Halebeedu (formerly known as Dwarasamudra) was the ancient capital of the Hoysalas just 17 km away from Belur. The Hoysala dynasty ruled over much of South India for close to 200 years and during this time they built spectacular temples; both Hindu as well as Jain. In the 14th century, the armies of Alauddin Khilji and Muhammad Tughlak defeated the Hoysalas and raided their empire. It is recorded that enormous wealth and riches were looted. The city never recovered and fell into neglect. In fact, Halebeedu means “old house/ old ruins“. However, few temples survived this devastation like the ones in Halebeedu and today when you see them, you will be mesmerised by some the most stupendous expressions ever sculpted in stone.
The Hoysaleswara Temple poised on a star-shaped base on the lawn is an architectural marvel. This twin-shrined temple is perhaps the largest Shiva temple built by the Hoysalas. Its base consists of 8 rows of friezes carved with elephants, lions, horses and floral scrolls. Its walls are adorned with intricately carved Hindu deities, sages, stylised animals, birds and friezes depicting the life of Hoysala kings. Imagery from epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Bhagavad Gita adorn the outer walls with highly ornate temple doorways. It is believed that no other temple in the country captures the Indian epics as elegantly as Hoysaleswara Temple. The Nandimantapa is positioned right in front of the temple wherein there is a huge Nandi richly decorated with stone ornaments. Behind this is a shrine dedicated to Surya with a 2 m tall image. There are exquisite carvings in the interiors of the temple as well. The most striking item is the highly polished lathe-turned pillars.
Other temples: Apart from Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu is also known for Kedareshwara Temple and multiple Jain temples. Kedareshwara Temple was built by King Veera Ballala the second and Queen Ketaladevi.
Museum: An archaeological museum maintained by ASI inside Halebeedu Temple complex houses over 1500 sculptures and artefacts of the Hoysala era.
Visiting Hours: Halebeedu Temple complex is open from 6.30 AM till 9 PM.
Places to visit nearby: Beluru Chennakeshava Temple is often visited along with Halebeedu (17 kms away).
How to reach Halebeedu: Halebeedu is 210 kms from Bengaluru and 170 kms from Mangaluru. Banavara is the nearest railway station (30 kms). Halebeedu has good bus service from district head quarter Hasana (33 kms)
Places to stay near Halebeedu: KSTDC runs Hotel Mayura Shantala in Halebeedu right across the temple complex. More options are available Hasana city (33 kms away)