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Belur & Halebidu, Karnataka

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Halebidu is a town located in the Hassan district of Karnataka, famous for its Hindu and Jain temples fused with Hoysala architecture. Once known as Dorasamudra, it became the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 11th century CE. The prime attractions here are the twin temples of Hoysaleshwara and Kedareshwara. Two imposing statues of the Nandi (bull god), Lord Shiva’s chariot, are located in the twin temple complex. Inside the temple, there are 108 pillars that look similar to one another but have unique design patterns. Intricate carvings of Hindu deities like Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva adorn the temple walls. Additionally, they have intricately carved representations of animals like horses and elephants, as well as scenes from Hindu epics like the Mahabharata. Belur, on the other hand, is a small town in Hassan District, known for its Chennakeshava Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is among the best examples of Hoysala architecture. It has two smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Chennakesava’s consorts, Soumyanayaki and Ranganayaki, and it stands on a platform in the form of a star. The interior of the temple contains 48 pillars of various sizes, shapes, and designs, and the temple’s facade is embellished with intricate sculptures. It was built by King Vishnuvardhana to commemorate his victory over the Chola dynasty and is a testament to the exquisite Hoysala architecture.

Nearby Places to See

Vera Ballala II, the Hoysala king, constructed the Vera Narayana temple in the year 1200. It is a trikuta temple with three sanctuaries that displays the traditional Hoysala design. This enormous temple’s appealing symmetrical architecture is more well-known than its artistic creations. The exterior walls are covered with a variety of idols, most of which show Bhagawan Vishnu in his various forms.
A magnificent chatushkuta (four sanctums) Lakshmi temple can be found in this village, which is about 17 kilometres from Halebidu. The temple, which is located on a lake’s edge, was constructed in 1113, during the reign of renowned Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, by a wealthy Maratha couple. An important point to note here is even though it was built during Hoysala rule, the temple follows pre-Hoysala architectural style.
Located about 5 kilometres from Halebidu, this village is home to an attractive Kalyani (pond). The square shaped pond with 30 steps on all sides is built in a unique style and appears like a shrine itself. There are 27 smaller shrines around the tank, with seven on each of its three sides. The 7 buildings only have 3 towers. On the approach side, there are six shrines. When it rains, only the very tops of these miniature shrine towers are visible above the water. An inscription found here dates this Kalyani to the reign of Hoysala King Narasimha I (1152–1173).