Halebidu Temples

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Welcome to Halebidu ie about 30 minutes drive from Belur. Photos are presented in three parts ie Halebidu Temples (only Hoysaleswara temple), Halebidu Temples 2 (Hoysaleswara and Kedareshwara temples), Halebidu Temples Jain (Jain and Veer Narayanswamy temples). U see Lord Krishna lifting Govardhan mountain ie near Mathura. To see pics of Govardhan Parikrama click here

Early morning overview of temple complex. Right in front is temple. On your left are two Nandi Mantapas. The temple is perched on a star-shaped base, is a sculptural extravaganza. Its walls are richly carved with an endless variety of deities, sages, stylised animals, birds depicting the lives of the Hoyasala kings. For a good English speaking guide ask for Veena 91 9900577352 or Muruli 91 9036829785. Veena showed me around day 1 helped with pic descriptions while Muruli showed around briefly on day 2.

Side view north east side. Right is main temple on a platform. Main temple has two east facing entrances. In front of each entrance, as is the case in all Shiva temples, is a Nandi. Centre of pic is mantapa 1 that houses a Nandi. On its left is mantapa 2. Mantapa 2 extends on left of pic which is a shrine dedicated to Surya or Sun God.

View from south eastern side. Extreme right of pic is Surya temple ie behind mantapa 2. Note that eastern side of temple has panels at lower level and then holes to allow sunlight to enter sanctum. (see left side of pic). Temple construction began around 1121 on orders of Ketamalla, a commander of King Vishnuvardhana and completed around 1160 A.D. by Kedaroja, chief architect of King Narasimha I. Temple was built over 190 years since it was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. Temple work is incomplete.

Board outside temple. Highlights - it consists of two identical but separate temples on a large single platform which are internally connected. Shikharas above the garbhagrahas or above the sanctums have vanished. Probably they were intentionally demolished to prevent the temple from being visible to Muslim invaders. Tall shikharas are easily visible.

Having given u an overview of the eastern side we show u western side. U see south west view. Eastern side design had panels at lower level, holes design to allow sun rays to enter the sanctum. Western side too has panel at lower level with images of Mahabharata, Ramayana etc but images of various Gods, Goddesses etc at a higher level. U see stone chariot at extreme left and centre of pic. Extreme right of pic ie south entrance u see 2 small temples at platform level. Belur temple too has similar temples.

Western side of temple. Sculptures on this side are magnificent as u shall see later. Left to right first is stone chariot, sculptures, stone chariot, sculptures but temple goes inside, then straight wall of sculptures, stone chariot, sculptures, stone chariot, sculptures and stone chariot.

North western side of temple. Right to left first is stone chariot, sculptures, stone chariot, sculptures and temple north side entrance on extreme left of pic.

Behind the temple eastern side is a big tank. U see point where it ends. On left of pic tank extends for miles. Halebidu was earlier referred to as Dorasamudra or Dwaravathi due to existence of tank at entrance to village.

All along the eastern wall of temple are panels are like this. U see full corner panel, pillars above, light goes thru pillars. Panel has 11 levels. Level 1 is elephant, 2 is lion, 3 is flower creepers, 4 is horses, 5 flowers creepers, 6 is Indian epic stories, 7 is Imaginary animal combination of 7 animals called Makara, 8 is Swan vehicle of Lord Brahma, 9 is dancers & musicians, 10 are Kshetrapalas or guardians of temple and 11 is Kamasutra. Amazing work to say the least.

Part panel. The pic shows u stages of carving. See level 4 ie mythical animal left to right. First image is plain stone, second is with some work, third is final. Bottom up level one is horse, 2 is flower creepers, 3 scenes from the epics, 4 is mythical animal and last is Swan vehicle of Lord Brahma.

Left of pic is Sainik or soldier. Also has pics of dancers. More tourists in Belur than Halebidu. Hoyasala means killing a tiger. Hoy means to kill, Sala is the boys name who killed a tiger at the instance of his teacher Sudattacharya ie how the dynasty got its name.

Close up of panel lower portion - elephant, lion and flower creepers. There is a Museum in the temple complex. Worth a visit.

Panel has elephants, flower creepers, Samundra Manthan or mythical turning of the ocean and Brahma''s vehicle Swan. Unfortunately the human faces in level three do not exist.

East facing side. In centre is stone chariot, either side is panel above which are holes for light to enter into the temple. Bottom of pic u see the platform on which temple stands. On either side of the stone chariot are the two nandi mantapas that you shall see later. What intricate work. WOW.

A close up of the inner panel. U see nine levels starting elephant, lion, flower creepers, horses, Indian epic stories, imaginary animal, swan vehicle of Lord Brahma, dancers n musicians.

U see stone chariot, has 8 levels on the panel after which images of Gods in centre, left n right sides of chariot. Cannot visualise how such large chariots in stone were made and intricate work done.

A close up view. Left is Lord Shiva, right is Lord Vishnu. Images of left and right of the two Gods are those of dancers.

Images of Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva ie left to right. Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

U see Astadikpalakas or Guardians of 8 directions. Asta is 8, dik is direction and palakas is guardian.

Close up of panel. Horses, flower creepers and musicians.

Mythical animal or Makhara, swan and musicians/dancers. The mythical animal has body of a pig, mouth of a crocodile, trunk of an elephant, feathers of a peacock, legs of a lion, eyes of a monkey and ears of a cow. Creative na.

Top level is panel of dancers. Close to the temple gate is a restaurent run by a Tamilian. It is in the basement - u walk down steps. His meals or thali is very good and filling.

Lower panel flower creepers, upper is musicians drummer and dancers.

U have various scenes from Lord Krishna''s life, we show some though might not be in sequence. U see Sri Krishna killing Kalingamardhana who had taken the form of a snake that you see at bottom of pic towards right side.

Sri Krishna lifting Govardhana hill. U see him protecting the cows, tells u how much importance Indians attached to cows even in 1125 A.D.

So far covered eastern side temple panel. Also on the eastern side are two mantapas that you see in full in centre and partly on right of pic. There are Shiv temples one for the King and other for called Queen Shanthaleswara temple. Opposite each temple is a mantapa that houses Nandi the vehicle of Lord Shiva. At entrance of each manatapa are two small temples that you see in picture. Note that different pillars have different designs. Left bottom side of pic on platform panel note carvings ie elephant, horse, flower creepers etc.

Side of mantapa one. Note pillar design and carvings on plinth panel.

A close up view of Nandi. How did they carve this out of one piece of stone? Note the ornamentation round its neck.

Back view. Notice the hump and the ornamentation.

Behind the mantapa is a beautiful garden that u see. Water that u see after garden is that of the huge TANK that was referred to earlier.

Side view of mantapa 2. Note two small temples next to steps and pillar design.

A close up view of Nandi inside the mantapa.

U walk around the Nandi to enter the Surya Temple. U see 2 metre tall image of Lord Surya. Always identify him by searching for 7 horses that u see in centre bottom of pic.

Wall of Surya temple has some interesting images. U see left to right Lord Brahma, Ugra (angry) Narasimha Avatar of Lord Vishnu and Parvati. In case of errors in any narrations do mail me.

Left images are Lord Brahma n Saraswati. Centre is Saraswati. Right images are Vishnu and Lakshmi.

South also called Royal Entrance. Look at the amazing doorkeepers - what work, made out of soft stone. Note the work on top panel above entrance. Mythical animal on either side with Nataraja in the centre.

A close up of the top panel or Makranta Toran. Centre is Nataraja and either side is mythical animal Makrana.

A close up of the doorkeeper. Remember the entire image is made of stone, what fine work.

A close up of the clothes of the doorkeeper, note the intricate work.

Eastern side of temple covered. Now western side. On south west side these images. Left of pic is Karthikeyan on his vehicle the peacock. Right of pic is Dancing Ganesha on a rat.

Temple on western side. Centre is stone chariot with sculptures on either side. Centre of chariot at 2 higher levels are niche temples like we saw in Belur. Above sculptures is a temple like design. A similar structure exists on the north western side just as this is on the south western side.

This gives you a complete view of the western side. There are four stone chariots two on either side. Lower level is panel, then sculptures of Gods and temple like structure above.

Left to right is Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. For a good English speaking guide ask for Ms Veena 91 9900577352. She explained very well. Soft and sweet.

Draupadi Swayamvar - scene from the Mahabharata. Arjuna had to pierce the eye of the fish by looking at its reflection in the water.

GAJASURAMARDHANA. Demon comes in the form of an elephant to kill Shiva who kills him ie what you see. Gaja is elephant. Sura is demon.

Story of Prahlada. Father Hiranyakashyap tried to kill him in 3 different ways. Left of pic is by elephant. Centre is with snakes. Right of pic is by soldiers.

ANDHAKASURAVADHA. Andha is demon who represents darkness so Shiva killing him. It means that Lord Shiva removes darkness and brings light into our lives. Shiva in the form of Nataraja is dancing on demon Andakasura who is on bottom right of pic.

Scene from Ramayana. Left of pic are monkeys, Hanuman, Ram and Lakshman. Right of pic Shri Ram and Sita sitting in a hut. Deer shape image in pic is Maricha sent by Ravana.

This is Deviroop killing the Asura who is in the form of a Mahisha (ie male buffalo) so she is known as Mahishasuramardini (whose image u see). Mahisha is male buffalo, asura is a demon, mardhini means to slay.

Adding some color to the photo collection. End December is children holidays so lots of them. Young energetic children sitting on the steps of manatapa 1, background you see Nandi vehicle of Lord Shiva.

War between Karan and Arjuna scene from the epic Mahabharata. Centre of pic are arrows from one great warrior to another.

ANDHAKASURA SAMHAR is left pic ie dancing Shiva killing the demon below. Next with the flute is I assume Lord Krishna. Next is Murlidhara the drummer. Extreme right is Devi image.

Story of Krishna Parijatharan. Left of pic is Garuda carrying Krishna in whose hand is parijata flower that was stolen from Lord Indra''s garden. Right of pic is Lord Indra on his elephant Airawat chasing Sri Krishna to get back his parijata flower.

Vamana goes to Bali a powerful demon king who was grandson of Prahlada. In the king''s yagna Vishnu in the form of Vamana (dwarf) goes to the yagna and Bali grants him a boon to have space that covers his three steps. First step he covers earth, second heaven and third asks Bali where he should keep his foot. By then Bali realizes it is a actually Lord Vishnu. Bali asks Vamana to keep his foot on his head. Left of pic is Bali demon. This posture as shown in image is Trivikram.

On western side right in the centre is this structure. On this and either side are number of sculptures. Lower level panel has elephants, horses, flower creepers etc.

GAJENDRAMOKSHA ie salvation of Gajendra. A king and a apsara were both cursed by the sages to be born as animals, the former as elephant and latter as a crocodile. If they touched each other they would get released of the curse by Lord Vishnu. So elephant goes to river to drink water, crocodile intentionally catches leg of elephant. The elephant suffers in pain and plucks a flower using his trunk and recalls Vishnu. Then Lord Vishnu appears on his vehicle Garuda and uses Sudarshan Chakra to cut the body of the crocodile. Thus King achieves moksh or salvation.

U see image of Judge or Dharmadhikari. One hand is stick Dharmadanda. Other hand is Dharmachakra. Both represent symbols of justice.

Image of Lord Vishnu with Lakshmi.

Scene from Ramayana. On right of pic Vali and Sugriva are fighting. Behind the papyra trees on left of pic is Shri Ram with bow in hand ready to strike Vali. For more pictures on this temple please click here