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Halebid, a Tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the ancient capital of the Hoysala Empire, whose rulers and builders were renowned for their architectural style. The ornate Hoyasaleswara temple here is a prime example of Hoysala architectural creativity and craftsmanship.
In the 11th century, Halebid was known as Dwarasamudra, which means “at the entrance of the sea”. This ancient city, located in the Hassan district of Karnataka, gives testimony to the resources and vision of the prosperous Hoysala kingdom that existed during the 12th - 13th centuries. Halebid has been proposed as a tentative UNESCO world heritage site.
Hoysala Architecture:
Hoysala architectural style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th - 14th centuries, when it dominated the Southern Deccan Plateau. One can see examples of this style in the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura. The designers and builders pioneered a new style of temple architecture, in which the shrines are ina star-shaped structures, unlike the earlier practice of building these in the shapes of cubes.  The rulers aspired to surpass their precursor Chalukya in initiating grand and striking architecture.
In the early 14th century, Halebid was ransacked and destroyed by the Mughul, Malik Kafur, from northern India. The city was completely deserted, and was later renamed Halebid, meaning “ruined city”. Almost everything was destroyed, but the fabulously carved and intricately designed Hoysaleswara Temple remained.
The Hoysala architects, artisans and craftsmen defined an intricate and distinctive architectural style, inspiring in conception and masterly in execution,. The temples have been carved out of a soft stone called chloritic schist; its unique soft texture  is perfect for very intricate carvings.
The Hoysaleshawara and Kedareshwara temples and two Jain basadi comprise Halebid’s temple complex. The magnificent structure of the Hoyasaleswara temple is guarded at its entrance by two huge bulls. A Ganesha statue placed in the southern direction displays detailed artistry. These temples are richly endowed with finely detailed stone work and excellent sculptures on the exterior.
Apart from the Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara Temples, other attractions include the temples of Basadi Halli, Belur, Kedareswara, and Parswanathasmi Temple, as well as the Archaeological Museum.
Hoysaleswara Temple
This is the largest of the Hoyasala temples. Set amidst beautiful green lawns, the temple features two shrines. Both are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Nandi (the Bull). The Hoyasaleswara temple was dedicated by Ketamala, the chief of staff of the Hoysala kingdom, to his king Vishnuvardhana and his queen Shantala. The two temples are hence named Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara after the king and queen. The construction of this complex began in the 12th century when the Hoysala kingdom was at its peak of glory, and it took nearly 105 years to complete the structure. The temple is a picturesque sight set amidst hills. Queen Shantala was a renowned Bharatnatyam dancer, and her influence on the exterior of the Hoyasaleswara temple carvings is palpable. Beautiful sculptures of women in dancing poses adorn the walls of the temple. The queen was famous as a reformer and was a follower of Jainism, whereas King Vishnuvardhana followed Vaishnaism and was influenced by Saint Ramanuja Charya. Hence several characters from mythology also decorate the temple walls. Intricately detailed Hindu deities crowd around the temple walls. The plinth area is a brilliant tapestry of sculpture, depicting elephants, followed by lions and horsemen, and then flowers. Then comes the most gorgeously detailed piece of sculpture. The frieze depicts incidents from the epics, including Krishna lifting Govardhana Mountain and Rama defeating Ravana, the fight between Karna and Arjuna, the shooting of Matsya Yantra, Gajendramoksha and Lord Shiva’s court.
Kedareswara Temple
With a star-shaped Vimanam (tower) perched on top of the main shrine and two smaller shrines on either sides of the hall, the Kedareswara temple is an architectural jewel. Its raised platform and the basement have friezes depicting bands of marching elephants, galloping horses, lions, swans, mythical animals and flower scrolls. Nearly 180 images of gods and goddesses are carved into the upper parts of the walls.
Jain Bastis
The Jain Bastis are a group of three temples located in an enchanting garden. Of these, Parshwanatha Temple, is the most important. Twelve pillars support the dome. Carved out of black stone, the Parshwanatha figure stands at almost 5 meters tall. A seven-headed serpent hovers above the head. The other two temples are Adinatha Temple and Shanthinatha Temple.
Sri Ranganatha Temple and Shantaleswara Temple:
Sri Ranganatha Temple: In this temple Lord Brahma reclines on a lotus, while Aidevi serves him. Shantaleswara Temple: The temple named after Shantala Devi, queen of King Vishnuvardhana stands on a black stone platform. The enchanting temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and took 105 years to build. It has delicately carved figures of gods and goddesses, animals and birds. The lawn of this temple also holds a museum.
Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum has a gallery of sculptures, inscriptions, wood carvings and coins dating back to 12th - 13th centuries.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
Mysore City Junction
Nearby major cities
Name Distance Duration
95 Km 01H 44m
151 Km 02H 45m
170 Km 02H 59m
95 Km 01H 44m
Shravanbelagola is one of the most important ancient Jain pilgrimage site, famous for its spectacular 17.5 Mt high monolithic statue of the Jain sage Bahubali (Gomateshwara).
151 Km 02H 45m
Madikeri - a picturesque hill station of misty mornings and dotted with coffee and exotic spice plantations, lies in the Western Ghats of south-western Karnataka. It is the headquarter of the famous Kodagu or Coorg district of Karntaka state. Flavoured with the aroma of fresh coffee, cardamom, black pepper and Coorg honey, Madikeri offers an enchanting experience.
167 Km 02H 57m
Nestled on the coastal edge Mangalore is beautifully fringed with coconut palms, streams, aroma of spicy coconut curries and also known for it rich heritage of temples.
170 Km 02H 59m
The city of Mysore is popularly known as the cultural capital of the state of Karnataka . Famous for its magnificent architectural structures, temples, gardens and Dassara festival, Mysore presents an impressive mythical and historical past.
210 Km 03H 29m
Bangalore is the IT hub of India and the capital of the state of Karnataka. In Old days Bangalore used to be referred to as the garden city of India in reference to the numerous well maintained gardens and green space within the city. Wodeyers were the rulers of Karnataka, Mysore used to be the prime city and capital of the erstwhile Mysore state, and Bangalore came into prominence during the British rule. At present it has evolved as large cosmopolitan city.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Best Seasons
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 24 °C 37 °C
Winter 19 °C 30 °C
Summer: 20-35°C. Hottest Month: April Winter: 14-22°C. Coolest Month: December. Best time to visit is Nov to March.

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Seasons Flavour

Commanding magnificent view of the surrounding Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Ketu and Kamet , on the edge of the Nanada Devi national park, Auli is fast emerging as an important ski resort in India.

Nestled amidst the wooded slopes, surrounded by green meadows in the Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh, lies Baspa Valley also known as Sangla valley.

Binsar is a beautiful hill destination inside a forest reserve and bird sanctuary with magnificent 360 degree view of Kumaon Himalayan peaks.

Far from the maddening crowds is Caukori, an isolated small village in the Kumaon mountains offering panoramic view of snow capped Himalayan peaks painted with magical sunrise and sunsets .

Madikeri - a picturesque hill station of misty mornings and dotted with coffee and exotic spice plantations, lies in the Western Ghats of south-western Karnataka. It is the headquarter of the famous Kodagu or Coorg district of Karntaka state. Flavoured with the aroma of fresh coffee, cardamom, black pepper and Coorg honey, Madikeri offers an enchanting experience.

Dalhousie is one of the most picturesque hill stations, located in the Chamba Valley between the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges of the Himalayas. Named after a British Governor General, it retains a mix of natural beauty and colonial charm.

Darjeeling, the “Queen of the hills” embodies the romantic nostalgia of “The Raj” or the era of British rule in India. Darjeeling, famous for its lush tea gardens, is blessed with a stunning view of Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak.

Dharamsala has an aura about it. The town has lived up to its name, which means “The pilgrims’ rest house”; it is today the sacred seat of the Dalai Lama and his exiled government of Tibet. The backdrop of the Himalayas and the old world charm of the town adds to the magnetic attraction of the unique experience that is Dharamsala.

One of the most scenic hill stations of India. Gulmarg offers excellent powder run skiing opportunities of international standards.

The beautiful hill town of Kausani is a picturesque hill station famous for its scenic splendour and its spectacular 300 km wide panoramic view of the Himalayas.

Lachen 110 km from Gangtok, Lachen is a scenic Himalayan village of migrant Buddhist Bhutia yak herders called Lachenpas. The hospitable Lachenpas greet or bid visitors farewell with the traditional 'khada' scarf. Blankets made from sheep wool or chuktuk, carved woodwork, furniture, signs, symbols and blankets are the handicrafts of Lachen. Chuktuk is the local term used for sheep wool blankets. Since a sizeable population in the area rear sheep and yak, the wool from these animals is used for r

On the banks of the Beas river, surrounded by the majestic Pir Panjal, Parvati, and Bara Bhangal mountain ranges, lies Manali - one of the most popular hill resorts in India. Manali is also the gateway to the exotic Lahaul and Spiti valleys.

Mukteshwar is a quaint and peaceful hill town in Kumaon - Uttarakhand surrounded by thick coniferous forest; it offers 180 degree panoramic views of the mighty Himalayan peaks Neelkanth, Trishul, Nandaghunti, Nanda Devi, Panchchuli. Famous hunter Jim Corbett mentioned Mukteshwar in his 1944 AD classic book ‘The Man Eaters Of Kumaon’.

Stunning green hills of rolling tea plantations surround breathtaking Munnar. The town provides a completely relaxing and therapeutic experience for jaded city dwellers - misty mornings, sweet scented air, whispering breezes and a chance to walk in the clouds.

Mussoorie is a popular hill station in the Garhwal Himalayas. Due to its panoramic views and its proximity to Delhi, Mussoorie has been a favourite weekend destination for visitors from the nearby plains since the time of the Raj.

The beautiful small township of Pelling lies 115 km from the state capital Gangtok. Known for its grand views of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain, which rises to 9390m. Pelling is perched at an altitude of 2400m, and is a traveller’s delight due to its strategic location in the eastern Himalayas.

A long time ago Kumaoni queen Padmini was smitten with the scenic vista of this hill town leading to her king Sukhdev naming the area queen’s meadow or Ranikhet. Ranikhet still retains the unspoilt charm and sylvan surrounding that provides panoramic views to the Himalayan peaks.

A beautiful hill city tucked in the lap of Himalayas, Shimla retains much of its old world charm and nostalgic influence of the British Raj when it was the designated “summer capital” of India.

Srinagar, the exotic summer capital of Kashmir is an enigma shrouded in a veil of mystery, a fusion of beauty, culture and history that mesmerises, enthrals and still sows a seed of doubt in the mind of the departing traveller that a single visit is not enough to touch its heart.

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