Halebiduis located in Hassan district in Karnataka. Ketumalla, the chief of staff of Hoysala Kingdom, built this temple during 1121 A.D and attributed to his king, Vishnuvardhana and queen, Shantala Devi. Even then it is learnt that it took 105 years to complete. If one stands on the platform of the temple and sees around he will see the hills opposite and two big bulls facing the temple and Ganeshafigure on the south. It is believed that Queen Shantala Devi, was an epitome of beauty and fashion, she was also a great Bharatnatyam dancer and musician. Sculptors were inspired by this and the Shilabalikas, the dancing figures, are models of Queen Shantala Devi and her courtisans. History of Hoysalas mentions Shantala Devi had great influence in the adminstration and religious reforms during Vishnuvardhana reign. She was follower of Jainism and the King follower of Sri Vaishnaism and was influenced by Saint Ramanuja Charya.
In the 14th century, this glorious city fell into ruins with the invasion of Malik Kafur, Mughuls, from the North India. This place was ran-sacked and plundered repeatedly rendering it in ruins. Hence its name Haledid, meaning ” City in Ruins”.
Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebidu
Monolithic soapstone or Chloritic Schist was used for the construction of these temples.The God on the northern side temple is called as Shanthaleshwara and that on southern side is called as Hoysaleshwara.
The walls of the temple are covered with an endless depictions from Hindu mythology, animals, birds and Shilabalikas. Yet no two postures of the sculptures are similar.
Shantaleswara Temple in Halebid
Built after Shantala Devi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana. The Shantaleswara temple on the northern side stands on a platform like a casket in shining black soft stone – chlorite schist covered with variety of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. The temple took 190 years to build requiring skills of more than 20,000 laborers.
It has a Museum on the lawns that showcases 12th century sculptures and gold coins in use at the time. One km from Halebid is Basti hill with Jain bastis with gleaming black stone pillars.
Also check out Basdi Halli , a group of 3 Jain temples situated very near the Hoysaleshwara temple are famous for carved ceilings, highly polished blackstone pillars. The Parshwanatha Swamy temple is the most important and well preserved one. The idol is 14 feet tall and is carved out of blackstone and bears a 7 headed serpent on its head.
Halebidu Geo Stats & Travel Tips
Town Area Size: 2.248 sq kms
Altitude: 3150 ft / 960 meters
Summer: 20-35°C. Hottest Month: April
Winter: 14-22°C. Coolest Month: December
Rainfall: 86 cms (June-October)
Ideal Time To Visit: October to February
How to Reach Halebid
From Belur 6 km,
From Hassan 32 km
From Mysore 149 km
From Bengaluru 226 Kms (4.5 hours drive)
How to Reach Halebidu
Halebidu is well connected by road and rail to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. Regular buses ply from Hassan.
Route: NH4 to Nelamangala; NH-48 to Hassan via Kunigal,Yediyur and Channarayapatna.