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The diverse nation of India is home to some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Among the many magnificent locations, Belur Halebid in Karnataka has some of the most magnificent historical monuments. The Hoysala dynasty lived at Belur Halebid, a pair of nearby twin cities, for three centuries (from the middle of the 11th to the middle of the 14th century). Given that Nripa Kama, a Jain, founded both locations, they have an uncanny likeness. The kingdom of Nripa Kama was wedged between the Chalukyas of Badami in the north and the Cholas of Thanjavur in the south. Younger generations frequently believe Vinayaditya, Nripa Kama’s son and successor, to be the dynasty’s founder. Halebid and Belur are both priceless diamonds that defy time and history.
The magnificent temples of Belur Halebid are made of a soft stone called “Chloritic Schist,” which allows for the delicate craftsmanship that visitors can see in the exquisitely carved temple walls. The ivory and sandalwood handiwork history is represented by each and every sculpture found inside the temple. The temples are very similar to those in Khajuraho. The impressive engineering methods utilized to construct the temples, such as the locking mechanisms that used gridlocks, interlocks, and the pin and socket system, are quite impressive to visitors. Belur Halebid’s outstanding locking methods were employed to fasten individually carved panels to the walls and ceilings, giving the various stone buildings an inseparable aspect.
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
How to reach: by air/road/train
Famous for: Hoysala Empire, Temples and architecture
Best time to visit: October to March
WHAT TO SEE
Belur– Chenna Kesava Temple
Halebeedu– The Hoysaleswara Temple, Shantaleswara Temple and Kedareswara Temple
Belur is a historic city situated on the banks of the Yagachi River in the Hassan district and is referred to be the “land of Kings and Temples.” Belur, which was once known as Velapura, was chosen as the Hoysala Dynasty’s secondary capital after the capital Dwarasamudra was destroyed. The best of the Hoysalas’ monuments were built in Belur because they were passionate about temples and architecture. There are numerous monuments in Belur Halebid that display magnificent architecture and extraordinarily exquisite sculptures. Every year, a large number of tourists from around the globe visit Belur to take in its cultural significance and the unparalleled history of the Hoysala Dynasty.
Temples and their Architecture
Known as the modern heaven of Earth, Belur has some of the most significant monuments and temples from the Hoysala Dynasty. Some of the significant architectural spots and temples in and around Belur are:-
CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE: This exceptional architectural wonder dedicates itself to Lord Vijayanarayana, who was amongst Lord Vishnu’s twenty-four incarnations. Built by King Vishnuvardhana, the temple’s architecture has Chalukyan elements. The completion of the temple took 103 years, and the walls of the temples have exquisite carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana, Upanishads, and Mahabharata. Darpana Sundari’s sculpture is remarkable for its flawless craftsmanship.
KAPPE CHENNIGARAYA TEMPLE: This small and iconic shrine is located towards the south of the Chenna Kesava temple. It is devoted to Kappe Chennigaraya and has a lot of resemblance to the main temple. Consecrated by Shantala Devi, the ravishing idol of the deity attracts a lot of tourists every year.
VEERANARAYANA TEMPLE, BELAVADI: Located towards the west of the Chenna Kesava temple, the sheer artistic appeal of this temple impresses all the tourists. Dedicated to Laxmi Narayana, the walls of the temple have large images that enhance the beauty of the temple. The picture depicting the ‘Three Crowned Heads’ of Chenna Kesava, Vijaya Narayana, and Lakshmi Narayana is the most famous painting.
Located in Karnataka’s Hassan district, Halebid was built in 1121 A.D. by Ketumalla, who was the chief of staff of the Hoysala Kingdom. Halebid is dedicated to Ketumalla’s queen, Shantala Devi, and king, Vishnuvardhana. It took 105 years for the construction of the temple. It is believed that if people stand on the platform of the temple and look around, then they will see the hills on the opposite side, two big bulls facing the temple, and a Ganesha figure towards the south. The sculptors of the temple are inspired by Queen Shantala Devi and her courtesans.
Temples and their Architecture
Halebid means the ‘City of Ruins,’ and it got its name because it was turned into ruins by the Mughals from North India. Some of the significant architectural spots and temples are:
HOYSALESWARA TEMPLE: Hoysaleswara Temple is one of the most iconic temples located in Halebid, Hassan, and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The King of Hoysala began the construction of the temple in the 12th century. The Hoysaleswara Temple fell into ruins after being looted in the 14th century. The temple got its name from Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara, the King at that time, and it was built to compete with the Chennakesava temple. The Hoysaleswara Temple is surrounded by lakes, ponds, and mandapas, and it is very famous for the architecture and sculptures of the Hoysala period.
SHANTALESWARA TEMPLE: The Shantaleswara temple was built for the queen of King Vishnuvardhana, Shantala Devi. The temple stands on a platform in shining chlorite schist and is covered with a variety of animals, gods and goddesses, dancing girls, and birds. More than 20,000 laborers worked together and built the temple in 190 years. The temple also houses a museum that showcases the sculptures and gold coins used during the 12th century. The tourists should also check the Basti hill which has various Jain bast with black stone pillars.