This quaint hamlet – 38 kms from Hassan – is located on the banks of the river Yagachi. It was once capital of the Hoysala empire, today made unforgettable for its exquisite temples.
The Shennakeshava temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It took 103 years to complete this architectural marvel. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and frescos, with no portion left blank.Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous dancers.. they are all there – awe-inspiring in their intricate workmanship.Hand-lathe-turned filigreed pillars support the temple.
The Veeranarayana Temple and the smaller shrines are worth a visit.
Halebid is 27 kms north-west of Hassan and 17 kms east of Belur. The temples of Halebid – like those of Belur – bear mute testimony to the rich, cultural heritage of Karnataka. The Hoysaleswara Temple, dating back to the 21th century, is astounding for its wealth of sculpture details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of Gods and Goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. Yet no two facets of the temple are the same. This magnificent temple – guarded by a Nandi Bull – was never completed despite 86 years of labour.
The Jain basdis nearby are equally rich in sculpture detail.
51 kms south-east of Hassan, Shravanbelagola is one of the most important Jain pilgrim centres .The world’s tallest monolithic statue27 m. high monolith of Lord Bahubali is situated here . Thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years, when the 1000-year -old statue is anointed with milk, curds ,ghee, saffron, and gold coins. The next Mahamastakabhisheka will be held in 2005 A.D.
Shravanabelegola is 158 kms from Bangalore.
Mosale 14 Kms from Hassan is home to the famous twin Hoysala temples of Chennakeshava and Nageshwara believed to be over thousand years. The Chennakeshava Temple has Vishnu as the main deity which is 6 feet tall. There is also a Shiva temple with a linga on a star shaped platform which is 850 years old dedicated to Nageshwara, with a Nandi idol in front.
Gorur located 20 Kms from Hassan on Hassan-Arkalgud road here you find one of the largest reservoirs of Karnataka. The hemavathi river has been dammed at Gorur village. The dam is 146 feet high and streches for 4,362 mts. The Hemavathi reservoir is really beautiful and spectacular. It is a must see. The best time to visit the dam is during monsoon, where you get to see the full swing of water.
Yoganarasimha Swamy Temple is another popular tourist spot built during Hoysala time. At the entrance there is another temple called Para-Vasudeva temple. The famous Kannada literate Ramawamay Iyengar belongs to this place. You need special permission to enter this place.
Shettyhalli located 13 kms from Hassan is home to the famous Drowning church built by French missionaries in 1860 for the wealthy British estate owners.It was built on the backwaters of Hemavathy Reservoir. The ruins of the church disappear under water during monsoon and resurface with the changing season.
The back waters also provide spectacular sunset view and is also good for angling.
Koravangala is around 10 km north-east of Hassan through a road cutting off from the Hassan-Arsikere road. This place is famous for 3 Shiva temples built in Hoysala style during the 12th century. The temples mukha mantap has 18 exclusively carved pillars. There is a Surya shrine with a 6 feet high Sun god idol, in front of the sanctum there is a nandi (bull). There is a lot of ornamentation on its outer walls.
There is also a Bhairava shrine and 2 dilapidated temples of Govindeshwara and Nageshwara.
Manjarabad Fort is 46 Kms from Hassan on Mangalore road to Sakleshpur. It was built by Tipu Sultan in 1792 to ward of enemies from Madikeri and Mangalore. The fort is at a height of 3,240 feet and is star shaped. It is built out of mud and granite.
The enemy movement can be watched by the 6 watch towers built across the fort. If you climb up the fort the view is spectacular. There seem to be a secret tunnel which connected Mysore and Chennaryapatna. This was built to protect the royal family to escape because they were under a constant threat from the Britishers.
The structure has 8 limbs in all directions with a plus shaped well in the center. There are number of arched gateways which seems to be resting place for the horses. To protect from enemy invasion the fort had water channels all around.