15th November 2008
Halebidu was once the capital of Hoysala Empire. It was called Dwarasamudra (Entrance from Ocean) during those days mainly because of a huge lake. Early 14th century saw an attack from the rulers from Delhi who sacked the city and damaged the Temples. It marked the end of Hoysala Empire and Dwarasamudra turned into Halebidu (old village).
The main attraction today in Halebidu is Hoysaleshwara Temple built during the rule of Vishnuvardhana in 1121 AD. This Temple is very well known for its wall sculptures. It is these wall sculptures comprising of Animals, birds, Shilabalikas and depictions from Hindu mythology has made this Temple immensely famous.
This Temple has two huge statues of Nandi (Bull).
A nicely maintained Garden surrounds the Temple. The lake is next to the Temple. ASI has also maintained a museum in the Temple complex.
This Temple attracts lots of tourists across the world. When we went there was lot of children who came for educational visit. The whole place was filled with sounds of those people.
Most people return back after visiting this Temple. But there are two more Temples which are worth visiting.
Half a km from Hoysaleshwara Temple is the complex that houses three Basadis. The Parshvanatha Basadi was built by Boppadeva in 1133AD during the reign of Vishnuvardhana. There is an 18ft tall Parshvanatha theerthankara statue inside the Basadi.
The Shantinatha Basadi was built in 1196 AD and is very similar to Parshvanatha Basadi but houses the statue of Shantinatha.
The Adinatha Basadi is built during 12th century AD. In addition to the sculpture of Adinatha, there is an image of Saraswati in the vestibule.
There is also a 20ft mahastamba and a well in the complex.
Few hundred meters from Jain Basadis is Kedareshwara Temple. It was built in 1219 AD by Ketaladevi, a queen of Hoysala Ballala II. Though smaller compared to Hoysaleshwara Temple, the stone carvings are interesting.
I could not visit Pushpagiri hill which has the Mallikarjuna Temple. It was once a Jain Basadi. It is 3 kms from Halebidu.
More photos of the trip can be viewed here.