Hoysaleswara Temple – Halebeedu
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The Hoysaleswara Temple of Halebeedu is another masterpiece of Indian temple architecture. Located at the banks of an enchanting lake, this temple is encircled with manicured gardens, while the atmosphere is serene. The Hoysaleswara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and exhibits Hoysala architectural style.
History and Legend of Hoysaleswara Temple
The Hoysaleswara temple of Halebeedu narrates the glorious history of ancient India and hence is a must visit.
- Temple was constructed in the 12th century, within the time period of 1120 CE and 1150 CE.
- Temple was built by the Hoysala ruler King Vishnuvardhana. It is believed that the temple was named Hoysaleswara Temple after Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara.
- When the Hoysaleswara temple was built the place was known as Dwarasamudra.
- Temple was ransacked twice by the Delhi sultans in the 14th This led to the name of the city as Haldebeedu, which means the ruined city.
- The construction of the Hoysaleswara temple was financed by the Shaivas (devotees of Lord Shiva).
- It is believed that the Chennakesava Temple was built during this time and was a Vaishnava temple. The Hoysaleswara temple was constructed by the Shaivas as a competition to the Chennakesava Temple.
Significance of the Hoysaleswara Temple
Hoysaleswara temple is known for its exquisite architecture and is one of the important temples of South India.
- Hoysaleswara temple is one of the largest temples of Lord Shiva in South India.
- The temple structure of the Hoysaleswara temple is considered to be very complex due to the presence of projections and recesses.
- While the exteriors of the temple are adorned with fine sculptures, the interiors of the temple are comparatively simple.
- The temple complex has couple of temples within it; one is dedicated to Hoysaleswara and the other is dedicated to Shantaladevi, the queen of King Vishnuvardhana, who built the temple. The temples consist of Shiva Lingum.
- There are other shrines within the temple complex, dedicated to other gods and goddesses. One of the shrines is dedicated to the Sun God. This temple has 7 feet tall statue of the Sun God along with a massive stone bull (Nandi, the Vahana of Lord Shiva).
- Another marvel of the Hoysaleswara temple is the set of sculptures of Lord Ganesha. While the right part of the external wall of the temple starts with an image of a dancing Ganesha, there are almost 240 images of Lord Ganesha in different poses.
- The four pillars which lies within the temple are characterised with images of Madanika, within brackets.
- The Garuda Pillar is an important part of the Hoysaleswara Temple. Garudas refer to the bodyguards of the monarchs and their queens. These inseparable guards used to commit suicide with the death of their master. This complete story is depicted at the Garuda Pillar, where the guards are seen cutting their heads with knives. There is also an inscription engraved over the pillar which commemorates the death of one such guard, Kuruva Lakshma, the bodyguard of Veera Ballala II.
- The ceiling of the Hoysaleswara Temple is also unique. Known as Sunakasi, this part of the temple is decorated with miniature roofs and attics which are in ruined state.
- The layout of the Hoysaleswara temple is also well defined and hence every sculpture is easily visible.
- The museum within the temple complex is another important part of the site. This is a treasure house of the excavated sculptures, wooden handicrafts, maps and photos of the deities and the temples.
Hoysaleswara Temple Timings
- The Hoysaleswara Temple opens at 6:30 am and closes at 9:00 pm.
- Tourists can visit anytime of the year to the Hoysaleswara Temple.
- The museum located at the temple premises is open only Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Hoysaleswara Temple Food Timings
The Hoysaleswara Temple is open to tourists for sightseeing and the deities are not worshiped here. Hence there is no ritual of serving ‘Prasada.’
Dress Code of Hoysaleswara Temple
- Tourists are suggested to be in long dresses to maintain the decorum of the temple. As the weather is hot here, hence light coloured dresses are preferred.
- Shoes have to be kept outside the temple premises. There is a shoe keeper at the entrance where you can keep your shoes for a nominal rate.
Festivals celebrated at the Hoysaleswara Temple
Hoysaleswara Temple is visited by tourists for its spectacular architecture and festivals do not take place at its premises.
Poojas and Rituals at Hoysaleswara Temple
The deities of Hoysaleswara temple are not worshipped at present and hence no pooja or rituals take place here.
How to reach: Road, Rail and Air
The Hoysaleswara temple is easily accessible from all parts of the country.
By Air: The Mangalore airport is the nearest airport to the Hoysaleswara Temple, located almost 168 km from the temple. This domestic terminal is approximately 222 km from the international airport of Bangalore. Mangalore airport has direct flights from Chennai and Bangalore and is also well connected with the other airports of the country. There are direct taxis available from the airport to the temple.
By Train: The Hassan railway station is the nearest railway station to the temple. It is located approximately at 27 km from the temple, while the other nearby stations are the Mangalore and Mysore railway stations. If you are travelling from Kerala, then Thalassery and Kannur railway stations have direct trains to Hassan. This station is well connected with the other parts of the country. Dharwar, H Nizamuddin, Kannur, Karwar, Mysore, Shimoga Town, Talguppa and Yesvantpur Junction are some of the major railway stations from where there are trains to Hassan railway station. Smet Mysore Express, Mys Shimoga Express, Sharavati Express, Kannur Express and Dwr Mysore Express are the major trains that regular take you to the site. Tourists can also avail direct taxis, auto rickshaws and buses outside the station to the Hoysaleswara Temple.
By Road: There are regular buses and taxis available that can directly take the tourists to the temple. There are regular buses by KSRTC that ply between the major cities and Halebeedu. Private buses from the Majestic bus stand of Bangalore ply directly to Hoysaleswara temple. The temple is located at 16 km from Belur, 31 km from Hassan and 149 km from Mysore. Tour the city of Halebeedu in auto rickshaws to get the local vibe.
Hotels in Halebeedu: Where to stay
Halebeedu is a hub of the rich heritage of Karnataka and hence several hotels have developed near the Hoysaleswara Temple. These hotels not only provide decent accommodation to the tourists but also offer premium services, depending on the needs of the visitors. You can avail both budget and deluxe accommodation at Halebeedu. Hotel Mayura Shantala, Sumukha Residency, Vishnu Regency are approximately at 15 km from the temple, while the Hoysala Village Resort, Gateway Hotel, Stay Simple Riverdale, La Flora Pavanputra Resort and Spa are almost 24 km from the site.
Where to eat
Visitors can relish authentic South Indian food at the nearby hotels. There is a government hotel opposite the Hoysaleswara temple, just at 100 metres from the bus stand, where you can get both South Indian and North Indian food. This eat out is open from morning till 10 pm and is both cost effective and hygienic. Customers can choose to eat at the patio or at the garden. Shankar hotel is another popular food joint at Halebeedu, which is open from 7am to 9.30 pm and serves South Indian food. Tourists can also relish non vegetarian dishes like chicken and fish curry at a nearby restaurant, located beside the Canara Bank.
The Halebeedu temple complex consists of some of the most famous temples of Karnataka.
- Kedareswara Temple: This temple lies at 400 metres from the Hoysaleswara temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple was built in 12th The temple architecture is amazing with a star shaped layout and intricately designed sculptures, portraying incidents from the great Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana.
- Jain Basadi: Halebeedu is a popular Jain pilgrimage. The Jain Basadi is located at 1 km from the Hoysaleswara Temple. There are three Jain temples in this complex, namely, Parshwanath Swamy Temple, Adinatha Swamy Temple and Shantinatha Swamy Temple. These temples are treasure of exquisite carvings, like a black stone sculpture of Parshwanath Temple with a serpent carved head, which seems to protect the deity.
- Shravanabelagola: Located at 50 kilometres from Hassan district, this South Indian pilgrimage is known for its Jain temple. The site is famous for its 58 feet high, granite Bahubali statue. There are several temples located at the twin hills of the place, Vindhyagiri and Chandagiri, like the Odegal Basadi, Tyagada Kamba, Siddhara Basadi and Chennana Basadi.
- Belur: Another temple town of Karnataka, Belur lies at 40 kms from the Hoysaleswara Temple. The city is famous for the temple dedicated to Lord Chennakesava, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The walls of this shrine are adorned with perfect carvings of gods, goddesses, mythological figures and scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Upanishadha.
- Lakshmi Devi Temple: Located at Doddagaddavalli, this temple is just 16 kms from the Hoysaleswara temple. This is one of the oldest temples built during the rule of the Hoysalas. This soapstone temple stores some precious Kannada inscriptions, well defined sculptures of Lord Shiva in the form of Bhairava and Bhoothnatha, Goddess Kali and Lord Vishnu.
Hence be at Hoysaleswara temple to feel proud of the rich heritage of India. Not only the temple is beautiful with its fine sculptures, these perfect carvings also take you back in the golden days, narrating the incidents from the golden times.