Karnataka: Halebid


Halebid, about 39 km towards north- west side of Hassan, is a city which is popularly known for a number of famous and holy temples. Halebid means the old capital in Kannada language. Previously the name of the city was Dwaeasamudra (Gateway to the sea). The historical city was well spread from the Valley of Krishna River to the gorge of Kaveri River. The bright history of Halebid is now attracting plenty of historians and swarms of tourists. That old city, however, is now just a remote village.

Located at an elevation of 960.25 meters, the Vishnubardhan temple, built in 1121 by Hoysaleswar, is supported by 108 pillars. The divine premise of the holy temple comprises of 48 mandapas.

Placed on the banks of Dwarsamudra Lake, on the star shaped foundation, amidst the well drawn out green lawn, is the well known Vishnubardhan temple. Both the deities of the temple are residing on the sanctified throne. If you mark your way to enter into the hallowed temple through the chief entrance then you would hit the Santaleshwar Shiva at first. Then take a walk inside the temple to watch the holy Hoysaleswara Shiva. The descendent of Shiva, two idols of Nandi, are placed right at the opposite side of the Hoysaleswar Shiva. One of these two idols is the third largest idol of India. Even after putting in huge labor for 86 long years, the temple is still incomplete. The architectural grandeur of the Hoysaleswara Shiva temple is worth watching. The perfect artistic touch on the walls of the temple is really very special. 280 idols of Hindu deities are dexterously engraved on the walls of the temple. It looks like all the deities have come and sat on the walls to witness the well planned and great example of ancient Indian art form.
Besides a number of imprinted deities, the walls of the temple showcase various well known tales of Indian epics such as Vishnupuran, Mahabharata and Ramayana. The displayed architecture below the parapet shows the talents of old Indian artists and architects. The fashionable pictures of the ancient social life, images of war winning ceremonies and artistic representations of music and dance forms would truly be treats to the eyes of all the observers. The difference of attires with the varying forms of dancing is also notable on the arty walls. The displayed architectures on the upper portions of the walls are priceless creations. This particular portion of the wall is well adorned with stones and very primeval Jafari architectures are significantly shown here. The temple is praiseworthy for the fine arts and excellent architectures. Jabanacharya was the architect who was solely responsible for these artistic touches. The majestic Chenna Keshava temple was his impressive creation as well. The temple premise looks striking as it is bedecked with the idols of elephants, walking ducks, crowned Ganesha, Nandi and Nataraj. The war between Ram and Lakshman and the imprinted idol of Srikrishna lifting the Gobardhan hill are also shown creatively on the walls of the temple.

84 female idols were the foremost attractions of the temple but 70 out of those were stolen due to the carelessness and lack of security. 14 women idols, however, are remaining and are shown to the tourists. An idol of Makar, the carrier of Ganga Devi, is a perfect amalgamation of 7 animals. The archeological department has built a museum at the southern entrance of the temple. The museum has a huge assortment of items collected from the scattered temples of the close proximity. Innumerable consecrated temples are also dotted around Halebid.
The prime temple of Halebid looks marvelous as a diminutive lake is located at the western side of the temple. The small city now houses a branch of Canara Bank.

Parasunath Jain temple, about 1 km away from Hoysaleswar temple towards Hassan, at the south side of Hoysaleswar temple, is pulling huge crowds throughout the year. The panache and stylishness of the architectures, especially on the ceiling and pillars, are astounding to look at. The southern doorway of the temple depicts magical Jhalor architectures.

Cross the Hoysaleswara temple and hit the sacred Kedareswara temple. The construction of the Kedareswara temple was started long back in 1217 and the construction work had continued till 1221. The deity less temple, however, is still incomplete. A number of mythological tales, engraved on the temple walls, make this holy place a prime attraction for the temple lovers. The dwarpalika (the female doorkeeper) at the southern doorway looks magnificent. The Kaliya Daman episode of Sri Krishna is also embossed on the stunning walls of the temple.
The sanctified Sri Ranganath temple, located adjacent to the Kedareswara temple, is another enticement of Halebid. Nevertheless, if you avail a conducted tour then you would not be able to witness the fascinating grandeur of the Jain temple.

The temples of Belur and Halebid are kept open every day. Entry to these temples is not restricted to any group or community. Visitors don’t have to buy tickets to watch the holy temples of these two cities. There is no dearth of lights in the temples of Halebid. But, to watch the architectures and creativity of the temples of Belur, you need to carry a light along with you. If you can spend 3 rupees extra for the ticket then the arrangements of lights would be made for you to watch the temples of Belur properly.

How to reach: Halebid can be accessed from Belur (16 km) and Hassan (39 km) by bus. For a comfortable tour of Belur and Halebid you should hire a car. Check our transport links below.

Where to stay: Hotel Vishnu Residency and Travelers Bungalow of KTDC.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.

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