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Halebid and Belur

Gems of the Hoysala Empire

View Indian Caves and Temples Tour 2011 on Grete Howard's travel map.

About an hour out of Hassan lies Halebid, the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century. The name Halebid literally means 'ruined city'. The complex comprises two Hindu and two Jain temples and is set in peaceful manicured grounds, a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of the hawkers and beggars outside.


The carvings are exquisite and cover almost every inch of the multifaceted building with different aspects of religious art. Elephants, gods, deities, monkeys, bulls, dancing girls and a giant Nandi sculpture – Shiva's bull vehicle.


A little further along the road is Belur, with its seven storey gopuram (soaring pyramidal gateway tower) looming at the end of a busy street.
The temple was built in 1117 AD and took 103 years to complete. The façade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes, some of which the guide book described as 'sensuous dancers' – not sure I would call their poses sensuous, although they were certainly buxom ladies.

Belur_Gopuram.jpg Belur_-_Buxom_Lady.jpg

As we both have chest infections now (thanks for sharing yours David!), we decided against visiting the Jain site of Shravanabelagola this afternoon. We didn't think the 614 steps (equivalent to a 28-storey building) would be a good idea. It seems a shame to miss it out, but we really don't want to kill ourselves in the process. We decided to retire to the room instead, updating the blog and watching the fireworks. India is the only country I know of that sets of fireworks (and some of the most ferocious fire crackers I have ever heard) in broad daylight! If I hadn't known better, I would have thought I was in the centre of a battlefield as the pyrotechnics were right outside our hotel window!

Posted by Grete Howard 01:51 Archived in India

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