Vesara (aka Karnataka Dravida style) is a type of Indian architecture primarily used in temples lying in the region between the Vindhyas and the river Krishna (VK Agnihotri, Indian History, p. B-34). The two other prominent styles are Dravida and Nagara. Vesara is a combination of these two temple styles.
Etymologically, the term Vesara is believed to have been derived from the Sanskrit word vishra meaning an area to take a long walk. The quarters of Buddhist and Jain monks who left urban areas to live in cave temples were called viharas.
This is also in conformity with the prevalence of Vesara style of architecture in the Deccan and central parts of South Asia vis-à-vis Nagara style prevalent in North India and Dravida style prevalent in South India.
Accordingly, the Vesara style contain elements of both Dravida and Nagara styles. The Vesara style is also described in some texts as the 'Central Indian temple architecture style' or 'Deccan architecture'. However many historian agree that the vesara style originated in what is today Karnataka. The trend was started by the Chalukyas of Badami (500-753AD) who built temples in a style that was essentially a mixture of the nagara and the dravida styles, further refined by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta (750-983AD) in Ellora, Chalukyas of Kalyani (983-1195 AD) in Lakkundi, Dambal, Gadag etc. and epitomized by the Hoysala empire (1000-1330 AD).
The Hoysala temples at Belur, Halebidu and Somnathpura are supreme examples of this style. These temples are now proposed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is understood that the Virupaksha Temple at Aihole and Pattadakal in northern Karnataka served as an inspiration for the design of the famous Khajuraho temples at Madhya Pradesh. Early temples constructed in this style include temples at Sirpur, Baijnath, Baroli and Amarkantak.
- "A Brief History of Hindu Temples". SanathanaDharma.com. Retrieved 2007-01-06.
- "Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent -- Glossary". indoarch.org. Retrieved 2007-01-11.