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Halebidu Information

Halebidu is located in Hassan District, Karnataka, India.  Halebidu (which was previously called Dorasamudra or Dwarasamudra) was the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century. It is home to one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture in the ornate Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples. This name is given because this city was ruined two times by Bahmani Sultanate.  It is about 16km from Belur towards the east and 30km from Hassan, Halebidu, and the ancient capital of the Hoysala rulers is sanctified by the Siva Temple built by the Hoysala king Bittiga.  This king is said to have been reconverted to Hinduism and consecrated by ‘Sri Ramanuja’ one of the three eminent social reformers and religious heads of Hinduism.  King Bittiga was then rechristened as Vishnuvardhana.  The ancient capital was called Dwarasamudra which is the present Halebidu.  This capital city was ravaged by Mohammad Bin Tuglaq when he conquered the region in 1327 AD.  And today the city stands as a backwater village.

The wonderful Siva Temple which speaks volumes of the Hoysala architectural excellence was built by the rechristened king Vishnuvardhana in 1121 AD.  The temple has two Garbhagrihas or ‘Sanctum Sanctorums’ and the ‘Siva Lingas’, the usual icon representation of Lord Siva, in these Garbhagrihas are known as Hoysaleswara and Shanthaleswara named after the king and the queen.  The temple complex comprises two Hindu temples, the Hoysaleshawara and Kedareshwara temples and two Jain basadi. In front of these temples there is a big lake. The town gets its name from the lake, Dwara samudhra which means entrance from ocean[clarification needed]. The two Nandi statues which are on the side of the Hoysaleshwara temple are monolithic. Soap stone or Chloritic Schist was used for the construction of these temples. However a number of sculptures in the temple are destroyed by invaders. So the temple is incomplete. Halebid means old abode. There is an archeological museum in the temple complex.

The Hoysaleswara temple, dating back to the 1121 C.E., is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of depictions from Hindu mythology, animals, birds and Shilabalikas or dancing figures. Yet no two sculptures of the temple are the same. This magnificent temple guarded by a Nandi Bull was never completed, despite 86 years of labour. The Jain basadi nearby are equally rich in sculptural detail. Belur and Halebid are 222 and 216 km from Bangalore, respectively. This temple is now being proposed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Though it had taken 80 long years of meticulous hard work, the temple remains incomplete in construction.  Behind the sanctorum of Lord Hoysaleswara, there is a shrine dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God with a two metre tall image and in front, which is the enormous statue of Lord Nandi, the sacred Bull mount of Lord Siva. The walls are embellished with exquisite friezes of various deities and the marvellous sculptures of human figures are teeming.  The walls with their extraordinary carvings portray scenes from ‘The Ramayana’, ‘The Mahabharatha’ and ‘The Bhagavatha Geetha’.  While these breathtaking features adorn the outer walls, some stupendous art work decorates the lower part of the cornice.  These give the observer an insight into various aspects of a glorious past which include among other facets, the social life, the dance forms, the music renditions, victories, etc.  The onlooker is won over by the living evidences of the architect Yabanacharya.  There are also remarkable reliefs of Lord Ganesha with an ornate Crown, Lord Nandi and Lord Nataraja the dancing form of Lord Siva.  The extraordinary portal seems to attest the marvels inside.  There is a museum in front of the temple, displaying artefacts of temple architecture.