Friday, October 14, 2011

Hoysaleswara Empire: Halebid and Belur - Part 2

Being very satisfied with Chennakesava Temple, we headed to Halebid which is only 10-15 mins away from Belur. The temple there is called Hoysaleswara Temple and is a bit larger than the one in Belur. The temple, dedicated to Shiva, was completed in 1121, four years after Chennakesava Temple.

Passing through the people trying to sell us postcards and guidebooks, we went into the site which had a beautifully landscaped garden and a museum. As it was around 4 o'clock, we skipped the museum and went into the temple directly.

Just like Chennakesava Temple, or I should say even more than Chennakesava Temple, the entire outer wall is covered with a massive number of carvings which tell us a great deal about people's lives back then. The horizontal array of smallish carvings is just fun to watch. One carving was about a man with a vessel of wine, and the guide was telling us how people used to enjoy wine and that drinking "moderately" is not a bad thing but rather a good for your health. I agree :D

The bigger pieces on the top layer are just as impressive.

On display at the temple is Nandi, the bull who served as a vehicle of Shiva and as a gate keeper of Shiva and his wife Parvati. The bull, made out of one huge piece of soapstone, still had such a great complexion that you could see the reflection on its surface.

Anyway, we were so happy with a quick (or long depending on how you see it) day trip to Belur and Halebid. We highly recommend this tour to anyone who lives near Bangalore.