Sunday, January 18, 2009

Belur, Halebid / Halebidu, Shravanabelagola

We travelled these three wonderful places in one day from Bangalore by hiring a car; but to fully appreciate and bestow proper respect to the artists who made these wonders. Here are the descriptions, some photos and important information of Belur, Halebid and Shravanbelagola. Just don’t miss them.


Belur is a small locality in the Hasan District of Karnataka. It was the capital of the hoysala kings, at their times. Today Belur is famous for the temples at that time by them. Yagachi river, one of the important tributaries of Cauvery as beside Belur. The ancient name of Belur was Velapuri. The most important place to see here is Chennakshava Temple and was built by Vishnuvardhan in 1116 AD.
Two statues, symbolizing the royal symbol of Hoysala dynasty, featuring a young man killing a tiger, is guarding entrance to the shrine. The main structure is built over a 5 ft high platform. The walls, everywhere from the base to the top including the elevations are sculptured intricately with different imagery. Here the Hoysala sculpture has reached pinnacle. We could not believe this kind of marvelous art can be made out of stone. The celestial beauties depict the lifestyles of that time showing dancing, shringar, feeding the pets, frightened by a scorpion etc. We were spellbound to see the trailing down water over a body of a statue and the intricate designs of the ornaments curved in stone on the statues.

The main pillars in the Navranga Hall are worth observing closely. Each one is different from the other and work of genius of its own. The temple is diamond shaped with entry from east, north and south. A stone platform is there at the centre of the hall where queen used to dance for the Lord Chennakeshava. The beauty of Shantalata Devi, queen of Hoysala inspired the sculptresses to make the scintillating sculptures. Don’t forget to look at the ceiling, which is also so marvelously sculpted.
Outside the temple , on the Vimana you will see marvelous art works showing rows of elephants, lions, horses, birds. The other images on the wall of the temple tell you the story of different Indian epics like Ramayana, Mahabharat, Puran and Bhagvat Gita and will see statues of different God and Godesses. Like all Hoysala temples this temple is placed on a star shaped platform and the sculptures are so beautifully placed, you don’t have to strain your neck to see them. Visit the Vasudev lake, the holy lake inside the temple complex. Ratha Yatra Festival is woth visiting in this temple. Take the help of a guide to see the temple; otherwise you may miss many important aspect of this marvelous piece of art work.

How to reach Belur:

Bus service from Bangalore to Hasan 180 km is available at an interval of 15 minutes. From Hasan regular local bus service to Belur is available ( 38 Km). If you wish to travel both Belur and Halebid by car, auto. Charges for auto is approximately INR 500 – 600 and that for a car is INR 1200 – 1400.

Where to stay at Belur:

STD code: +91 8177

  • Kadamba Comforts: Ph: 250355 DB @ INR 600 – 1000
  • Suvarna Regency Ph: 266774 DB @ INR 700 – 1500
  • Sree Krishna Ph: 263240 DB @ INR 750 – 1500
  • Vishnu Regency Ph: 223011 DB @ INR 600 – 1200

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17 km from Belur is Halebid, where the dynasty of Hoysala kings were extended. Beautiful roads through the villages are there both from Hasan and Belur. The road ends near a large pond Dwarsamudra. Beside this large pool is the main attraction of Halebid, Hoysaleshwar Temple. The huge compound of the temple is wonderfully decorated with colorful flowering trees and a lush gree lawn. Like all temples in this area, the star shaped temple complex is also placed on a 5 ft high platform. The roof of this temple is flat. The intricate sculptures on every inch of the temple’s wall, pillars, stairs, ceiling are still there unaffected with all their all glories and majestic artistic extravaganza. The stories of Indian epics like Ramayana, Mahabharat, and Bhagwat Gita are depicted in these images. A majestic black bull (Nandi) is placed in the Nat Mandap of the main temple. Observe the pillars, and ceiling inside the temples – I am sure you will be stunned. Unlike Belur, in this temple regular puja and prayer to the Lord Shiva is still continuing regularly. The temple remain open from sunrise to sunset. Unless you are in one day conduted tour to Belur, Halebid and Sravanbelagola, don’t miss the sunset here.

Geological museum in the temple complex is also worth visting. This museum tremain open from 10 am to 5 pm except Fridays. If you have time see the Jain temples near by namely Parshnath and Shantinath Jain Temple. These are almost as old Hosaleshwar Temple. Another small, yet another gem of art is Kedareshwar Shiva temple. This temple was built by Hoysala king Veervalla Second on 1219 AD.

How to reach Halebid:

The bus stand of Halebid is near the temple itself. Halebid is 17 Km from Belur and 30 Km from Hasan. From both these places bus service is available regularly. You can always opt for conducted tour from Hasan or, Bangalore to Belur, Halebid and Sravanbelagola.

Where to stay at Halebid / Halebidu:

STD code +91 8177

The KTDC Hotel Maurya Santhala is an excellent place to stay at Halebid, opposite to the temple complex. Ph: 273224 DB @ INR 300 – 400

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A different route goes from Hasan to reach Shravanbelagola at a distance of 52 Km. It is a famous Jain pilgrim place. Jain Acharaya Bhadrabahu spread the Jain religion in this place about 2000 years back. The temple was built at that era. The green of Shravanvelagola are still maintained. Within this green ambience two barren hills Bindhyagiri and Chandragiri are proudly standing. The main attraction of Shravanbelagola, Gomateshwar Temple with 57 ft Bahubali statue is on the top of Bindhyagiri hill. You have to climb 630 stairs bare footed to reach at the top of the hill. Yes it is tiring but what you will see on top is really something worth. Throughout the whole day devotees pray and offer pujas at the feet of the huge statue of the Lord Gomateshwar. Every 12 years Maha Mandakabhishek festival held in this temple with great enthusiasm.
There are few very old Jain temples and Cave temples on the top of Chandragiri hills too. Here laso you have to climb about 500 steps to reach on the top. You will not have time to see these if you are in a conducted tour.

How to reach Shravanbelagola:

Chanrayapatna is well connected by bus from Hasan ( 36 km), Bangalore ( 140 km) and Mysore (100 km). Chanrayapatna is an important place from where Shravanbelagola is 16 km. The road condition is excellent and you can reach by either bus, auto or car to Shravanbelagola from Chanrayapatna.

Where to stay at Shravanbelagola:

STD code: +91 8176

The temple committee Dharmashala at Shravanbelagola Ph: 257258

On the highway at Chanrayapatna:

  • Hotel Kruthika Ph: 252425 DB @ INR 300 – 600
  • Hotel Akhsata Ph: 256555 DB @ INR 300 – 500

Karnataka Tourism: Ph: +91 80 2227 5869/ 5883.

This article is republished in India Study Channel

Photo attribution:

1 comment:

edosy said...

Excellent historical places in karnataka nice post.

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