Halebidu is a town located in Karnataka and is the home to the Hoysalsewara Temple or the Halebidu Temple. This 12th century Hindu temple is famous for its rich architecture and has one of the most beautiful monolithic Nandi Statues in the world.
The word Halebidu means – Dilapidated Village. The original name of this Hoysaleswar capital was Dwarsamudra. The temple was under construction when the capital city was invaded and destroyed. The work of the temple was resumed later and it took almost 195 years and 4 generations to get it to this stage. It was abandoned thereafter. This fact is in accordance to the variance in the carving inside the temple.
It is, in fact, a twin temple with Shiv Linga in both the sanctums. They are identical, one for the Queen and one for the King to worship and are joined in the centre. Hence the dual monolithic Nandi statues outside.
The intricate decor of the Nandis differ, signifying the difference in King’s and Queen’s idols. The King’s Nandi is one foot taller than the Queen’s and their posture and jewellery designs too, vary.
The outer walls are carved with 12 different borders/levels. The 1st one starting from below, shows elephants which signifies strength. 2nd one has lions, signifying courage. 3rd has a decorative pattern whereas the 4th depicts the king’s army in the form of the horsemen. 5th band is again a decorative pattern followed by the 6th one showing the major episodes of Ramayana and the Mahabharata. 7th band shows the imaginary animal from heaven and 8th one depicts swans and peacocks. The daily life of people and their work is shown in the 9th level whereas, the 10th one denotes scenes of festivals, rituals and culture of that time. 11th border of the Temple is a depiction of Artha, Dharma, Karma and also shows some images related to courtship. 12th level is that of huge carvings of various God and Goddesses of Hindu dharma.
Inside there are different mandapas, whose ceilings are carved with images of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses with respect to the direction in which they are believed to reside. For example, Lord Kuber resides in the North, Yama in the South, Indra in the East and Varun in the west.
Also the outer walls have carvings of Lord Karthikeya and the entire Shiv family together.
In short, it’s a temple whose walls tell tales of the Hindu beliefs and culture with it’s magnificent architecture and is in league with the famous temples of Khajuraho and the Sun Temple of Odisha.
There is an appending museum which displays various relics from the 12th century. Museum entry ticket is 5/- per head and no charge for children.
Car Parking -Paid parking is available outside the main gate
Shoe stand is available inside below the main temple stairs with a nominal fees of 10/-
Do hire a government recognised tour guide to learn more about the minute details in the architecture for a nominal fee. Avoid visiting the place during summer as the stone structure would be really hot.
Find out more about this place – click here.