Another journey and another destination, yesterday a group of us 7 dudes went out for a road trip to Belur, Halebidu and Shravanabelagola from Bangalore.
We started early and reached our first juncture Shravanabelagola 140 kilometers from Bangalore, this place boasts of a 58 feet Monolith of Gommateshwara Bahubali, which is carved out of a single stone in around 982 AD. This monolith resides on top of a Rocky hill named as Vindhyagiri, with over 650 stairs reaching to the top.
After a not so easy climb, the top of the hill greeted us with cool breeze and plenty of inscriptions written by Jain piligrims over the ages. Apart from just the monolith the temple on the hilltop also has different chambers having sculptures of 24 Jain Tirthankaras.
Returning from the hill, we opted for lunch at a Marwari Jain Bhojanalaya(which was on the left side of the entrance to Vindhyagiri). Needless to say, the meal was sumptuous and satisfying.
After this, we moved towards the next two stops of our excursion. The next stop was Halebidu, around 80 kilometers from Sharavanabelagola, this place boasts of an exotic ancient temple with an unmatched artistry and workmanship.
Started in 12th century under the Hoysala dynasty, this temple was never completed due to constant plundering of Malik Kafur who was a general of Aluddin Khilji. The word Halebid means a ruined city.
As some of the pictures reveal, artwork is left incomplete at many places in the temple; most notable with outlines being present but the actual image missing/incomplete. I wonder the real story of an artist behind an incomplete sculpture left in time…never to be completed.
The final stop was Belur, around 16 kilometers from Halebid. Belur was once the capital of Hoysala Empire, our destination was the Chennakesava Temple. This temple was started in around 1117 AD, and one of the prominent features are its Pillar Sculptures which show intricate carvings on stone; down to the details of depicting hair strands in a bun!
A lot of the outer temple carvings are based on mythological legends and Vishnu Avatars. After eavesdropping on the description of different images by a Guide, I moved within and was amazed to see exquisitely carved pillars within!
As all good things must come to an end, we decided to return. It took another 4 hours to return back to bangalore, and that is how our excursion came to an end.
All photos have been taken on a Canon Powershot A540