Thursday, March 19, 2015

Temples of Halebeedu and Belur - A Photoblog

I had visited Belur, Halebeedu and Sravanbelgola in 1991 as a day trip from Bangaluru. However, for want of suffiient time, I could not explore fully the two main Hoysala temples - Chennakeshava temple and Hoysaleshwara temple constructed during 12th Century AD. Since we were already in Chikmagalur, we decided to revisit these temples which are located within about 40 kms from the town.
After exploring Kodandarama temple in Hiremagaluru and Veera Narayana temple in Belavadi, we proceeded to first to Halebeedu and then to Belur. We engaged  the tourism department approved guides for both the temples to understand the thoughts behind carvings, sculptures, reliefs and frienzes. We ended the trip by visiting Yagchi dam backwater for a speed boat ride and returned to Chikamagalur by evening. There are empteen blogs and articles available in books as well as on the websites on the temples of Belur and Halebeedu. So I will not go into the details of these two temples. I leave it to pictures taken during the visit  to 'speak' about them. Additionally, I have also captioned these pictures for further elucidation.
Some pictures of Hoysaleshwar temple taken during the visit to Halebeedu are uploaded below:
1. Hoysaleshwar Temple, Halebeedu
Front view of of the twin temples of Hoysaleshwara and Shantaleshwara in Halebeedu. These are Shiva temples constructed during 12th Century AD.
One of the well carved black stone pillars inside Hoyleshwara temple.
One of the stone carved ceilings depicting the dashavataras of Lord Vishnu.
The close up of the intricately stone carved over the door leading to sanctum sanctorum of Hoysaleshwara temple.
The lose up of the mythologial animal over the door frame.

A monolith bull made u of black stone in front of Hoysaleshwara temple. A similar size bull sculpture is also placed in front of the adjunct Shanteshwari temple.
Halebeedu Shiva temple have more carvings, sculptures and motifs on the outside walls of the temple than inside the temple. This one is a sculpture of Ravan who is seen holding Mount Kailash. Note how Ravan is balaning the weight of the entire Mount Kailash on his legs. 
Lord Vishnu on the left and Harihara ( Shiva and Vishnu together) on the right.
Lord Ganesh with trunk on his left. 
The friezes from down to up of social activities, animals, birds and flowers upon which are some idols of gods.
 Lord Bramha.

Arjuna with his bow pointing up during Draupadi Swaymvara.
 Lord Krishna holding Mount Goverdhan.
Lord Shiva, probably in Param (Supreme) Shiva form.
Lord Vishnu in Varaha avatar.
 Dancing Saraswati with beads on her right hand and a book on her left hand.
Ugra Narasimha Avatar.
Corner carvings and sculptures.
Karna-Arjuna war.
Lord Vishnu in Trivikrama form. Lord Vishnu takes a giant leap to reclaim universe. Lord Bramha, the creator of the universe is at the end of the raised foot.
A dancer aompanied by two drummers on her either side.
A monkey tries to pull a lady who is holding a tree branch in one hand and holding on to her cloth with other hand.
Karna is holding on to Arjuna and Bhima(left) while Chkaravuya (right) has been created to trap Abhimanyu.
Bhima is about to kill Dushashan (right) while Draupadi who has taken vow not to tie her hairs (middle) until Dushashan is killed, now ties her hairs (left).
Lord Shiva and Parvati sit on Nandi who seems to be  grumphy due to double weight.
A scene of Amritmanthan. Note that heads of all the persons involved in this act have been damaged by vandals.
Halebeedu Museum inside the temple complex. Photogrphy inside the museum is prohibited.
A fully bloomed jacaranda tree in the Halebeedu temple complex.
2. Chennakeshava Temple, Belur
Gopuram at the entrance of Chennakeshava temple, Belur. This picture has been taken from inside the temple complex. From the structure as well as sculptures on it, the gopuram seems to be a later addition and is in the style of Vijaynagar architeture as seen in Hampi temples..

The side view of Chennakeshava temple, Belur.
 The pillar made from a single stone in the Belur temple complex. The pillar stands on its own gravity.
Pushkarni well inside the temple complex.
 Backside view of the temple.
A close up of the back side of the temple.
Entrance to Chennakeshava temple sanctum sanctorum. Note the intriate stone carvings.
The close up of the intricate stone carvings at the entrance.
A close up of the side view of Chennakeshava temple with miniature towers.
Friezes in layers on the outer wall of the temple.
A different type of ornamentations on the lower outer wall of the temple.
The layers of friezes upon which sculptures of Gods, musicians and others have been placed. In almost all friezes, the order is elephants in the bottom, followed by horses, flowers, mythologial animals, flowers, war scenes, etc.
There are 38 well carved bracket figures, called Madanalikas which are on the top of 38 outer pillars of Chennakeshava temple. It is difficult to imagine that the intricate carvings on each of 38 Madanalikas are in fact the stone carvings. In this picture is the dancing lady with a lady drummer and lady musicians on either side of her feet.
Darpan Sundari.
A monkey on the left is trying to pull the cloth of the maiden.
Bhashmasur mardini-Mohini dance.
Vish Kanya (Dame of Poison).
This sculpture is symbolic of the saying  that for an adolescence boy, every girl looks beautiful even if the she has donkey's face!
Lord Shiva slaying demon Gajasura.
Intriacately stone carved top of the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum of Chennakeshava temple.
There are sculptures of six Shilabalika (celestial maiden) atop six pillars of the central part of the mandap of Chennakeshava temple.This is one of the six sculptures in Bashmasur Mohini dance pose.
The sculpture of a celestial maiden doing hiar dressing.
The central part of the ceiling of Mandap inside the temple. The protruding part of the delicate sculpture is that of Narasimha avatar.
There are a number of stone pillars in the Mandap, each being distinct from others both in terms of carvings and dimension.
A close up of the stone carvings on one of the pillars of Mandap.
Close up of the arvings on another pillar of Mandap. The colour of the pillar has slight yellowish due to the light of the sodium lamp falling on it.
This pillar in the mandap is revered by the devotees as there sculptures of Narasimha. Hene it is also called as Narasimha Pillar.