This past Saturday, a group of interns and I took an early morning bus to see the temples of Belur, Halebidu and Shavranabelagola. Waking up at 5am on a Saturday was not my ideal way of spending a weekend but this was an exception. We boarded the bus at Badami House in Bangalore at 6.30am and by 9.30 in the morning, we were at our first stop, Shavranabelagola and its 760 steps. Much like at Hampi, the climb was rather tiring but once we got to the top, the panoramic view of the village below us with endless greenery and the cooling breeze was enough to make us say it was worth every barefooted step.
After an hour and a half of admiring the view and taking holiday pics as interns usually tend to do at these places, we climbed down the monolith which was surprisingly more difficult since the steps were not only slanted but trying to control the descent was also proving to be quite a task on our knees (well, at least mine were starting to hurt and I'm hoping it's not because of my age...). We quenched our thirst with some fresh coconut juice at the foot of the temple and then we were off to our second destination point, Halebidu.
Halebidu was the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire and according to our guide, the name means "ruined city" and looking at the carvings, you'll see why this is so. During the Moghul invasion, the armies of Malik Kafur destroyed most of the images since in Islam, portrayal of people and animals are considered Haram. But regardless, what's still left of the temple is amazing and it is adorned by over 20,000 carvings each depicting a story in itself.
Our final stop after a hearty lunch at some shady restaurant was Belur. Here again, you can see the similar architecture and artwork that is seen at Halebidu and Shavranabelagola. So if you're ever up for an early morning wake up call and have a good group of friends to go with or even alone, I would highly recommend taking a day trip into the villages of Karnataka and checking out these marvels of the past. And the best thing is, you'll be home in time to get a round of pizza from the campus Domino's!
And... me and the gang :)