Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Visit to Halebid to see another Architectural marvel

We left Belur by 3.30 p.m.for our next destination Halebid, which is just 16 kms away from there. The weather was cool, the landscape was beautiful and the roads were excellent. The small town was the earlier capital of Hoysalas, and then it was called as Dwarasamudra.

Hotel Athithi


Temple Garden




Hoysaleswara Temple
Shiva Parvathi
Another guide was there who took us around. He explained in detail about the history of Halebid Hoysaleswara temple and the amazing architecture of the temple. The images of Hindu Gods were carved beautifully in different moods and in different shapes on the walls. Even after 100 years of hard labour, the work was not complete.

With the wonderful memories of the architectural beauty of the temples, we boarded our tourist bus for our return. On the way, we stopped for dinner at Hotel Athithi. A nice and clean hotel. We reached back in Bangalore by 10.45 p.m, with the satisfaction of worth a trip.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Trip to Belur, South India

After visiting Shravanabelagola, our KSTDC tourist bus headed towards Belur, 90 kms away from there. Belur is well-known for its marvelous temples built during the rule of Hoysala dynasty.





(Gopuram of the Temple)


We reached Belur by 12.30 p.m. and had our lunch at Hotel Mayura Velapuri, a unit of KSTDC, Belur. Then we got back to our bus and after 5 minutes we were at the entrance of the famous Chennakeshava temple. Chennakesava means "handsome Kesava".

Our tourist guide requested us to be together and follow him. He took us inside the temple through the gopuram and reached the main temple. He then explained to us about the history and the architecture of the magnificent temple. For a moment, we stood there mesmerizing the beauty of the temple architecture. It was so much more beautiful than I had read in many travelogues.







(Chenna Keshava Temple)


The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and daily worship still goes on there. This beautiful magnificent temple was commissioned by Hoyasala king Vishnuvardhana during the 12th century, and stands on a star-shaped platform. The facade of the building is intricately carved with sculptures and friezes. Each theme has a story behind it. Some of the striking depictions are Shiva dancing on a demon, dancing Kali, seated Ganesha, and Durga killing the buffalo demon (Mahishasura Mardhini) and many more. The walls of the temple are adorned with friezes of elephants, lions and horses, and sculptures of dancing girls. Inside of the temple is even more richly carved on its panels and pillars. There is a flow to the subject matter, like a story on the stones unveiling before you.The architecture is extremely complex and well maintained in proportion. Any one who has some interest in stone architecture, can enjoy the unusual and amazing beauty of this monument for hours and days together, just by looking at them to understand the imagination of the sculptors what they are trying to say.





(KSTDC Hotel)


By 3.30 p.m. we left there to our next destination Halebid, just 16 kms away, to see another historical monument of Hoysalas.






Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Visit to Shravanabelagola

Last month, we decided to visit Shravanabelagola, a famous Jain pilgrim centre, in Karnataka, South India. It is situated 160 kms away from Bangalore. Early morning our tourist bus left Bangalore city and reached the first destination Shravanabelagola, a small town at Hassan District, after about 3 hours of travel. Sravanabelagola is famous for the huge statue of Bahubali, standingatop the Chandragiri hills. One can spot this spot from a distance because of this magnificent statue. It is believed that Bahubali, also called as Gomatheswara, quarreled over their inheritance with his elder brother and nearly killed him. Later on, he repented for his action and meditated to achieve moksha (salvation) here.


(View from the top of the Hill)



(Temple on the top)



(Bahubali)

The town is located in between two lofty hills, named Vindyagiri and Chandragiri. The landscape around this place is greener and fertile looking. From the top of the hill one can see a huge pond in the centre, which is called 'belagola' and hence this town got the name.





This structure dated 978 to 993 A.D, with a height of 57 feet, carved out of one single stone, is one of the largest monolithic statues in the world, standing as a symbol of renunciation, calm and peaceful. To get a closerlook of this statue one has to climb about 700 steps, cut out in the rocks, to reach atop the hill. After a few hundred steps we reach the dharamshalas or resting places. For those who cannot climb can hire a palanquin to be carried up and down, for a reasonable charge.


Since it is a temple footwears are not allowed, and one has to leave the footwears before climbing the hills. The stepsare provided with handrails on both sides to make climbing easier. Apart from this temple, about 15 other Jain temples are also there. The main temple was built by the great emperor Chandragupta Maurya, when he came here with his guru in search of peace, towards the end of his life.







There is the Brahmadevaru temple atop the hill. Besides there are the Chowwisa Thirthankara Basadi, Chennana Basadi, Odegal Basadi, Tyagada Brahmadevaru Kambha, Akhanda Bagilu and Gullakayajji. The most important monument is the image of Sri Gomateshwara. Totally, there are more than 500 inscriptions.



Every twelve years, the small town Sravanabelagola comes alive for the grand festival called Mahamastakabhisheka,which attracts huge number of devotees from all over the world, which lasts for several days. During that time the statue is bathed by pots or kalashas of holy water, ghee, milk, coconut water and haldi. The priests climb a specially erected ladder structure to bathe the statue. The last ceremony was held in February 2006, and the next one will be in the year 2018.Flower petals, sandalwood powder and turmeric powder is offered by devotees. The most awaited part of the festival comes at the end when the statue is showered with flowers.

Reaching there: There are frequent bus services between Bangalore and Hassan. Good hotels are available in Hassan.