Belur and Halebid
Belur, Halebid, Chennakesava Temple, Dwarasamudra, Bangalore, Indian architecture, Jakkanna Acharya, Amarashilpi Jakanaacharya, Madanikas
Belur, Halebid, Chennakesava Temple, Dwarasamudra, Bangalore, Indian architecture, Jakkanna Acharya, Amarashilpi Jakanaacharya, Madanikas
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Belur and Halebid

Halebid also know as Dwarasamudra (gateway to the seas) in ancient times is in Hassan district. Halebid is approx 27 kms away from Hassan and was the capital of Hoysala Empire. It flourished as the capital of the Hoysala Dynasty for about 150 years.

Halebid (also pronounced as Hale'beedu) literally means 'the old city'. Beedu also stands for layout or a place of human habitat. The Hoysalas ruled this city for about 150 years. Then it was sacked by the armies of Malik Kafur in the early 14th century, after which it fell into a state of disrepair and ignore.

Belur is about 223 kms from Bangalore, a drive of about 4 hours. It is located on the banks of river Yagachi. According to inscriptions discovered here, Belur was also referred to as 'Velapuri'. Belur is known as Dakshina Varanasi or South Banaras for its temples. Though Belur and Halebidu and just 16 kms away, they are always referred to as Belur and Halebidu as if they are one. But indeed they are one in their grandeur of erstwhile era.

The temples of Belur and Halebid are best known for their south Indian architecture. The temples at both these places are built by renowned architect Jakkanna Acharya (Amarashilpi Jakanaacharya). The temples are carved with scripts of Hindu mythology. The 12th century temple at Belur has many figures known as Madanikas or dancers. It has many pillars of different designs. Later the capital was shifted to Dwarasamudram (Halebid).

Both these temples have carving of Puranas, the Upanishads and other mythological characters from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. With these exquisite designs one loses himself in its beauty.

The 12th century Chennakesava Temple at Belur is the symbol of Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakadu. The exterior is covered with a variety of intricately-carved sculptures and friezes. The interior contains exquisite panels A tall stone pillar in the temple courtyard is balanced, amazingly, only by its centre of gravity.

It is said that this temple was started in 1116 AD and took nearly 103 years to complete. Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. The main structure is star shaped on a raised plat form. Small shrines of Kappe Chenningaraya, Soumyanayaki, Andal, surround the temple. The two other temples from the Hoysala dynasty are the Vir Narayan and the Chennigaraya temple.

The annual Car Festival at the Chennakesava Temple takes place between March and April.

This temples of Belur and Halebid along with Jain monuments at Shravanabelagola 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 busses 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.

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