” Hoy Sala ” ( Strike Sala ! ) said the guru Sudatta Muni to his student , Sala who was in an armed combat with a tiger that had entered a temple. The student struck the animal in one blow, immortalizing himself and his victim . The guru was so pleased that he asked Sala to establish a kingdom and the Hoysala dynasty was established. The folklore became so popular that every temple of the Hoysalas has this story carved in stone and it became the royal emblem

We heard this story narrated to us by our guide in Belur, the erstwhile capital of the Hoysala Dynasty who ruled parts of South India from 11th to 14th century .Historians dismiss the myth, but stories like these have a certain lure about them. Join me in the next few posts as we explore the Hoysala Trail through their magnificent temples.


  1. Which Main? What Cross? 29 January, 2008 at 19:01 Reply

    At Belur, next to the main deity, by the side entrance, is a special enclosure that contains a pair of giant leather slippers. Almost as large as the main deity itself.

    Even though you are not allowed to wear footwear inside the temple.
    According to the local guide, the land that the temple stands on was donated to the king by two cobblers: Chenna and Vela.
    These two must have been the Nike and Adidas of 12th Century Karnataka.

    Chenna has the main temple of Belur – Chennakeshava named after him and Vela has the whole town, the capital, Velapuri (corrupted to Belur, as it is known now) named after him.

    Leather footwear and armours used by the army probably made them rich enough for this honour.

  2. GMG 31 January, 2008 at 20:47 Reply

    Another great post, with an interesting to learn about!
    I’ll be absent for a while. Meanwhile, leave you with a somehow surprising post at Blogtrotter
    Wish you a great fortnight and see you by mid-February!

  3. indicaspecies 5 February, 2008 at 17:06 Reply

    I giggled at Shantanu’s comment here.

    @Shantanu: Surely your wife’s brother is not a ‘gaali’..haha!!

    Anyway, this ‘la’ sound in Hoysala is different from the usual Hindi ‘la’ sound. In Marathi you have it identified as a closed ‘la’ askhar of Hindi..got me? No?

    Ok..This ‘la’ sound is created by touching the tip part of the tongue to the roof of the mouth and getting it out with a bit of force while saying ‘la.’ Complicated? 🙂

  4. final_transit 6 February, 2008 at 20:22 Reply

    @ Celine: That was a good one, even I didn’t know that hoysala ended with a ळ sound. This particular character is quite often used south of Vindhyas.

    So which of these is the right way to pronounce?
    (taking it to next level of complication)

  5. backpakker 6 February, 2008 at 21:08 Reply

    doIhavetoreally – Stories are such fun..names, places all have a story behind them

    I am – thats the best thing about bangalore..many getaways

    sahasi – welcome to backpakker..thanks..just visited you.

    purnima – thanks..hope you enjoy them

    apun ka desh – welcome to the trail..

    WMWC – Thanks for the story..pls share more..I heard a different version , but thats what stories are…the more versions, the better ,,adds to the charm

    stephanie – agree with you..thats why i like myths..this is a hop on , hop off bus

    mark – so when are you coming down ? im sure you will love this country

    ceedy – the bus is waiting for you..

    priyank – teasers add to the fun na 🙂 more on the hoysala

    skeety – lots of lore too

    nanditha – welcome to the ride

    gmg – looking forward to seeing you again..have a great trip 🙂

    Celine – thanks ..the journey has begun..

    kalyan -thank you ..hope you enjoy more of it ..

    shantanu – lol..So many meanings to one word..Maybe swear words have an origin too

    celine – wow..been practising it for an hour now..in case I have to get to phonetics, I know the expert now ..My tongue is somewhere stuck in the roof…

    Priyank – ” la ” is quite universal ..Im wondering how it would be pronounced if its the devanagere script or the modern kannada script..Im not an expert ..maybe celine could answer this !

  6. indicaspecies 8 February, 2008 at 03:40 Reply

    @ Lakshmi: I hope your tongue has unstuck by now and is free for other activities..lol
    Priyank is the expert, isn’t he? 😉
    He has not only understood my earnest attempt of the description of the ‘la’ sound but has so kindly provided us the exact Marathi alphabet as well.

  7. indicaspecies 8 February, 2008 at 03:46 Reply

    @ Priyank: Yay!! It’s the THIRD one. Thanks . You rescued me..lol
    Now everyone here knows how to pronounce Hoysala like the Kannadigas do..at least I shall presume so.

    So, the much discussed ‘la’ alphabet in Hoysala in Kannada is this: ಳ
    (I hope it prints properly in the comment box).

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