Located in the state of Karnataka, Belur and Halebedu are twin towns just 16km apart from each other. They are easily accessible by
road and rail from Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. There are a number of variations to the way Halebedu might be spelt; these include
Halibed, Halibedu, Halibeedu, they all refer to the same town. The closest big town is Hassan located around 30kms away.
Bangalore which is around 220kms away, is a comfortable 3 to 4 hour drive. The highway to Hassan is well paved, and most visitors who
are on a tour of this area prefer to stay in Hassan, which offers a number of good hotels, from where they commute to Belur and Halebedu.
Shravanabelagola is another place close by, that has a colossal monolithic statue of Gomateshwara or Bahubali, which is around 18 meters tall and is an important Jain pilgrim center. All these places can be completed in a days trip, but for a more leisurely visit, an overnight/ weekend stay is advised.
The temples in these towns, were built between the 12th and 13th century, under the rule of Vishnuvardhana, one of the great Hoysala kings. Dwarasamudram or Halebedu, which literally translates to the "old/ruined city", used to once upon a time, be the capital of this majestic empire. The south Indian architecture here is exquisite and elaborate and a treat for historians and art enthusiasts alike.
The temples were built by Jakkanna Acharya (Amarashilpi Jakanaacharya), a renowned architect in Vishnuvardhana's court. There are a
number of temples at close proximity within each of the towns. Having your own vehicle or booking a cab (see details of services offered by
BookCab in Travel Tips below), will be of a great help to drive around from one temple to another.
Some of the main attractions at each of the towns are:
There are a number of Hoysala temples and Jain shrines in Halebedu.
There are a number of tour guides who present themselves at these tourist attractions. It would be a good idea to hire one of them, as they can make the trip more memorable with their interesting narration of the temples history.
Shops around the tourist places sell local arts and crafts. With a little bargaining, many can be purchased for a good price.
The local language spoken is Kannada, though English, and maybe a little Hindi can get you by.
A word of caution when eating in the local eateries. It is preferred to carry your own bottle of water. If food can be arranged for before traveling, it will save a lot of concern over where to stop to get a hygienic and healthy bite.
There are a number of eat-outs near the hotels at both Belur and Halebedu. Else the other option is to travel around 30 kms to Hassan, where a larger variety of cuisine is available.
For overnight stays, it is advisable to book accommodation prior to departure. Many new hotels have sprung up in the temple towns
like Hotel Maurya Santhala, located opposite the temple complex in Halebedu. In Belur, the options available include Kadamba Comforts,
Suvarna Regency, Sree Krishna and Vishnu Regency.
The Hassan district experiences pleasant weather but the best season to visit the area are in the cooler months between October and April.
It's always a good idea to book your transport in advance to avoid surprises. There are many travel options by road.
BookCab is one such online rental service which makes booking a simple 3 step process, all from the comfort of your living room. The website is easy to use and offers a range of vehicles, from economy/mid-size cars like Indica, Ford Ikon and Maruti Dzire to premium, SUV and even luxury cars like BMW, Mercedes and Rolls Royce. Options are available for larger family or office trips, with 18 to 50 seater vans or buses for hire. Travelling from Bangalore to Belur & Halebedu and return trips too can be arranged by "BookCab". Select the pick-up date and time along with the number of days you want the automobile for. The website assures secure online payment at affordable rates.
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