Hoysaleswara or Halebid Temple is a 12 century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located in the west of the Dwarasamudra lake in a small town of Halebid in Karnataka, this magnificent temple is one of the three most landmark monument of Hoysala empire and is also the most significant monument dedicated to Lord Shiva in south India. The designing and decoration of the temple are done by the famous Shilpkar Kedoraja. Its extremely elaborate walls proudly wear the stories of various Gods and brave Hoysala soldiers in the form of beautiful sculptures engraved on its walls. It attracts thousands of devotees year round as it is well known for its architecture and statues of the Hoysala period.
The magnificent temple derives its name from the preceding ruler of Hoysala dynasty who sponsored its construction, King Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara. The construction was started in 1121CE and was complete in 1160CE. The temple is a simple Dvikuta Vimala, meaning that it houses two main shrines; one dedicated to Hoysaleswara and another to Shantaleswara (named after Shantala Devi, wife and queen of King Vishnuvardhana). Apart from the two main shrines, there is a 7 ft tall image depicting the Sun God, Lord Surya and a massive sculpture of Nandi (Shiva’s attendant).
Today, the artwork and the architecture of the Hoysaleswara Temple are damaged because of the sacking by Muslims armies in the late 14th century. However, it is mostly intact, and the temple itself is considered as one of the seven wonders of the country. It has also been proposed to be listed under the UNESCO world heritage sites.