Hoysala Dynasty (Hoysala Empire)
The Empire of Hoysala Dynasty rose into prominence towards the beginning of the eleventh century A.D. in the territories now represented roughly by Mysore and Madras.
Origin: The Hoysalas claimed their descent from the moon and regarded themselves to be the “Kshatriyas of the lunar race.”
Supremacy: As their territory lay between the Cholas in the south-east and the Western Chalukyas in the north-west they had to fight hard for their supremacy.
Vishnu Vardhana: He was the great king of Hoysala Dynasty (1110-40 A.D.) who made Dwarasamudra as his capital. He is represented to have humbled the Cholas, the Pandyas of Madura, the Chalukya ruler Vikramaditya VI and the Kadambas of Goa. Finally, with the help of his Commander-in-Chief, Ganga Raja, he defeated the Gurjaras in a decisive battle at Talakad.
Vira Ballala II: Next noteworthy ruler of this dynasty was Vishnu Vardhana’s grandson Vira Ballala II (1172-1215) who is credited to have defeated the Chalukya ruler Somesvara IV and humbled the Yadava ruler Billama V in the battle of Lakkundi in about 1191 A.D. Because of these victories he adopted the title of “Maharaja Adhiraja.”
Subsequent Rulers: Not much is known about the subsequent Hoysala rulers except that they were busy fighting their neighbours especially the Cholas and Pandyas.
Veera-Ballala III: The last great ruler of Hoysala Dynasty was Veera-Ballala III (1310-39 A.D.) during whose reign Dwarasamudra, was attacked and ravaged by the Muslim invaders under Malik Kafur in 1310 A.D. The Hoysala ruler bought his life by paying a heavy tribute and with his death in 1339 the Hoysala dynasty came to an end.
Hoysala Temples and Architecture: The Hoysala rulers were great builders and under them architecture, sculpture and other decorative arts received great encouragement. Their temples and other architectural monuments which still exist at Halebid (the ancient Dwarasamudra) and other such places, excite our admiration. The best example of the art of architecture of the Hoysalas is represented by the Hoysalesvra Temple at Halebid. This temple is purely made of grayish soap-stone and has a charm of its own. It contains some of the best and magnificent sculptures.