Like in the history of many ancient kingdoms, to origin of the Hoysalas too are often narrated with a blend of myth and speculations.
Hoysala Empire Map
The known history of the Hoysalas start by about 1000 AD, and they continued to be a notable power in the history of South India until about 1400 AD.
A period of about 200 years or so years during the four centuries mentioned is generally considered as the heydays of the Hoysala Empire.
The 6 layered frieze over which the boldly executed sculptures are installed around the outer walls. All are done in soapstone.
Porch of the Mallikarjuna Temple at Basaralu.
Hoysala crest- the hero fighting a lion- at the tower of the Mallikarjuna temple of Basaralu
Boldly executed elephants in the porch to the Mallikarjuna Temple.
The bottom band represents a elephants in various postures, all unique, above which is a series of horses and the next band represents lions. Above this is a sequence of mythical themes carved in sequence (like in a comics strips). The top two bands are of peacock and a mythological creature.
Gajasurasamhara: Shiva dancing inside the skin of the slain elephant. Note the four legs, tail and the head of the elephant.