Belur & Halebidu - I

On the night of 3rd Feb '12, two guys rushed through the crowds at the Majestic Bus Terminus at Bangalore, and found themselves a pair of seats in a bus that would take them somewhere to witness the awesomeness of the Hoysala Empire, which would be clear in their majestic & intricate carvings of their Gods and demi-gods and courtiers and countrymen! The Hoysalas had ruled for nearly 4 centuries, and the temples of Belur, Halebid & Somnathpur had taken them more than some 150 yrs!

This was the route for the whole journey. The bus to Belur started from Bangalore, by 10:30, and somewhere in the bus, I was non-stoppingly & nonsensically chatting with Veerabhadram on topics like History, Mythology, etc, just to realize that I didn't even *still don't* know a percentage of what he does! Well, the only thing I remember cribbing abt was he not bringing his iPad along, for we could read something in the dim light. Nyway, we slept off as early as 12 or 1, just to wake up in the middle of the night, 4 AM!

So there we were, at 4 AM, at Belur bus stand. Never did we think we'd reach there so early. 6 was my estimate, based on the blogs & other pages I had read as part of my field research. Well, there's nothin we could do. It was freezing cold & Veera rejected my idea of sleeping on the chairs in the bus stand, and there was no response in the only lodge right there.

Talking with one of the 3 auto drivers in my broken Kannada, we came to know these:
  • The temple at Belur would open only by 8 AM - meaning, 4 more hrs of wait.
  • There's no lodge nearby - will have to take refuge in the bus stand.
  • We could be taken to Halebidu, a nearby destination, which is some ~15 kms away, for 200 bucks, and the temples there would open by 6.
And we went for the last option, as we were so conscious about time. We reached Halebidu by 4:50, and the place was no different; except that the auto-driver & the other local passenger whom we were gracious enough to sponsor for, got us a room in a lodge using their influence. And so did we sleep awesomatically till 8! Blame the weather, I say!

Hoysaleswara Temple

So, right after some brushing & breakfast & coffee, we started at 8:30 for the temple which welcomed us with


Just like this one, too many man-slaying-a-lion images can be found all over the place, as the Hoysalas were supposedly famous for that. We got a guide whose English was decent enough to convey the stories on the major sculptures. And hey, there were 2 Ganeshas welcoming us too!

one healthy, one broken. Many of the intricate sculptures were heavily damaged in the 13th during the Mughal Invasion led by Malik Kafur. It is to be noted that he didn't demolish the sculptures, but just disfigured them!

A monkey pulls a lady's clothes
& she tries to shoo it off reaching for a stick
Gajasurasamhara
Ravana lifting the whole of Kailasa

Some of of my favourites were

Churning of the ocean

Bhima throwing the elephants behind!

Chakravyuha


The temple has 2 of the largest Nandis in India, or even the world. And they are decorated with ornaments too! They're so well filed that they're nearly mirrors!


Another notable figure was Brahma who always had a striped beard, with a crown matching the style! And yeah, there are sculptures everywhere, even on the ceilings, with a great density!


The Hindu Trinity

That's Shiva dancing up there, btw!
The awesomeness kept increasing and both of us were stunned at the excellence we got to witness!







Hold your breath!





And the one I loved the most was this.


You've got to look at it once again to notice the bangles, the rings that go towards the wrist, the bent small finger in the right hand, the left hand that holds the dholak from inside, etc.I just loved it.

Well, the guide was quite rushing and after this, we checked the museum inside the temple premises, which hold many similar sculptures, and even a Jain statue of some 10-12 ft. tall. Then we proceeded to  the nearby Jain Temples and another Shiva temple which was a lot similar to this one.

Shall continue soon...

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