Halebidu, Karnataka – One of the many wonders of India: The Great Arabian Sea Drive Day 24

The Hoysaleshwara Temples, Halebidu, Karnataka
The Hoysaleshwara Temples, Halebidu, Karnataka

Whenever I see any great works of design and architecture from times gone by, I wonder why the modern world cannot emulate these? Is it lack of skills? Or did royal patronage and vanity allow public expenditures not justifiable to democratic set-ups of present times?

When I reached Halebidu, the intricate workmanship of its temples brought these thoughts back to me. Where are the folks who could do such beautiful work, painstakingly, sometimes taking generations to complete?

Halebidu became the capital of the Hoysala dynasty (10th – 14th century A.D.) during the reign of Vinayaditya, and inscriptions show it was called Dorasamudra and Dwaravathi.

Besides remains of other temples, palaces and basadis (Jain temples or shrines), the best preserved are the Hoysaleshwara temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Work on the Hoysaleshwara temples are believed to have started in 1121 under directions of Ketamalla during Vishnuvardhana’s rule and completed by Kedaroja, the chief architect of Vishnuvardhana’s son and successor Narasimha I, in 1160.

What you see are two identical temples built on a common platform but connected internally.

The temple complex also has an impressive museum in three parts; two of these are open air galleries. Exhibits include wall sculptures, friezes, lintel units, inscribed pedestals, miniature figurines, gold coins, copper plates and wood carvings besides other excavations from around the area.

Sculptures include different forms of Shiva (Natraja, Bhairava etc.) and Vishnu (Madhava, Keshava, Ugranarasimha, Krishna etc.) besides those of dancing Parvati, Saraswati, Ganesha, Skandha, Brahma and of many Yakshas, Yakshis and Jain Tirthankaras.

Funnily, while I walked around, boys in their late teens would come and stand with me while their friends clicked pictures on their mobiles. Should I have been worried lest my modesty be under danger? No, I think they just saw me as an alien who they liked to have a picture with.

Enjoy the place through the images below, and be sure to visit Halebidu soon. It is also spelled Halebeedu.

The Hoysaleshwara Temples, Halebidu, Karnataka
The Hoysaleshwara Temples, Halebidu, Karnataka
Inside the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Inside the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Inside the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Inside the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
A statue of Nandi bull in Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
A statue of Nandi bull in Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Side entrance to the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Side entrance to the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
A carved sculpture on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
A carved sculpture on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Carved sculptures on the outer walls of the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Inside the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Inside the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
A Jain statue in the same compound as the Inside the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
A Jain statue in the same compound as the Inside the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka

Ajay Jain is currently on the Great Arabian Sea Drive, starting from Delhi and following the coastline all the way from Gujarat down to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Follow all updates on:
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3 COMMENTS

  1. Amazing is the way for the intricate carvings…would surely like to visit this temple one day,….though sad to see some miscreants doing their normal stuff on the Nandi Bull figure…plus I also see some cut hands on the statues…any idea did any foreign ruler attacking & vandalize this temple, as the connections between the rajasthani fort temples & this temple is pretty evident in the way hands have been cut off some of the statues…

  2. I visited Halebid during my college days and truly the Temple is a marvel in stone. Not far away from Halebid is Belur, another stone wonder.

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