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Old 2nd April 2009, 03:01   #1
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Lightbulb 'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)

We did this very interesting trip over last weekend (28th, 29th & 30th March 09).

The route map:
'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-maproute.png
* Map not to scale.

Total distance on the odo, from start to stop : 826kms.

Background:
Due to some commitments getting postponed, we suddenly had a 3 day weekend coming up (we had taken off on Monday 30th) and no plans on hand.

A Belur-Halebid trip was long overdue anyway and this seemed to be a good opportunity to do it. While researching into the history and significance of the Belur-Halebid temples, I came across quite a few interesting websites, including the superb travelogue by our own TBHPian @akbaree

@akbaree had recommended a book titled 'A complete guide to Hoysala Temples by Gerard Foekema' which is a good and comprehensive source of information on Hoysala temple architecture. Unfortunately I could not buy the book since it was out of stock in the shops I checked with. However, significant portions of the book are available via Google-books. [The maps and some sections are not available online]

To quote from the book:
Quote:
More than a hundred of Hoysala temples survive today, and I think more than 10 of them to be of interest to the average tourist. The most important message I have to convey is that the large temples in Belur and Halebid give a marvelous impression of Hoysala sculpture, but only a poor impression of Hoysala architecture, because they are seriously incomplete. Visiting a few other villages in the neighborhood of Belur and Halebid is very rewarding, because there smaller but complete temples can be found. Several of these small and modest temples perfectly show the logic and beauty of Hoysala architecture...
The thought of covering all the temples listed in the book was quite appealing. I looked up these places in the Eicher & TTK road maps and found that not all of them are marked. I filled in the gaps by looking up these places on G-maps, Mapmyindia and also by reading up directions to these places on different websites.

Slowly the route started to take shape. Of the places mentioned in the book, we dropped Amritapura & Basaralu since they would involve too much of a deviation from our route plan. [which is why my log is titled 'an incomplete guide to...']

13 out of the 15 places from the book were penciled in. Also, there are several other places, which also have beautiful Hoysala temples, but are not mentioned in the book... added in a couple of those as well, ending up with a list of 17 places to be covered.

The list of places we visited over the three days:

Day 1
  • Turuvekere
  • Aralaguppe
  • Arsikere
  • Haranhalli
(Overnight stay at Halebid.)

Day 2
  • Halebid
  • Hulikere
  • Belvadi
  • Javagallu
  • Belur
  • Dodda Gadduvalli
  • Koravangala
(Overnight stay at Hassan)

Day 3
  • Mosale
  • Nuggehalli
  • Govindanahalli
  • Kikkeri
  • Hosaholalu
  • Somanathapur
To be continued with pics and comments...

Last edited by hotstuff : 2nd April 2009 at 03:06.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 08:07   #2
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Oh what a wonderful itinerary... Two years back, on our way to Chickmaglur we could only visit Belavadi and Halebidu and were floored. Awaiting your pictures.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 08:18   #3
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Xing, very nice.I like your travelogue especially with those maps highlighting the directions. Good help to others to visualize.

Waiting for the pics!
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Old 2nd April 2009, 09:34   #4
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@hotstuff: This is a great start. And I completely agree with mjothi that the map you have put in place speaks a 1000 words. If I could have done the mapping the way you did, I wouldn't have missed some of the temples.

I am looking forward to your travelogue, especially for the temples that I couldn't visit during my trip.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 13:27   #5
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Looking for more, hotstuff. And yes, the map idea is fantastic.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 15:03   #6
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nice map. we had taken this trip almost 10 years back, but most probably not all of them.

I remember visiting Amritpura prior to that (IIRC it's near Bhadravati), and that was the reason we embarked on this journey.

Obviously looking forward to the entire travelogue and pictures.

I remember a trikuta temple, where you can actually take the stairs and go to the roof of the temple, was it Dodda Gadduvalli?
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Old 2nd April 2009, 16:37   #7
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waiting for your next posts. Definitely gonna be nice read. And I just love the way you post the map for your travelogue. It's really really helpful.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 09:58   #8
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Lightbulb Thanks!

@PraveenM
@mjothi
@akbaree
@pjay_in
@arindamray
@kaushik_s

- Thanks for your comments guys! I appreciate your feedback.

Apologies for the delay in completing this log, caught up in a lot of office work... will complete this log over the weekend.

Meanwhile, here are some interesting comparisions... I tried to take pics from similar angles:

Belur temple gopuram, in 1895 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-1belur-1895.jpg


Somanathpur temple, in 1865 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-2asomnathpur-1865.jpg


Somanathpur temple, in 1865 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-2bsomnathpur1865.jpg


Somanathpur temple, in 1865 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-2csomnathpur-1895.jpg


Belur, in 1865 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-2cbelur2-1865.jpg


Halebid temple, in 1856 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-2halebeed-1856.jpg


Halebid temple, in 1868 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-1halebeed18682.jpg


Halebid temple, in 1865 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-3halebid1865.jpg


Halebid temple, in 1856 - in 2009...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-4halebid-18562.jpg

* Old pics courtesy British Library - ASI.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 10:31   #9
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@hotstuff:

Wow !!!

You are certainly making this quite interesting.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 10:32   #10
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Lightbulb The comparision with the most drastic change...

This is probably the comparision with the most drastic change. At first I could not believe that this is indeed the same temple, but on observing the scuptures and the positioning of several unique features, I found that this is indeed the Belur temple as it was in 1868.

There was a gopurum on top, which collapsed / was taken down sometime later. The small 'add-on' shrine (seen in the center of the old photo) + the steps (in front of the add-on shrine) which were attached to the temple by someone after the Hoysala period were also taken out during some renovation exercise...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-upchennakeshava-temple-belur-1868.jpg
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Old 3rd April 2009, 10:36   #11
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hotstuff, another historial thread from you. WOnderful pics.

Waiting for more.

Abhi
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Old 3rd April 2009, 10:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotstuff View Post
There was a gopurum on top, which collapsed / was taken down sometime later.
Attachment 119437
I doubt if their was a gopuram in 1868. The picture just gives an indication of the lost super structure. The gopuram has been lost over time (after its construction in the 12 century).

I may be wrong though.

Foekama's book has couple of similar pictures of Belur and Halebidu temples that show indicative gopurams. I would try to scan and upload for reference. I hope it would not amount to copyright issues.

Last edited by akbaree : 3rd April 2009 at 11:00.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 11:15   #13
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Thumbs up Tower on temple...

Quote:
Originally Posted by akbaree View Post
I doubt if their was a gopuram in 1868. The picture just gives an indication of the lost super structure. The gopuram has been lost over time (after its construction in the 12 century).

I may be wrong though.

Foekama's book has couple of similar pictures of Belur and Halebidu temples that show indicative gopurams. I would try to scan and upload for reference. I hope it would not amount to copyright issues.
@akbaree , I think you are correct. The original photo is attached below. This was an 1868 'Albumen print' by Edmund David Lyon, edited (probably in 1870) by a James Fergusson.

Quote:
Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Belur, a small town on the banks of the Yagachi in the Hassan district of Karnataka, was the capital of the Hoysalas in the 11th and 12th centuries, before they shifted to Halebid. The Chennakeshava temple at Belur is considered one of the finest examples of early Hoysala architecture. It was built in 1117 AD by King Vishnuvardhana to mark his independence from the Chalukyas of whom he was a feudatory, and his defeat of the powerful Cholas at Talakad. This is a general view of the central shrine in the courtyard of the temple. Lyon's 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, gives the following description: 'From this Photograph, it will be observed that the architecture of the temple is in a totally different style from any of those previously described. The tower is no longer square in plan, and divided horizontally into storeys by ranges of cells, or what were originally intended as such, but is divided vertically into four compartments, by great flat bands, between each of which nestle fifteen repetitions of itself, five on the top of each other, in three rows. The dome on the top is a modern repair, but its original form can easily be restored from the numerous models of it shown in the following Photographs...
The photo looks quite distorted, I assumed it might be due to degradation of the print over time. However, it does looks like it is a superimposition of a tower from a different temple, to show how the Belur temple might have originally looked like. On a lighter side, this might be one of the first examples of Photoshop work! :-)

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Old 5th April 2009, 21:58   #14
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Lightbulb Turuvekere & Aralaguppe...

Who were the Hoysalas?
In a chronological context, Karnataka was ruled over by the following kingdoms:
  • Pre-historic age.
  • Early years Satavahanas
  • 325 A.D.- 540 A.D. Kadambas of Banavasi
  • 325 A.D.- 999 A.D. Gangas of Talkad
  • 500 A.D. - 757 A.D. Chalukyas of Badami
  • 757 A.D. - 973 A.D. Rashrakootas
  • 973 A.D. - 1198 A.D. Chalukyas of Kalyan
  • 1198 A.D. - 1312 A.D. Yadavas of Devagiri
  • 1000 A.D. - 1346 A.D. Hoysalas
  • 1336 A.D. - 1565 A.D. Vijayanagara Kings
  • 1347 A.D. - 1527 A.D. Bahamani Kings
  • 1490 A.D. - 1686 A.D. Sultans of Bijapur
  • 1500 A.D. - 1763 A.D. Nayakas of Keladi
  • 1399 A.D. - 1761 A.D. Wodeyars of Mysore
  • 1761 A.D. - 1799 A.D. Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan
  • 1800 A.D. - 1831 A.D. Wodeyars of Mysore (Under British Empire)
  • 1831 A.D. - 1881 A.D. British Empire
  • 1881 A.D. - 1950 A.D. Wodeyars of Mysore
  • 1956 Present day Karnataka is formed.
To quote from the Wikipedia:
Quote:
The Hoysala Empire was a prominent South Indian Kannadiga empire that ruled most of the modern day state of Karnataka between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was later moved to Halebidu.

The Hoysala rulers were originally hill people of Malnad Karnataka, an elevated region in the Western Ghats range. In the 12th century, taking advantage of the internecine warfare between the then ruling Western Chalukyas and Kalachuri kingdoms, they annexed areas of present day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri River delta in present day Tamil Nadu. By the 13th century, they governed most of present-day Karnataka, parts of Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andhra Pradesh in Deccan India.

The Hoysala era was an important period in the development of art, architecture, and religion in South India. The empire is remembered today primarily for its temple architecture. Over a hundred surviving temples are scattered across Karnataka, including the well known Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura.

The Hoysala rulers also patronized the fine arts, encouraging literature to flourish in Kannada and Sanskrit.
Wikipedia also has a good write-up about Hoysala architecture:
Hoysala architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More than a 1000 temples were probably built during the Hoysala period. However only a few have survived relatively intact to this day. Some were just abandoned and disintegrated over the centuries; some were renovated and rebuilt to an extent that they no longer resemble their original design.

Of the temples that survived, around 20 temples are recommended as 'must see' for anyone interested in Hoysala architecture. Our trip was planned to cover most of these temples...

The planning:
[1] First we listed down the places to cover and the temples to see at each place.
[2] Charted out the places on a rough map to give us an idea of the order in which to cover these places.
[3] We decided that our first night-halt would be at Halebidu and the second night-halt would be at Hassan.

As you start seeing the pics, you might feel that many temples look quite similar... yes, they do. While the overall architecture might follow some standard patterns, what differentiate the temples are the carvings on the walls, the level of intricacy in the design etc. So each temple is different if you observe it from close quarters.

Most of these temples either have guides, caretakers or priests who can walk you through the temples and explain the significance of each.

The trip:
We planned to make an early morning start, but both of us could wind-up only close to 11pm the previous evening and by the time packing is done and we fall asleep, it is around 2am. So, we wake up at 6.30am and finally start off at around 7.30am.

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-11.jpg

Saturday morning traffic was light and we reached Nelamangala without any trouble and took the right turn towards Kunigal. On our previous drive along this road ( http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-highways.html ) we had seen that there are some good hotels after Kunigal where we could stop for breakfast.

I will not delve into the specifics of the route since the map should give you a good idea about the location of each place and we did a lot of 'stop-and-ask' throughout the trip to find our way around.

Spotted this scenic archway along the way...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-13.jpg


The route to Turuvekere, our first place to see...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-14.jpg


Green...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-15.jpg


TURUVEKERE

We enter Turuvekere!

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-16.jpg


In Turuvekere we covered three temples, the Chennakesava temple, the Moole Shankara temple and the Gangadhareeshwara temple.

Chennakesava temple...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-110.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-17.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-18.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-19.jpg


Next we headed towards the Moole Shankara temple and found that it was locked. We asked around to see who had the key and were directed towards a nearby house. After enquiring about where we were from and our interest in the temple, they offered us some coffee and snacks and then just handed us the keys to the temple!

The Moole Shankara temple...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-111.jpg


Hmmm... This is the first time we unlocked a temple!

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-112.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-113.jpg


We spent some time here, locked the temple again, handed over the keys and proceeded towards the Gangadhareeshwara temple...

The Nandi, which is around 7ft tall...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-114.jpg


A unique 'Stone bell'! You can actually strike it with a stick and it sounds like a normal bell!

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-116.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-117.jpg


ARALAGUPPE

After Turuvekere, we proceeded towards Aralaguppe, though we knew that it was somewhere around, we asked some locals to guide us and they mentioned the route options and suggested the best route that would be kind on the Xing...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-21.jpg


One 'unique' experience I had at this temple was being stung on my hand by a wasp. Nothing serious though...

The Keshava temple at Aralaguppe...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-22.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-23.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-24.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-25.jpg

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'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-27.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-28.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-29.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-210.jpg


It was close to 2.00pm by the time we ready to leave from Aralaguppe, we would be driving through Tiptur on the way to our next destination, so lunch stop was at Tiptur.
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Old 5th April 2009, 22:21   #15
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Lightbulb Arasikere, Haranahalli, Halebidu...

ARASIKERE

After a lunch break at Tiptur, we reached Arasikere at around 4.00pm and proceeded towards the 'Shivalaya'. This is a live temple on the outskirts of the town.

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-31.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-32.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-34.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-35.jpg


After spending around 45 mins at the Shivalaya, we headed out towards our next stop; Haranahalli, which is around 8 kms from Arasikere.

HARANAHALLI
We covered to temples here, the Lakshminarasimha temple and the Someshwara temple.

The Someshwara temple...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-41.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-42.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-43.jpg


The Lakshminarasimha temple...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-44.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-45.jpg


Another locked temple, found the priest's house and got him back to open the temple for us...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-46.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-47.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-48.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-49.jpg

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'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-412.jpg


It was quite late by the time we were ready to leave from Haranahalli, so we decided to drive to Halebidu, stay overnight there and track back towards Belavadi and Javagal the next day. [We drove through Javagal and passed the Belevadi diversion on our way to Halebidu.]

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-413.jpg


There are a few lodges in Halebidu and our first choice was the Mayura Santala guest-house which was recommended by @akbaree. Since this is right next to the Halebidu temple it would be really convenient. But this guest-house has just four rooms and may not be available easily. Luckily for us there was a four-bed family room available, which would cost us a little more, at Rs.400 for the night, it was still quite cheap and we took it. Ordered some simple food and shut down for the night...

The guest house campus...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-51.jpg


HALEBIDU

We walked towards the Halebidu Hoysaleswara temple the next morning...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-52.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-53.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-54.jpg

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'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-510.jpg

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Autos waiting near the temple to whisk you around town...

'Xing'ing around ! - An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-)-512.jpg


Our next stop would be the Kedareshwara and the Jain temples which are a couple of kilometers away from the Hoysaleswara temple and then onward to Hulikere.
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