The Must See places in Hassan and Chikmagalur, Karnataka, INDIA
December 11, 2018
by Valli Vishwanath
Chikmagalur is the recent trending weekend getaway from Banglore. It takes five hours to reach Chikmagalur from Banglore. Shravanabelagola, Belur and Halebid are on the way. Chikmagalur is very clean and Tidy, also offers a lot to see, from lush green forests, Hilltops with amazing views to vibrant waterfalls. On the other side Hassan district is full of Culture and Architecture.
The Hassan District is one of the offbeat tourist destination in Karnataka, Located 221 km from Bangalore, half an hour journey from Chikmagalur.
This is a scenic village, very rich in culture and breathtaking Hoysala Architecture. The three main locations to visit are Shravanabelagola, Belur and Halebid. India has a lot of Archeological marvels and The temples in Belur and Halebid are one among them.
Shravanbelagola – Gommeteshwara Temple
Gommeteshwara Temple is a famous pilgrimage destination which is 150 km from Banglore,50 km from Belur. The Jain God Bahubali Stands tall at 57ft high. He is said to have meditated motionless for one year in a standing posture and that during this time, climbing plants grew around his legs. After a year meditating, he is said to have attained omniscience.
The temple entrance can be reached by climbing 600 steps. Its advised to visit this place between October and March while the climate is pleasant because everyone has to climb the steps barefoot(Socks allowed).
Belur – Chennakesava Temple
Belur referred as Velapur in Inscriptions is the first capital of Hoysalas. The King Vishnuvardhana built this temple in the year 1117 AD. Every nook and corner of these temples are sculptured with beautiful carvings. This temple is completed in 103 years. It is Noteworthy that the main temple containing Garbagraha(Sanctum) is Star shaped in most of the Hoysala temples.
The entire outer wall of Garbagraha is decorated with
- Horizontal rows of Friezes comprising Elephants(644 in number), Lions, Horses, and Flowers.
- Above these rows are the small female figure in ornamental Niches, sculptured puranic scenes and Durbar scenes of King Vishnuvardhana and Ballala II
- On the top corners, there are 42 Bracket figures called “Madanika” or Shilabalika which are highly expressive, extremely ornamented, Minute details and correctly proportioned
- The Lady seeing her beauty in the Mirror
- The Dancing Lady
- The lady Molested by a Monkey
- The Lady Huntress are Noteworthy.
- Nearly 500 different hairstyles, Trendy costumes, Ornament designs
- The beautiful deity Chennakesava in Sanctum Sanctorum is must See.
The High platform with PradhakshanaPadha(The pathway around Garbagraha) has the flight of steps on East, Nort, and south, which has a Miniature shrine on either side.
All the sculptures in Belur and Halebid are made with the Soapstone(Chloritic Schist). When the stone is inside the earth, it is very soft, once it is taken out it hardens within six months.
Halebid – Hoysaleshwara Temple
Halebid was initially called Dwarasamudra. After the continuous invasions by other rulers, the entire city was damaged and deserted. Hence the name Halebid. The Hoysaleshwara temple is twice as Big as Belur’s Chennakesava Temple. The former is dedicated to Shiva, while the latter is Vishnu. The temple is called Twin temple with two shrines for Hoysaleshwara and Shantaleshwara dedicated in the name of king and Queen respectively. The sculptures here shows the emotions very cleverly. In Ancient times the temples were considered to be the mode of Education.
The outer wall contains the Sculptures depicting
- Horizontal rows of Friezes comprising Marching playful Elephants(1288 in number), Lions, Horses, and decorations.
- Hindu Gods – Narashima killing Hiranya, Krishna lifting Govardhana, Shiva dancing inside Elephant, Bhairava killing Demon are noteworthy
Makaras – An imaginary animal depicting the characteristics of a soldier. It has Elephant’s Trunk, Monkey’s Eyes, Crocodile’s head, Boar’s Body, Peacock’s Feather, Bull’s Horns, and Lion’s Legs.
- Sculptures depicting Moral stories, Day to day life, Various occupations, Scenes from Epic Mahabharatha and Ramayana, scenes depicting Eroticism – Artha Kama Dharma
- Large Sculptures of Deities and stories from Hindu Texts.
There are Two big Nandis present in this temple, which is ranked as the Sixth Largest and Seventh Largest Nandhi in the World. The Sixth largest Nandhi stands First for its Beautification. This Nandi’s stone is polished in such a way that it Reflects like a Mirror, a real Wonder.
The Sculptors imagination is MindBlowing. Few examples of their works are
- Krishna lifts Govardhana, Notice the lives in the mountain. On the top right corner, Near the Banyan tree, a Monkey climbs the tree, A cat eating a Frog, A Monitor Lizard, A Man Climbing the tree, A Man hunting a Boar, Two lions-one entering and other Exiting the cave, Peacocks, Swans, Lizards, Snakes, Musicians, Villagers, Cows, Krishna and his ornaments all in a single sculpture
- Shiva killing an Elephant – He is dancing inside the elephant’s stomach, Two legs and its head below shiva’s legs, Elephants other two legs and tail above Shiva’s head. His fingernail pierces through the Elephants Skin.
- Indira and Indirani traveling in Eyeravatham (Elephant) – The motion is captured so well, the lady will be flying in the air due to the speed of the elephant.
The eyes of the sculptures show emotions like love, Possessiveness, Anger, Fear, Guilt.
There are 108 pillars all over the temple and each one is distinct. Each pillar has 5 segments. Every segment is sculptured separately and Joined together. There isn’t a single clue to say that the pillar is segmented
On the way to the hills, we had visited Harikolele Lake, Siri Coffee, and Kalhatti Falls
This lake is just a photo point and Nature’s Marvel. Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds. There are a small Bridge and little Hut which adds beauty to the Lake
Mother Nature is beautifully carved with greeneries. Another Photo stop.
Vey small waterfall, but the water flows with a force. This fall is mostly visited by the locals. The sculptors had tried their hands even in the falls. It looks like the water is coming from the Hindu god and two elephants are standing on another side of him
Z Point Kemmangundi
Kemmangundi has Ornamental Gardens and breathtaking Viewpoints. Don’t miss the beautiful sunset from the rose garden viewpoint. There is a children’s playground as well.
Just below the Z point, there is a checkpoint from where the trekking starts. Experience the chillness once entering the forest. Jeeps are available, but walking through the forest will give a complete essence of trekking. There are two small waterfalls on the way. Dare to have a refreshing bath in freezing cold water. After 2Kms of forest trek, the adventurous one starts. The passage is too narrow, with the hill and a deep valley on either side. Carefully walk for another km, then you gotta climb up the mountain for the awesomeness.
This is the highest peak in Karnataka. The van / Jeep ride itself is adventurous, such a narrow two-way road. There are 450 steps to reach the top of the Hill, where there is a temple and a great place to take photos with amazing views.