Culture Travel: Hoysala's Halebidu

The road lined with Sunflower fields gave a fresh breath to my mind and woke me bright after a elaborate lunch. This was Basavanagudi (Bull Temple) road of Halebidu. 190 years of stone work marks the Hoysala's Art reign on the exteriors of Halebidu temples.

When the Hoysala dynasty ruler built Dwarasamudra, it was purely a name emerging from the huge lake he built next to the temple premises to signify Samudra (Sea/ Ocean) and the Dwara (entrance) to his Kingdom. The guide explained me a detailed 190 year old temple's history. The exterior walls sport sculpture symbolic of the four Purusharthas or aims in life: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.

A king is supposed to have qualities like stability of the elephant, majesty of the lion, speed of the horse., all of which count for his Dharma. Artha is the wealth to uphold Dharma. Kama is the desire in life. All these are carved at different levels on the walls. The topmost is Moksha which is the windows to the temple or Garbha Gudi inside.
Walls of Halebidu temple
Makara is the imaginary animal of the Hoyasala period. It has the body of a lion, ears of an elephant, horns of a bull. Makara has different versions in different stages of Hindu mythology and this is just one of them

Halebidu has a Dwikunda or two Garbha Gudi's. There are 2 operational worshiping temples inside the main Hoysala Halebidu temple.

Star Architecture of Hoysala period ensures the temple has a solid base to support the intricately carved designs. All joints are dovetail joints which made up for the lack of cementing yet holding the entire structure in place. What amused me most is the idea of the Architect to have any many star edges so as to mount the innumerable sculptures.

Multiedge star shaped architecture of Hoysala period
Some info:
Reaching Halebidu is pretty easy from Bangalore. Karnataka tourism operates tour packages to this place. 
There are Government approved guides offering services for Rs.200 along with a receipt.
No great restaurants in the vicinity but bottled water and packed snacks are available.
There are good resorts in the vicinity for a luxurious stay. Check out the place I stayed at.


  1. This is just amazing. So well researched. It is interesting to see that the carvings are still intact.


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