Hoysaleswara temple is a temple dedicated to Hindu god Shiva. It was built in Halebidu during the rule of King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century.
According to art critic and historian S. Settar, from contemporary inscriptions it is known that the temple derives its name from the Hoysala ruler at that time, King Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara, though interestingly, the construction of the temple was initiated and financed by wealthy Shaiva citizens of the city, prominent among who were Ketamala and Kesarasetti. The temple building activity was taken up in competition to the construction of the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, a Vaishnava temple. Surrounded by numerous tanks, ponds and mantapas, the temple is built in the vicinity of the large Dorasamudhra lake. The tank preceded the temple by nearly 75 years. It is one of the largest temples dedicated to the god Shiva in South India.
The Hoysaleswara temple is most well known for its sculptures that run all along the outer wall, starting with a dancing image of the god Ganesha on the left side of the south entrance and ending with another image of Ganesha on the right-hand side of the north entrance. In all, there are two hundred and forty such images. According to the art critic Gerard Foekema, perhaps no other Hoysala temple is as articulate in sculpture as this is and these sculptures are "second to none in all of India".The most intricate of all sculptures are found in the lintels over two of the doorways, one on the south side doorway and the other on one of the eastern doorways.