Travel – Halebid – Dwarasamudra.

Hale-beed (Halebid) means old layout or an old camp. It also means ruined place! Once buzzing thriving cultural place today in complete silence. But then why visit? First, lets read some history.

The place is called “Dwarasamudra” capital of Hoysala dynasty who ruled the Karnataka area of south India between 10 and 14th centuries. The year 1116 AD the Dwarasamudra was officially declared as the capital of Hoysala Dynasty by the then King Vishnuvardhana. The Hoysaleswara temple building started in 1121 AD and completed 1160 AD. Hoysalas built around 1500 such temples across southern India.

Hoysalershwara (king’s) temple is a twin temple attached to Shathaleshwara (queen’s) temple side by side. The temple is built in star shape the trademark of Hoysala style architecture. The soft stone called soapstone was used to build the temple which allows carving intricates shapes. The temple has seen many repair works throughout. Temples superstructure which was also a star-shaped collapsed a couple of centuries back and currently, the temple has a flat top.

But just like most of the Hindu kingdoms ended in India, Halebid was also attacked and plundered by the Muslim armies of Delhi Sultanate especially Alauddin Khilji and Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Finally when King Ballala III was killed in a war with the Muslim army led by Malik Kafur Dvarasamudra and its temples became ruins and become “Halebid”. Eventually, Vijaya Nagar empire takes over the territory.

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I was able to see the glory at early morning 6:30 AM. Morning light and the temple outside was just a bliss.
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Temple outer walls look like modern-day factory made jigsaw puzzle blocks! Layers after layers of star-shaped structures. Lowermost layer hosting the row of elephants symbolizing the strength, next row of lions for superiority, then the horse for their gallantry followed by professionals, peasants and dancers and finally Gods above earth protecting them.
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Both Hoysaleshwara and Shathaleshwara temples have their own Nandi and the Nandi Mandapam.
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Lone entertainer, with his drums. standing there looking at the morning glory ready to entertain once again. Please note its a single stone figure, check his left hand inside those drum tie ropes, all are one stone! I repeat!
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Man can create miraculous things out of devotion but the same time destroy them in secs for the same reason! The example of destruction from the invaders which is part of our history anyway.

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Magnificent play of lights enjoyed by the gods for the centuries.
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Perfection to the core!
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Narasimha… very powerful, but not always!
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Temple’s main entrance facing east to welcome the sun every day. Temple had a totally open view from outside but later those holed windows like enclosers added in the top half about 500 years back.
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Proof that work had to be abruptly stopped when the last king Ballala III was killed in the war.
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Gods and the Goddesses of another world.
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The temples have two sanctums (garbhagriha), each with a Shiva linga of equal size. Each sanctum is a square in shape and facing east. The doorways are guarded by a dvarapalaka (gatekeepers) on either side.The sanctum walls are plain to avoiding distraction to the devotees. So thoughtful in each detail. Imagine the devotees including kings and queens of the past centuries standing here and performing their devotion. Isn’t that a goosebump moment?
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The roof also not left alone, there is an ample artwork on the roof too. I always wonder how they must have worked on them protecting their eyes.

There is also a museum inside the temple complex which has a large collection of items collected in the nearby area. This is one of the best-architectured temples in south India. I rate this temple 5 stars because of the artwork and devotion went into building such a masterpiece.

Accommodation: There are no much hotels available here, We chose “Hotel Mayura Shathala” which is yards away from this temple and I highly recommend it. Only 5 cottages available here so book in advance. Only online bookings can be done.

Nearby attractions

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32 Comments Add yours

  1. raastha says:

    Thanks. Not very far from Bangalore…will certainly plan soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Yes, not far and its worth the journey. Thank you!

      Like

      1. raastha says:

        Hi….I am planning a trip to Halebid…..need some more inputs….Is it ok for me to speak? If yes can I have your contact else you can contact me as well… XXXXXXXX (edited)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        I have messaged you on whatsapp, please check.

        Like

  2. Such a beautiful place to visit

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Tanvir, indeed a mesmerizing place! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shutterbug says:

    wow, wow, wow! Your photos and your descriptions are exquisite. Thanks for the tour!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you shutterbug for your kind words of appreciation… its always a pleasure to share!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. arv! says:

    Beautiful pictures Rajesh.
    I have come across temples having defaced faces of idols at many places. I wonder if there are temples which Mughals and other Muslim invaders plundered and destroyed completely and therefore they don’t exist now? It is sad how they continue to inflict damage till date. Look at Bamiyan and Palmyra. Sad…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks arv, yes there must be plenty of completely destroyed temple espeically in north India. Luckily the south was not in complete control of fanatic kings. But one temple that has seen most barbarism is the Humpi belonging to Vijaya Nagar Empire. Combined attack of Ahmadnagar Sultanate, Bijapur Sultanate, Golkonda Sultanate and Bidar Sultanate destroyed the whole city in to complete ruins. Not a single inhabitants of the city were left alive. Our history has been very violent and some places still its happening.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. arv! says:

        I read a write up which was about the effect of Muslim invasion on India. The author had very interesting analogy…I’m not sure if this is right place to talk about it, so may be some other place….
        The crux was that Indian culture was at a big loss by fanatic rules and destruction of heritage and wealth.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        I know, it’s a delicate matter to discuss for sure. I don’t care what happened in the past as we have no control, but things happen even now, that’s really disheartening. Even so called educated doing it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sushmitha says:

    I haven’t visited Belur-Halebeedu but my parents have. And they say your photography does justice to the beauty of the place. Amazing work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Sushmitha to you and your parents for appreciating the pictures. Please do visit Belur & Halebeedu, they one of the best-structured temples I have ever seen! I don’t know how many times I have visited here. Each time new info I dig. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amy says:

    Fantastic shots, Raj! Hope you will give a lesson on photographing architecture. 🙂
    Thank you for the fabulous tour. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a magnificent and glorious place! Your beautiful pictures brought back memories for me – I am so glad to say I have visited this place 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thats great to hear Pragalpha… this and Belur are one of the best for me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It has been 10-12 years ago that I visited, yes they are amazing places 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Anytime coming to Karnataka let me know, I will give you the list! 🙂

      Like

  8. Amazing pics and place☺👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Jhavinder! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. InspiresN says:

    Great travel destination, architecture and craftsmanship of those rich cultural days are really incredible. Thanks for the wonderful share!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Nisha for your appreciation. If you have not visited this place please do visit on your next vacation back here. It’s really worth visiting. I am assuming you are from Kerala and it’s not that far. 🙂

      Like

      1. InspiresN says:

        Sure Thanks for the recommendation Raj, will add this in the my list of travel destinations along with Coorg. Since I grew up near Chitradurga , I have seen some places like Hampi, Hospet, Sirsi, Mysore ,Bangalore etc and many more yet to visit ! yes we do have a base in Bangalore and Kerala as well so they are all definitely close by!

        Like

      2. Raj says:

        Oh thats nice, this place is not very far from Chitradurga. But Belur and Halebeed are two master class temples one must visit. Coorg is nice but less places to see there, its basically for relaxation. Keep the list updated always..! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. InspiresN says:

        Great Thanks a lot!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! Dwarasamudra seems so charming and I love exploring such places, Raj. Is it easy to find a good accommodation there?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Agness for your likes! This place kind of remote place there is one good place to stay here, but advanced booking may be needed. I have put information in the bottom on the post. There are lot of attractions near by so it should not be a problem getting a safe place to stay.

      Like

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