Travellers on a trip to Halebid must visit Hoysaleswara Temple, which is devoted to Lord Shiva. The construction of this temple started in the 12th century, but was later stopped due to the advent of the Delhi Sultanate. Tourists coming to this historic site can see beautifully carved sculptures and excellent stone scrollwork on the platform of the structure.
Hoysaleswara Temple, a star-shaped monument, consists of two temples that are quite alike and have different sanctuaries and mandapams located near one another. Another highlight of the temple is Garuda Stambha and the inscriptions of epic heroes holding knives and cutting their heads in the honour of Kuruva Lakshma, Veera Ballala II's bodyguard. The walls of the temple are decorated with engravings of various gods and goddesses, dancing girls, birds and animals.
At the lower motif of temple, there are 2,000 elephants with riders, each standing in a different stance, along with horses, mythical beasts and floral motifs. On the southern and western entrances, carved dwarapalakas are present. A hilltop, where the palace was located, an idol of Nandi and the chariot of Lord Shiva are other popular attractions located in the vicinity of the temple. Both of them are connected to the shrine by a pathway.
It is recommended that tourists visit Basadi Halli, a group of Jain monasteries, on a trip of Halebid. Basadi Halli is known for its polished and mirror-like pillars and its three shrines. Among the three, the most notable is the Parshwanatha Swamy Temple that has a 14 ft tall black stone figure. Tourists can see the seven-headed serpent printed on the figure's head.
The doors of the temple have been carved very intricately, wherein the Halebeedu work is the most notable work. The 12 pillars of the temple are adorned with attractive images; each of the images is quite distinct from the other.
Apart from these, major attractions of the temple are Adinatha Swamy, located at the centre, and Shanthinathaswamy, situated on the east side. Tourists can visit the temple any day without paying any charges. Hoysaleswara Temple located in vicinity of this shrine is another prominent tourist attraction.
Kedareshwara Temple is one of the must-visit temples of Halebid. Built in the Chalukyan style of architecture, this temple has two Hoysala emblems, thus, exhibiting a beautiful and stunning mix of both architecture styles. It is believed that the temple was constructed in 1319 AD but collapsed later and has never been brought to its initial glory.
Apart from the elegantly carved walls and ceiling, Kedareswara Temple has a number of sculptured friezes that display tales of Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana in the basement. Tourists can see the Kedareshwara (Shiva) Lingam that was built by Krishnashila at the sanctorum of temple. At the north, the Janardhana statue is present, whereas the southern side has a Brahma lingam.
Tourists can also see three summits at the temple, wherein the biggest is in the middle and the smaller ones are on either sides. The idols of Uma Maheshwara, Bhairava, Varaha, Thandaveswara and other gods exemplify the stories behind the summits. These sculptures provide the true picture of Chalukya's artistic achievements and cultural greatness.
It is recommended that tourists visit Belavadi on a trip of Halebid, if time permits. This national heritage site is known for its picturesque location, including the lush greenery and tall trees that surround it. Located on the Javagal-Chikmagalur route, this village holds utmost importance in the annals of history. Presently, Old Belavadi lies empty while most of the residents of the village have set-up base in New Belavadi.
This small village is home to Sri Veeranarayana Temple that displays Hoysala architecture style. The temple is considered as a trikuta, which literally means “three towers” and houses three beautiful statues, Sri Veeranarayana, Sri Venugopala and Sri Yoganarasimha, facing east, north and south respectively. The village of Belavadi is also known for the legend of Belawadi Mallamma, a warrior-queen who resisted Maratha king Shivaji in the 17th century.
Travellers must visit Sakaleswara Temple, which is best known for various statues positioned next to each other, while passing by Halebid. Devoted to Lord Sakaleswara and Lord Hoysaleswara, this temple faces east and is built on a raised platform. The statues placed here have been built using potstone, which is also called soft soapstone. It has been named after Queen Shantala, the wife of Vishnuvardhana Hoysala, who sanctioned the temple.
The sanctum of the temple has been constructed on a stellar plan and includes sukhanasi, navrang and Nandi Mandapa. Sakaleswara Temple has a Shivalingam in the sanctum, along with beautifully decorated interiors and elegantly designed and complex exteriors. The outside walls of the temple showcase striking sculptures that are made out of stones. Tourists can also visit the museum that houses gold coins and antique sculptures. This museum is present within the premises of the temple and exhibits numerous idols of mortals and immortals in black stone.