Designing a New Hoysaḷa Temple in Karnataka
By Adam Hardy
Professor of Asian Architecture, The Welsh School pf Architecture
"Designing a New Hoysaḷa Temple in Karnataka." In Proceedings of 2009 Conference of European Association of South Asian Archaeology and Art. Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 2014.
The Shree Kalyana Venkateshwara Hoysala Art Foundation was set up in 2009 to promote a renewal of the arts and culture that flourished in southern Karnataka under the Hoysaḷa dynasty. They plan to build a large new temple in the Hoysaḷa style, entirely of stone and using the traditional structural techniques. The temple is to be dedicated to Shree Venkateshwara (Srī Venkateśvara, Shri Venkateswara etc.) or Balaji, the form of Viṣṇu whose principal shrine is the Tirumala Venkateswara temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. Apart from its religious purpose, the temple is intended to stimulate a revival of crafts and to provide a setting for cultural activities such as dance performances. Schools of sculpture and dance are also envisaged. The site is a gently rising outcrop of granite outside the village of Venkatapura, near Nangali in Kolar District, Karnataka. It is close to National Highway no. 4, some hundred and fifty km east of Bengaluru (Bangalore), not far from the Andhra Pradesh border on the way to Chennai (Madras) and to Tirupati. This area was once at the limit of the Hoysaḷa kingdom, way to the east of Hoysaḷanāḍu proper, which corresponds roughly to present day Hassan, Shimoga, Tumkur and Mysore districts. It is there that dozens of Hoysaḷa temples survive from the 12th and 13th centuries, ornately carved in fine-grained, grey-blue chloritic schist or ‘soapstone’.
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