The Hoysalas were supreme rulers of the southern Deccan in the 12th and 13th 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 indispensible to interested visitors as well as to scholars and students.
Surendra Kumar is a photographer based in Hampi, Karnataka, specialising in topographic views and architectural documentation. His images have been published in Discovering the Deccan: A Panoramic Journey Through Historical Landscapes & Monuments (Mumbai 2011), Temple Architecture and Art of the Early Chalukyas (New Delhi 2014), several guidebooks in this series, and most recently in Lepakshi: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting (New Delhi 2019).