Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Halebid - Belur Trip

Plainly Speaking ,

The world can be divided into two sets of people.

Those who have visited the temples in Halebid and Belur and
Those who have not visited it.

Lots have been said about other monuments in India , especially Taj Mahal.
But everything will become false when compared with the temples in Halebid.

To compare , most of what you find in Taj Mahal are engravings , meaning its twodimensional.
But in Halebid and Belur you have a additional dimension .
All sculptures are Three dimensional , meaning that all sculptures , from the smallest one to the biggest one are as perfect in the back side as they are in the front.

If you have never heard of the Hoysalas , it is time that you heard about them.
The Hoysalas were Hindu kings who ruled over parts of karnataka for some centuries .
The Hoysalas were talented enough to grab a place for them in history due to their various contributions to art and architecture .
They perfected a distinct style of temple architecture that is clearly different from anything you would have seen till now.

Their temples had no super structure , means the temple itself was flat on the roof , there are no gopurams.
Most of their temples are star shaped and the entire temple itself was placed on a high surface.

The temples I had gone were

1. Hoysaleswara Temple , Halebeedu
2. Kesave Temple , Halebeedu
3. Jain Basadihalli , Halebeedu
4. Chenna Kesava Swamy Temple , Belur

The entrance to the Old city. Halebeedu means Old city in Kannada .

The Hoysaleswara temple as the name signifies is a temple dedicated to shiva.

Front view

Left Side view

As with all shiva temples , before the deity you have to go thru the vahanam .and it will be Nandi for Shiva.
This temple also has a Nandi statue , to say correctly 3 Nandis,.
We will look at the Nandi statues in this temple .

Nandi -1
This Nandi statue is the most polished Nandi of all. In its good times ,it must have been fit to serve as a mirror.

Nandi - 2

Nandi - 3


All Hindu temples , if you have noticed properly , will have dwarapalakas , on either side of the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum or the garba griham.

Hoysalaeswara , Halebeedu

Usually in Hindu temples the deities are not allowed to be photographed , but since this temple is not being worshipped now , we can have a photo of the deity.


After having a look at the interiors of the temple , we will look at whats on the outside.

Dancing ganesha

Lone Ganesha

Brahma , Shiva , Vishnu , Paarvathi

Shiva Paarvathi

Vishnu , Lakshmi

Shiva inside a Elephants belly

This sculpture depicts shiva as inside the belly of an elephant.



Lady with the Mirror

Lady with the Drum

The temple had many statues of ladies , apsaras , sundaris , maids , whatever you call them .
And all of them are said to display a different "bhavam" in their face.

Elephant Chariot


Men fighting an elephant

This is a mystical animal with the jaws of a crocodile fitted to the body of an elephant.

Most of the people leave Halebeedu after visiting the Hoysaleswara Temple, but there are more ruins in Halebeedu .
You have to take the road on the left of the temple and go some distance and you will reach a pair of small temples .

Kesava Temple , Halebeedu

Jain Basadihalli , Halebeedu

The Jain Basadihallis were supposed to contain Pillars that were so polished , that they could serve as mirrors.
But now they are damaged due to vagaries of time. But I was able to see a shadow of myself in the pillar.

Belur :

Belur is the home to Chenna Kesava Swamy (vishnu) temple, another fine example of Hoysala Architecture.
The Original temple consisted only of the main temple and the walls surrounging the temple and the gopuram were built later .
The gopurams have been built in the dravidial style of architecture.

Belur Temple Gopuram

The Vahanam for Vishnu would be Garuda .

Chennak Kesava Swamy , Belur

Maid in the Pillar

Base of Temple

As was the norm in those days each empire had a royal emblem and for the hoysalas it was the lion.




Mysore was our next stop enroute to Bangalore.

The places we visited in Mysore were

1. Mysore Palace
2. Lalita Mahal Palace

Mysore Palace :

The Mysore palace was at its best when we visited it.It was Dussehra and Dussehra festival was the most celebrated one in Mysore.

The palace was built on a huge piece of land , had lots of rooms filled with treasured items , had a golden throne displayed in it.
But all of these was NOTHING compared to what we had seen in Halebid and Belur.

Places I Missed out on this tour.

1. Sravanabelagola.
2. Somnathpur
3. Chamundeeswari temple.



Anonymous said...

good work mega ...

Gopinathan said...

Super da.

Selva said...

Who photo graphed the temple.. Its really nice..

Shalini said...

Hi Mega

The visual tr8 in ur blogs takes us straight to the place! Its both entertaining and informative..
Keep blogging more...


Dharma said...

Thatz Kewl, Mega.

In simple words, I am still in awe after seeing the breath taking pics
of the sculptures, exquisite carvings...

I too have some places in my mind that I would like to have you people know it.
Lemme see how that turns out...

Tell you what, find some means so that many people come to know of your blog.
Your explanations are very much detailed & cute!!


Anonymous said...

Mega that was wonderfull as usual..but please dont add senthil babu's pics to ur blogs any more..thats the only part that sucks in the blog


Megarajan said...


Thanks for the comments.
ur suggestion is well taken :-)
you wont see senthilbabu in the future blogs.


Senthilbabu said...

dei kumara..
poramaila pesadhe da....

Anonymous said...

Man,It is so impressive the way you have tripped around the places and the explanation for the pictures.Good work Man.


Anonymous said...

well about the hoysala emblem- as you can clearly see the emblem is not just a lion but that of a man (actually the founder of the hoysala dynasty; i forget his name) killing the lion. that's how the name of the hoysala dynasty has been derieved "poy - sala"

Mayank said...

gr8 work and excellent photos.
What part of Karnataka is Halebid? And why is it relatively unknown? I was in B'lore for 6 months, but never heard of this place in Karnataka, else would have visited it.

P.S.: If you like temples, you should definitely visit ellora cave temples in Maharashtra.

Megarajan said...

hi anonymous ,

thanks for the info.

hi shashank

Halebid and Belur are 4 hrs from Bangalore , near another now more popular town , Hassan.

You have to go to Hassan to go to Halebid and Belur.

Why they have been forgotten is that in India , there is too much history to be remembered for Indians :-)

Karthik said...

thanks for the pictures..

Anonymous said...

very nice collection....keep it up

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the excellent Photos. I am giving a talk on halbeedu. do you know the story of Jakkanna? if so send me at (few lines on on his lise)

Prashanth said...

beautiful photography, megarajan! by the way, one info abt the lion -the hoysala dynasty's name itself comes from a story associated with a man killing a lion at the behest of his teacher. His name was sala and his teacher threw a dagger at him and said "hoi sala" meaning "stab it, sala"...and thats why the name "Hoysala".

Anonymous said...

Good fotos dude, they are simply superb, congratulate you on commendable work.

Anonymous said...

Out standing and tremendous work Mate, your blog post is appreciatable. Expecting some more Nice outing pictures.

Anonymous said...

amazing work..keep up the good work

Arivoli said...


Very nice photos and good explanation.but why did your most of the blog covers only temples, are you specifically intrested on temples ?


Megarajan said...


I try to cover all type of places,but India'la temples thaan romba big and popular so there are lots of temples.

Devi said...

Really wonderful snaps. We are planning to go to Halebid and Belur soon. It was very informative and will make sure me and my family see all the statues in your pics! Keep snapping! Cheers :)

VVK said...

Decent travelogue. Should see you more frequently.
Got your link from wiki while checking for Kolli Malai.
Good, overall.

Team G Square said...

Agree with you , three dimensional structures . Hoysala are master of Intricate temple architecture .

Rahul said...

I liked these intricate sculptures...impressive work with the lenses... Halebid is my favorite due to its serene surroundings...nice post...

ramnath s said...

Good work ... keep it up ...

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