On the 15th morning, we woke up refreshed. There is a restaurant in the hotel premises. We were told breakfast would be served after some time. So, we walked down the main road and saw a small restaurant. We ate idli vada with sambhar, chutney there and walked back. My husband wanted to buy bananas. We were told there was market down the road, past our hotel. There we saw a shop selling different varieties of the fruit.
Belur was the capital of the Hoysalas in the early years of their rule. Later they shifted it to Halebidu. This town was called Dorasamudra or Dwarasamudra in those long ago days. We left the hotel at 9.30. As we drove, we saw miles and miles of jowar fields. One hamlet was separated from the next by these fields with absolutely no houses in sight. This is very different from our region where people live adjacent to their land. Those hamlets looked deserted; maybe the inhabitants were out working. I noticed this silence in most of the villages we saw that day.
Halebidu is famous for the Hoysaleshwara temple, Kedaraeshwara temple and Jain Basadis. We first went to Hoysaleshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main temple has two sanctums for different forms of Lord Shiva. Adjacent to the temple there are two Nandis on covered platforms.
This temple looks similar to the one in Belur. Here too there are beautiful sculptures inside.
On the outer walls many carvings were broken. That was sad to see. We were surprised to see board games etched on the ledges inside the temple. We were later told that people in those times gathered in the temple to play these games. That seemed good😊.
Many carvings in these temples depict scenes from our epics. But it is difficult for us to identify familiar stories. It would be good to go there with someone who really knows the art. Two sculptures caught my attention. They were really impressive for their narratives. In the first a man is being attacked by elephants from two sides. In the next a man is surrounded by serpents. In both instances the men continue their meditation.
When the Hoysala kings were killed at war, their bodyguards killed themselves. Outside the temple there was a pillar in memory of those soldiers. Looking at the pillar I wondered what happened to the women and children in their lives.
There were stone inscriptions. We could recognize some of the Kannada letters. It would be interesting to know what was written in them. To one side of the temple complex is a huge man-made lake called Dwarasamudra lake but there is a fence in between.
There are lawns with beautiful trees. People were relaxing there. We too sat under a huge tree and gazed at the temple, built so long ago.