The Hoysala Empire was a Kannadiga power originating from the Indian subcontinent, that ruled most of what is now Karnataka, between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was located at Belur but was moved to Halebidu; the Hoysala rulers were from Malenadu, an elevated region in the Western Ghats. In the 12th century, taking advantage of the internecine warfare between the Western Chalukya Empire and Kalachuris of Kalyani, they annexed areas of present-day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri delta in present-day Tamil Nadu. By the 13th century, they governed most of Karnataka, minor parts of Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the Deccan Plateau; the Hoysala era was an important period in the development of art and religion in South India. The empire is remembered today for Hoysala architecture. Over a hundred surviving temples are scattered across Karnataka. Well known temples "which exhibit an amazing display of sculptural exuberance" include the Chennakeshava Temple, the Hoysaleswara Temple and the Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.
The Hoysala rulers patronised the fine arts, encouraging literature to flourish in Kannada and Sanskrit. Kannada folklore tells a tale of a young man, who saved his Jain guru, Sudatta, by striking dead a tiger he encountered near the temple of the goddess Vasantika at Angadi, now called Sosevuru; the word "strike" translates to "hoy" in Old Kannada, hence the name "Hoy-sala". This legend first appeared in the Belur inscription of Vishnuvardhana, but owing to several inconsistencies in the Sala story it remains in the realm of folklore; the legend may have come into existence or gained popularity after King Vishnuvardhana's victory over the Cholas at Talakadu as the Hoysala emblem depicts the fight between the mythical warrior Sala and a tiger, the tiger being the emblem of the Cholas. Early inscriptions, dated 1078 and 1090, have implied that the Hoysalas were descendants of the Yadava by referring to the Yadava vamsa as the "Hoysala vamsa", but there are no early records directly linking the Hoysalas to the Yadavas of North India.
Historians refer to the founders of the dynasty as natives of Malenadu based on numerous inscriptions calling them Maleparolganda or "Lord of the Male chiefs". This title in the Kannada language was proudly used by the Hoysala kings as their royal signature in their inscriptions. Literary sources from that time in Kannada and Sanskrit have helped confirm they were natives of the region known today as Karnataka; the first Hoysala family record is dated 950 and names Arekalla as the chieftain, followed by Maruga and Nripa Kama I. The next ruler, was succeeded by Nripa Kama II who held such titles as Permanadi that show an early alliance with the Western Ganga dynasty. From these modest beginnings, the Hoysala dynasty began its transformation into a strong subordinate of the Western Chalukya Empire. Through Vishnuvardhana's expansive military conquests, the Hoysalas achieved the status of a real kingdom for the first time, he moved the capital from Belur to Halebidu. Vishnuvardhana's ambition of creating an independent empire was fulfilled by his grandson Veera Ballala II, who freed the Hoysalas from subordination in 1187–1193.
Thus the Hoysalas began as subordinates of the Western Chalukya Empire and established their own empire in Karnataka with such strong Hoysala kings as Vishnuvardhana, Veera Ballala II and Veera Ballala III. During this time, the Deccan Plateau saw a four-way struggle for hegemony – Pandyan and Seuna being the other kingdoms. Veera Ballala II defeated the aggressive Pandya, he assumed the title "Establisher of the Chola Kingdom", "Emperor of the south" and "Hoysala emperor". He founded the city of Bangalore according to Kannada folklore; the Hoysalas extended their foothold in areas known today as Tamil Nadu around 1225, making the city of Kannanur Kuppam near Srirangam a provincial capital and giving them control over South Indian politics that began a period of Hoysala hegemony in the southern Deccan. Vira Narasimha II's son Vira Someshwara earned the honorific "uncle" from the Cholas; the Hoysala influence spread over Pandya kingdom also. Toward the end of the 13th century, Veera Ballala III recaptured territory in the Tamil country, lost to the Pandya uprising, thus uniting the northern and southern portions of the kingdom.
Major political changes were taking place in the Deccan region in the early 14th century when significant areas of northern India were under Muslim rule. Alauddin Khalji, the Sultan of Delhi, was determined to bring South India under his domain and sent his commander, Malik Kafur, on a southern expedition to plunder the Seuna capital Devagiri in 1311; the Seuna empire was subjugated by 1318 and the Hoysala capital Halebidu was sacked twice, in 1311 and 1327. By 1336, the Sultan had conquered the Pandyas of Madurai, the Kakatiyas of Warangal and the tiny kingdom of Kampili; the Hoysalas were the only remaining Hindu empire. Veera Ballala III stationed himself at Tiruvannamalai and offered stiff resistance to invasions from the north and the Madurai Sultanate to the south. After nearly three decades of resistance, Veera Ballala III was killed at the battle of Madurai in 1343, the sovereign territories of the Hoysala empire were merged with the areas administered by Harihara I in the Tungabhadra River region.
This new Hindu kingdom resisted the northern invasions and would pros
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