Construction of the Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebid’s claim to fame, began around AD 1121 and went on for more than 80 years. It was never completed, but nonetheless stands today as a masterpiece of Hoysala architecture. The interior of its inner sanctum, chiselled out of black stone, is marvellous. On the outside, the temple’s richly sculpted walls are covered with a flurry of Hindu deities, sages, stylised animals and friezes depicting the life of the Hoysala rulers.
A huge statue of Nandi (Shiva’s bull) sits to the left of the main temple, facing the inner sanctum. The temple is set within large, well-tended gardens.