Exploring Karnataka: Halebid and Belur in a Day

While waiting for our Bangalore night bus from Hassan, here we went back to the bus station and caught one of the frequent buses to Halebid, which run a direct non stop service to and from, an incredibly bumpy ride, which took about an hour and a half. Bumpy because not only was the single track paved road itself full of pot holes but it meant whenever overtaking or negotiating past an oncoming vehicle each had one wheel on the road and another on the stony unmade hard shoulder.

Halebid’s Hoysaleswara Temple has a simply fantastic temple the exterior covered in delicate carving of gods, men, women, freezes right around with elephants or lions head to tail all different or scenes from the Ramayana. The secret is that the temple was constructed around 1100AD using soapstone blocks which could be fashioned in the most intricate fashion – the word filigree usually associated with fine silver work is the best I can find, but with luck the photos will say a lot more than I could conceivably describe. We spent three hours there just breathing in the beauty of the temples and the huge grassed and stone paved courtyard.

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Ceiling of the Hoysaleswara Temple

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Hoysaleswara Temple Complex

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Sculptures/Piligrim/Priest

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The base of the temple walls comprise of moldings with friezes that comprise of (from bottom to top) elephants, lions, scrolls, horses, scrolls, puranic scenes, mythical beasts (makara) and swans

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40 kms from Halebid, Belur has temples that are very similar to those of Halebid’s Hoysaleswara, and although the interiors are said to be of more  importance than the exterior, they were so dark as to be scarcely visible. The interiors even more than Halebid featured huge pillars turned on a lathe of a look more often associated with wood, this technique being feasible because of the integrity and softness of the sandstone of which these temples are built.

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The 12th century Chennakesava Temple at Belur is the symbol of Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakadu.

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The exterior is covered with a variety of intricately-carved sculptures and friezes.
Below: The boyfriend sporting his bindi.

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In the bus on our way back to Hassan.

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These temples of Belur and Halebid in Hassan district are being proposed as UNESCO world heritage site. Halebid is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM Closed on Fridays.

Best time to visit: October to February.

Distance from Halebid:
Hassan: 27 Kms
Bangalore: 216 Kms
Belur: 16 Kms
Mysore: 149 Kms

Distance from Belur:
Hassan: 38 Kms
Bangalore: 223 Kms
Halebid: 16 Kms

How to reach Belur and Halebid:
Air: Hassan does not have an airport. The nearest airport is Bangalore.
Rail: Hassan is connected to Bangalore, Mysore, and Mangalore by regular trains. The railway station is around 2 km east of town.
Road: One can reach Belur and Halebid via Hassan. Hassan is linked with Bangalore, Mangalore, Chikmagalur and Mysore by road.

There are plenty of buses ply to Hassan from Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore. Frequent bus facility is provided by Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is a very convenient one.

Road map to reach Belur:
From Bangalore to Belur via Nelamangala – Kunigal – Channarayapattana – Hassan – Belur.
Road map to reach Halebid:
From Bangalore to Belur via Nelamangala – Kunigal – Channarayapattana – Hassan – Halebid.

Info from: http://www.karnatakaholidays.com

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