Halebidu is a temple-town in Hassan district of Karnataka. It is famous for its 10th century Hoysaleswara Temple which is listed as one of the world heritage sites.
Halebidu and Belur are small towns near Hassan city. Tourists usually stay in Hassan city and reach one of these places first and go to the other before getting back to Hassan. There are buses every ten or fifteen minutes to Halebid from/to Hassan which is 28km and 45mins away while there is a bus every half an hour from/to Belur.
You can get a government bus for 25 rupees from Banavara, itself on a major highway and easily accessible from many major intercity bus lines.
- Hoysaleswara temple. The temple is famous for its minute carvings in black stone. The lower half of the outer wall has stone carved horizontal stips with carvings of Elephants at bottom, Lions in Second layer, Scenes of Story of Mahabharata and Ramayana in third level and Floral Design in fourth level. The upper Part of Outer walls depict statues of Hindu Deities such as Shiva Parvati, Krishna, Vishnu, Varaha Rup, Narsimha etc. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are two Temples. A huge Nanadi (which is the 'vahan' of Lord Shiva and is therefore always in front of the Shiva temple) statue is in front of each Shiva temple. The 2 Nandi statutes at this temple are considered to be amongst the most beautiful of the 7 massive Nandi statues that adorn various temples in South India. The superbly polished finish of the scupture is remarkable for the fact that even after centuries, the stone has a highly reflective sheen; a technique not yet fully understood. One needs to remove shoes before entering the Temple. There is shoe storage facility for Rs. 3 per pair of Shoe. It is advisable to Leave shoes in vehicle if u have your own or hired one. The shoe keeper might demand more money stating that the board kept is old one and rates are revised etc. On the edge of the Temple complex one can have a beautiful view of the River. It is advisable to hire a guide to understand the complex fully, The guide charges around Rs. 300, The same may be negotiable (depending upon the season and rush). The guide will generally take you around the temple - showing you the highlights and giving you the basic information. Do not stop to take photographs at that stage as the guide will not extend your time beyond a maximum of 40 minutes.Interested visitors should however take another round of the temple ( there is no restriction & no fresh ticket required). Have a more leisurely round of the entire temple complex to really appreciate the minute details in the carvings. The temple area is not very large and this will not take a total of more than 2 hours. This would also give you ample opportunity to take all the photos that you want. The carvings are almost entirely in a soft stone (soapstone) which has given the artists the ability to capture exquisite details. The carvings are not merely decorative but depict important scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharat. They are high quality art and also are laden with symbolism. edit
- Museum, On the main temple grounds. 9-5, closed Fridays. Mostly a collection of sculptures, with some wood carvings, maps and photos as well. 5 rupees only (for everyone). edit
- Jain Basadis. Ask at the museum ticket office for a free brochure, this has a map on which you can see how to get there. edit
Food at Halebidu might be a problem if you are not a south Indian. Hence it is better to carry food from Hassan or reach Belur.
- Government Restaurant, Inside the Government Hotel (100m past the bus station, opposite the main temple). Breakfast-10PM. Choose between covered al-fresco dining on the patio, or dine in the garden. A respectable selection of north and south Indian dishes, as well as some token western items. Priced a little higher than average, but not outrageous.. edit
- A small restaurant opposite the Canara Bank gives delicious fish curry and chicken at reasonable price.
You can stay in a larger town nearby such as Hassan or you can stay in the town itself.
Hotels at Halebidu
- Shree Lodge - Located just in front of the Hoysaleshwara Temple. There is no room service. All you get is just the room to stay and bathroom. Rooms are clean and average. Rs250 for a double-bed room. Phone - 9740924650, 9964018372, 08177-317077
- KSTDC Hotel - Rs300 in low season or Rs350 in high season for a double room. Rooms are very large, though not amazing. Restaurant on site with a pleasant garden setting. Very quiet and peaceful. Right across the road from the temple, a hundred meters past the bus station. Only a handful of rooms, so may fill up in peak season.