Art & Culture Culture of India Trivia

Karnataka’s Hoysala Temples have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid, and Somanathapur in Karnataka have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, marking a watershed moment for these architectural masterpieces.

Nomination of Hoysala Temples

  • Previous Recognition: Since 2014, the Chennakeshava temple in Belur and the Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebidu, both in Hassan district, have been on UNESCO’s tentative list.
  • Nomination Expansion: The Keshava temple in Somanathapur, Mysuru district, was added to the tentative list alongside the other two temples. In February 2022, the Centre officially nominated all three as India’s entry for 2022-23.

Distinct Architectural Style:

  • The Hoysala temples are recognised for its distinctive architectural style, which is characterised by intricate ornamentation and a stellate layout built on raised platforms.
  • These temples are made of choloritic schist, often known as soapstone, which is malleable and lends itself well to elaborate carving.
  • Many sculptures within the temples bear the signatures of the creators, which is a unique trait in Indian art history.
  • Intricate Carvings: The intricate carvings on the doors of these temples showcase the outstanding artistry of Hoysala artisans.

Timeline of Events in History

  • Construction of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur began in 1117 CE during the reign of King Vishnuvardhana and was finished in 1220 CE.
  • Hoysaleshwara Temple in Halebid: Built in 1121 CE.
  • Somanatha Dandanayaka commissioned the Keshava Temple in Somanathapur in 1268 CE under the reign of Narasimha III.

Tourism Impact and Future Focus

  • Global attention: The UNESCO World Heritage classification is expected to offer these temples global attention and encourage tourism in the region.
  • Increasing Amenities: Authorities intend to address any UNESCO issues and focus on boosting visitor facilities such as signs and connection.
  • Management Action Plan: To maintain and promote these heritage sites, a management action plan will be adopted.
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