Halebidu, a small town located in the Hassan District of Karnataka was the capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century. This place is well known for the beautiful Hoesaleshwara and Kedareshwara temple complexes. After prospering for around 2 centuries, the city fell into ruins with the invasion of the Mughal king from the North, Malik Kafur. This is the reason the city is called as Halebidu which traslates to “City in Ruins”.
We spent a couple of days over a long weekend visiting Chickmagalur, which is a hill station in the southern state of Karnataka. Famous for its Coffee plantations, Chickmagalur is also very close to some of famous architectural wonders of the Hoysala dynasty. Our plan during the 3 day visit was to spend a day exploring the beautiful temples at Halebidu, which stand as the shining examples of the rich culture of Hoysala dynasty. We were staying at the Taj Gateway hotel – Chickmagalur which was an hours drive from Halebidu. The plan was to leave the resort after breakfast at around 9:30 AM and reach Hoysaleswara Temple by around 10:30 AM, spend couple of hours before heading back to the resort for lunch. Following is the route that we took. Though there were patches of bad roads, for the most part, roads were in decent condition.
Details of the visit to Hoysaleswara Temple
After an hours drive, we reached the beautiful Hoysaleswara temple complex at Halebidu. The first thing that strikes you when you get out of your car is that the temple complex is pretty flat and is pretty big enclosure. The guide who walked us through the temple complex mentioned that initially the temple had superstructure towers, which unfortunately could not endure the test of repeated invasions and collapsed. Hence the temple in its current state looks pretty flat.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has 2 lingas – Hoysaleswara (The King) and Santaleswara (The Queen, Shantala Devi) Shiva, named after the masculine and feminine aspects. The twin temples are of the same size and have their sanctums facing towards east. There are 2 smaller shrines which seat 2 massive Nandi (the bulls).
As you enter into the temple complex, you cannot help but notice the level of sophistication that the Hoysala architecture has to offer. It is hard to believe that the sculptures were able to achieve such level of sophistication and precision using bare minimum tools. Here are some of the breathtaking photos that we took inside the temple complex.
After spending a good time inside the shrine, we went around the temple complex. The guide explained us the mythological stories that have been carved out all around the temple.
We spent a good 3-4 hours exploring the temple in detail. Wish we could have spend a few more hours, but the little one was getting a bit cranky, did not want to be at the receiving end of a hungry toddler 🙂 . If you are anywhere around Chickmagalur or Hassan, do plan a trip to this wonderful temple complex.
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