels and column brackets illustrating Hindu myths and legends showcase the talents and imagination of the Hoysala artists, many of whom signed their work.

Authored by Kamalika Bose and George Michell, and illustrated profusely with specially commissioned photographs by Surendra Kumar, the guidebook provides a comprehensive introduction to the architecture and art at Belur, Halebidu and Somanathapura. The volume introduces the history of the Hoysalas, the role of patrons and artists, the different styles perfected by the builders of the time, and the themes depicted in the carvings. Then follow detailed descriptions of the individual temple complexes, pointing out the finest reliefs and sculpted figures. This information should prove indispensable to interested visitors as well as to scholars and students.

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Kamalika Bose

Kamalika Bose is an urban conservationist, curator and educator based in Mumbai, and founder of Heritage Synergies India. She obtained a Master’s in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University. She has authored Seeking the Lost Layers: Traditional Dwellings of the Urban Elite in North Calcutta (Ahmedabad 2008) and co-authored A History of Interior Design in India, Vol 1: Ahmedabad (Ahmedabad 2007).

George Michell

George Michell obtained his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, for his dissertation on early-Chalukya temple architecture. Since then, his research has ranged from surveys of town planning and Islamic buildings to studies of Hindu temple architecture and sculpture. During the 1980s and 1990s, he and Dr. John M. Fritz co-directed an extensive survey of Hampi-Vijayanagara.

Among his many publications are: The Royal Palaces of India, Hindu Art and Architecture, The Great Temple at Thanjavur, Mughal Architecture and Gardens, Late Temple Architecture of India, 15th to 19th Centuries and, together with Helen Philon, Islamic Architecture of Deccan India.