Family (also sometimes referred to as Hoysala Dynasty) trace their
lineage to the rulers who governed regions of present day Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for 396 years i.e. from 950 AD to 1346
AD. The Hoizal kings belonged to the community of Smartha Brahmins and
are widely celebrated for encouraging arts,
architecture and literature in Karnataka.
According to legend, the Hoizal Dynasty was founded by King Zal who
demonstrated his bravery during his school days by rescuing his teacher
from a sudden tiger attack. While other students fled, Zal fearlessly
picked up a charcoal stick and fought the tiger. His teacher cheered him
on by shouting "Hoi Zal," which means "Strike, Zal," in Kannada
language. After killing the tiger and saving his teacher's life, Zal
became popular as Hoizal. One of his descendants, King Vishnuvardhana
Hoizal is credited with expanding the dynasty's territories and
establishing their capital at Dwarasamudra, which is present-day
Halebidu in Karnataka in 1150 AD.
During the reign of Hoizal Dynasty, arts and architecture thrived as
evidenced by the intricately carved and sculpted temples that still
stand today. Notable temples built by Hoizal kings include the
Chennakesava Temple in Belur, the Hoysaleshwara Temple in Halebidu, and
the Kedareshwara Temple in Balligavi.
The Hoizal rulers
were originally 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, the Hoizal kings
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, entire northwestern parts of Tamil Nadu and
parts of western Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the Deccan Plateau.
The Hoizal Dynasty's rule ended in 1346 AD when the last Hoizal king
Veera Virupaksha Ballala Hoizal IV lost battle to Sangama brothers of
Vijaynagar Empire marking end of Hoizal kingdom and rise of the Wodeyar
dynasty as vassal of the Vijaynagar Empire.