The origin of the Hoysalas is a matter of much interesting speculation and controversy. Like their distinguished contemporaries, the Seunas, the Hoysalas too claim their descent from Yadu (Lunar Dynasty) and call themselves the Yadavas. The conventional titles like, "Yadavanarayana", "Yadavakutambrad-yumani" and "Dvaravatipura-varadhisvara" are common to both the Seunas and the Hoysalas. These details are compiled from internet and by various sources by the Blogger over the years.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Hoysalas History

The origin of the Hoysalas is a matter of much interesting speculation and controversy. Like their distinguished contemporaries, the Seunas, the Hoysalas too claim their descent from Yadu (Lunar Dynasty) and call themselves the Yadavas. The conventional titles like, "Yadavanarayana", "Yadavakutambrad-yumani" and "Dvaravatipura-varadhisvara" are common to both the Seunas and the Hoysalas. The scholars, however, have not been able to accept the Hoysala association with the legendary family nor could they agree with the theory the Hoysalas hailed from Dwaraka in Gujarat.

The story relating to the founder of the kingdom named Sala, tries to explain the family designation "Hoysala" by splitting the term into "poy" or " hoy" and "sala". According to this tale Sala, a young student was directed by his teacher Sudatta Muni, who asked him to smash tiger (poy-sala i.e., "smash, oh Sala), when it rushed in the precincts of the temple of goddess Vasantika (Vaishnavi Devi, tutelary deity of Hoysala Monarchs) at Sosevur (Angadi, Mudigere Taluk, Chikkamagalur District). Sala is said to have hit the ferocious tiger and killed it, winning thereby the appreciation and blessings of Guru, who commanded him to establish a kingdom. This account became so popular that it is narrated in all the elaborate Hoysala epigraphs, which describe the hero Sala as the originator of the family. The event gained prominence that the figure representing the story of Sala attacking the tiger with a dagger, became the royal emblem of the family, and it is seen almost in every Hoysala temple.

Sala Nripa Kama or Kama Hoysala (C. 1000 - 1045. A. D.) was the first known ruler of the Hoysala family. He is said to have fought several encounters against the Cholas, sometimes in association with the Kadambas and perhaps with the Gangas. His son and successor was Vinayaditya (C. 1045 - 1098 A. D.) and his reign, constituted period in which the strength and resources of the Hoysala territory was conserved and consolidated. His policy was on friendship and collaboration with his Chalukya overlords, whom he assisted against the Cholas. He maintained matrimonial relations with the Chalukyas, and his son Ereyanga remained in the Chalukya capital to render his master valuable military assistance against the rivals.

After Vinayaditya's death, his son Ereyanga ruled for a brief, uneventful period (C. 1098 - 1100 A. D.). His eldest son, Veera Ballala I (C.1100 -1108 A. D.) however, must have made a bold bid for independence by disobeying the Chalukya authority; and also by undertaking daring schemes of conquests. But Chalukya Vikramaditya VI was able to secure the submission of Veera Ballala I, who was forced to abandon his bid for independence. Veera Ballala I died issueless. His younger brother Vishnuvardhana Raya succeeded him in 1108 A.D.

The Hoysalas patronized Jainism. The legend has it that the founder of the kingdom, Sala was blessed by Sudatta Muni a Jaina Teacher. Vinayaditya and Ereyanga were devout Jains; so was Vishnuvardhana Raya’s queen Santaladevi who was a disciple of Prabhachanda Siddantadeva.

The generals of Vishnuvardhana Raya like Gangaraja Mariyane, Bharata and Punisa were all jains. The entry of Sri Ramanujacharya into Karnataka inaugurated a period of popularity for Srivaishnavism.

The reign of Vishnuvardhana Raya witnessed the advert of Sri Vaishnavism into Karnataka. According to traditions, Vishnuvardhana Raya who was formerly a Jain and known as Bittideva came under the influence of Sri Ramanujacharya and became a Srivaishnava. Numbers of Vaishnava temples were built during this period at Belur, Talakad, Melkote, Tonnur, Gadag and other places.

However, Vishnuvardhana Raya’s chief queen, Shantala Devi, remained a devout Jaina, and they provided for succeeding generation a fine example of religious tolerance.

Many of his generals, including the redoubtable Gangaraja, were jains; and many basadis were constructed and generous grants given during his rule. Vishnuvardhana Raya transferred his capital from Belur to Halebid, which was then known as Dorasamudra.

He was an enthusiastic builder of temples; fine arts were fostered by royal patronage, and his queen Shantala Devi was well – versed in music and dance. Vishnuvardhana Raya was aware that his duty was “Dushta Nigraha” and “Sishta Rakshana”, that is, punishing the wicked and protecting the pious ones.

In short, the reign of Vishnuvardhana Raya saw the Hoysala kingdom maturing into a position of strength, from where it could forge ahead into wider regions of opportunities and achievements.

Vishnuvardhana Raya was succeeded by his son Narasimha I (C 1152 – 1173 AD) who found greater pleasure in his teeming and sumptuous harem than in the strenuous duties of administration. The kingdom was threatened by the uncompromising feudatories and by the invasions of Kalachuri Bijjala. When Narasimha failed to tackle the situation, his indignant son, Ballala II (C 1173 – 1220 AD) seized the throne.

His rule marked the pinnacle of Hoysala fortunes. He not only subdued many refractory chiefs like the Kongalvas Chengalvas and the Pandyas of Uchchangi, but also registered a remarkable victory over the Seuna ruler, Bhillama V in the battle of Soratur (1190 AD).

It brought him, for a period, sovereignty over Belavola.
Ballala II entered into matrimonial allegiance with the Chola ruler Kulothunga III. When his Pandya vassal overthrew Kulothunga, Ballala sent his crown prince Narasimha II to the Chola King’s rescue, and after successfully accomplishing the task, justifiably assumed the title, “Cholarajyapratishtapanacharya”.

Thus a new dawned in which the Hoysalas were increasingly sucked into the whirlpool of Tamil politics. Ballala II was, beyond question, an outstanding ruler of the dynasty, who brought to his kingdom an unprecedented military glory and consolidated it with a wise, sober administration.

Ballala II was succeeded by his son, Narasimha II (C 1220 – 1235 AD). More than once did he rush to the help of the Chola ruler, Raja Raja III, whose position had been rendered precarious by his turbulent feudatories.

In fact, Hoysala army, which was called Berunda, was permanently placed in the Tamil country for the protection of the hapless Chola ruler, who gave up Kannanur to the Hoysala King. Narasimha II also had to fight against the Seuna ruler, Singhana but not with conspicuous success.
Narasimha’s son and successor Vira Someshwara (1235 – 1253 AD) was brought up in the Tamil country, and so he more often than not remained at Kannanur, involving himself in the intricate politics of the region. The northern regions of the Hoysala kingdom must have suffered neglect, and the Seunas who chewed up some areas exploited the situation.

Vira Someshwara partitioned his kingdom between his two sons; Narasimha III (1253 – 1292 AD) ruled from Dorasamudra while Ramanatha (1253 – 1295) ruled from Kannanur. Their rule witnessed on exhausting civil war, and the Hoysala kingdom was indeed the worse for it.

Narasimha III ’s successor, Ballala III (1292 – 1342 AD) was the last great ruler of the dynasty. He reunified the Hoysala kingdom, fought against the Seunas and the Raja of Kampili, and sought to play the role of an arbiter in the Pandya politics. But his rule witnessed two sweeping waves of Muslim invasions from the North.

In 1311 Malik Kafur, the all conquering general of Ala - Ud - Din Khilji, swooped down on Dorasamudra, Ballala had to bow before the hurricane and purchase peace at a huge cost of wealth. In 1327 – 28, the forces of the Delhi sultan Muhammad - Bin - Tughaluq reached the Hoysala capital and Ballala again thought it was right to submit to the superior might of the invader. However, Ballala III met his end in his conflict with the Sultan of Madura. In the battle of Koppam Kannanur (1342 A. D.), Ballala was killed and though his son Ballala IV celebrated his coronation in 1343 the Hoysala kingdom soon lost its identity. Most of its dominions were merged into the newly established kingdom of Viajanagara.

Hoysala Empire (1000 – 1346 A.D)

Sala Nripa Kama (1000 - 1045)

Vinayaditya (1045 - 1098)

Ereyanga (1098 - 1100)

Veera Ballala I (1100 -1108)

Vishnuvardhana Raya (1108 - 1152)

Narasimha I (11521173)

Veera Ballala II (11731220)

Narasimha II (12201235)

Vira Someshwara (12351253)

Narasimha III (12531292)

Ramanatha (12531295)

Veera Ballala III (12921342)

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