After a magnificent trip to Srirangapatana , I got a sudden interest on historical places. One of my friend, Pavan (a  travel animal like me ) suggested  these archaeological/historical  temples which are some what reasonably near to Bangalore .
Participants : Myself, Pavan, Srinu, Murali and Phani.
So here is the story …
Belur and Halebid are two beautiful temple towns  in Karnataka which are just 16 km apart . Once at the centre of a great empire ruled by Hoysalas in the 12th century, Belur and Halebid are heritage towns and are home to several excellent temples which reveal the artistry of Indian sculptors and the mastery of the temple builders of yore.

How to reach Belur:

By bus: Belur is just 222KM from Bangalore, 149Km from Mysore and 124Km from Mangalore.There are many KSRTC buses running this way.Any bus that goes towards Chikmagalur has a stop here.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Hassan, which is 40 kms from Belur.

History of Belur:

Belur was the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. According to inscriptions discovered here, it was also referred to as Velapuri.
The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakesava temple complex which contains the Chennakesava Temple ( dedicated to Chennakeshava , meaning handsome Vishnu) as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana.
The lowermost frieze panel around the temple is made up entirely of elephants.
There are two more shrines here that are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style rayagopuram at the entrance which was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevata or family god.
Chennakesava temple video:

The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It was built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE. Legend has it that it took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana’s grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank.
The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. Darpana Sundari ( Lady with the mirror ) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attraction in complex.Here are some pictures captured when we were there.
( From down: Pavan, Sethu, Murali and Phani  )
The credit of carving most of the sculptures goes to Jakanachari. A legend says that Dankanachari(son of Jakanachari) found that the main statue of Lord Vishnu was faulty and had frog inside it. Jakana, shocked to believe this, cuts his right hand. He will begin to build the other temple and contemplates the task. Later, the old temple(which had faulty statue) came to be known as kappechennigaraaya’s temple. (kappe=frog)
Kappe Chennigaraya temple
The Kappe Chennigaraya temple situated to the south of the keshave temple in the complex ahs 2 celles. The main cell has a beautiful sculpture of Chennakeshava, 6.5 feet high over a pitha.The Prabhavali has Dasavatara Sculptures.The pitha has an inscription of Shantala the senior queen of Hoysala King Vishnuvardana, stating that it was consecrated by her in the year 1117A.D.

History of Halebid:

Halebidu was the 12th century capital of the Hoysalas. The Hoysaleswara temple was built during this time by Ketamala and attributed to Vishnuvardhana, the Hoysala ruler. It enshrines Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara, named after the temple builder Vishnuvardhana Hoysala and his wife, Queen Shantala. Then it was sacked by the armies of Malik Kafur in the early 14th century, after which it fell into a state of disrepair and neglect.
This temple along with Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu and the Jaina monuments at Shravanabelagola are being proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

Halebid temple Hoysala architecture

Halebid temple

Halebid temple architecture

Halebid Hoysala architecture
Halebid temple

On the whole, it’s a worth visit place for sure. You will feel proud of our architects.

Stay tuned for more historical places photos :)

Note: All history related information mentioned above was taken from wiki.

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