The great city flourished as a Capital of the Hoysala Empire during the 12th & 13th centuries. During the reign of Veeraballala II, the grandson of Vishnuvardhana, it reached the greatness of its zenith. Veeraballala II extended his empire from sea to sea between the Cauvery & Krishna rivers
Hoysaleswara temple : Halebidu or Dwarasamudra, the capital of the Hoysalas after Belur has the finest Hoysala temple with twin sancturies. This best piece of art was the creation of Ketamalla, a commander of King Vishnuvardhana, as mentioned in an inscription of 1121 AD.. The temple stands on a platform, and one of the sanctuaries has a Linga (named in memory of the king's beloved queen). The frontal navaranga of the two sanctums have a connecting open space. The navaranga has wonderful polished and intricately carved rows of pillars, monolithic, more than 16 feet in height, some stellar in shape, most of them roundish with designs like bell or Kalasha or flower vase combined perpendicularly to make a harmonious single attractive tall piece. In front of the first (Hoysaleshvara) garbhagriha is a monolithic beautiful squatting Nandi in a separate pavilion and behind this nandimantapa is a small shrine of Surya (Sun God) facing the Linga, two metre tall and artistically engraved.
The platform has some interesting motifs on its sides. The base of the main temple has frieze of rows of elephants in relief, and above that is a row of lions, and third frieze above has foliage, and this is surmounted by friezes of galloping horses, scenes of
mythological episodes (from Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc), and another row of yalis (a mythical animal), swans etc, alt intricately wrought. Above this there is row of taller figures of gods and goddesses and various manifestation of Vishnu etc on the wall, aU wonderful works of art. The two garbhagrihas are stellar in shape, and the zigzag exterior wall design here gives wonderful light and shade effect to the figures which look different at different times of the day. The four main doors of the temple are so profusely and intricately carved that they appear to be door ways to heaven. The shikharas above the garbhagrihas have now vanished.
In addition to this huge magnificent piece of Hoysala art, Halebidu has the Kedareshwara temple (built in 1219AD by Ketaladevi, a queen of Hoysala Ballala II), the Jain basadis of Shantinatha, Adinatha and Parashwanatha. The Pushpagiri hill has the Mallikarjuna temple which was once a Jaina basadi. There is also a museum of the ASI.
How to Reach Halebid:
By Air :
Mangalore is the nearest domestic airport, which is 168 kms away and Bangalore is the nearest international airport, which is 222 kms away.
: The nearest railway station is Hassan, which is 27 km from Halebid.
: Halebid is well connected by KSRTC & Private bus services. It is connected to all major cities nearby.