It was my second day of the trip, and i was riding from Mysore to Hassan, merely a 120 kilometers to see the temples of Belur and Halebidu. The roads were initially through the four lanes and slowly moving to an off track of single lane tared country roads. Being the second day i was in my full spirits, riding in good mood watching the village life on the slow lane. bullock carts, tractors, paddy fields, other agriculture land, people with Dothis (a village attire of rural India), children with old tires, rolling around on the road sides.
By noon I stopped by Behur for my lunch, that is where I met this Keralite eatery owner. He was curious about my motorcycle, my attire and my riding gear.. he was asking me where am from and where am heading to. He convinced me that i should visit a place called Ramnathpur which is a 35 Kilometer deviation. It was supposed to be a place where the temple “Prasadam” (The spiritual food given from temple) was black gram and they throw it to the river, when numerous scholl of fish would come up. The number of fishes would be unimaginable.
I made my mind, head to Ramnathpur and try my luck. The initial roads were kind of good for the ride, Its always a straight road with slight curves once in a while. After a while the roads slowly turn to what we say, the most Kutcha village roads, the movement was not less than 15 kilometer per hour, exhaustive and finally i reach the place. I got to the right temple, but the most interesting comedy was there was no water in the river…I was in the worst strange situation, i asked myself how or why did i go ahead listening to a stranger…. It was core rural Karnataka, people in their most ethnic attire, speak only Kannada, No English No Hindi, and not very hospitable. But later when i look back, its always that way when you are on the road, you get all the information from strangers and once in a while things might go wrong.
I reached Hassan, then rode to Belur and further to Chickmagalur – the plantation town for my overnight stay..I just wanted to continue riding as a compensation for the Ramnathpur episode. There were drizzles on the Belur – Chickmagalur road, and the weather was cool and i reach my abode for the night, a hotel in town.
Next day early morning, I started for Belur, a 20 Kilometer drive to visit The Chennakesava temple complex, built during the era of the Hoysala Kings in the 12 century. The temple was large and have three deity within the complex. A fine example of the Hoysala art and Architecture is the Chennakesava temple which mean “The handsome Vishnu” temple.
There are many carvings, a “Gopuram” at the entrance which resembles Dravidian architecture and a few mandapas, and a pond within the complex. Carvings include lions, elephants, horses, and a sculpture of Sala killing the Lion, which marked the beginning of the Hoysala empire. The carvings intricate and beautiful representing stories and myths of the past. I head to the Halebidu temple.
Halebidu is twenty kilometers east of Belur. Halebidu Hoysaleshwara Temple is more of a compact complex that houses two temples and is dedicated to Lord Siva. The temple is more interesting than The Chennakesava temple because of this number of carving with in the compact complex. Most carvings are based on stories, characters and elements related to lord Siva like Ganapathi (Elephant God, Son of Siva).
There are two large monolitic Nandi status (Nandi is the Bull – The vehicle of Lord Siva) Its an array of carving around the temple and there is a walkway where you can walk around and see them. The temple houses a garden and has a green surrounding. Both Belur and Halebidu temples were built during the same Prime Era (12 century) two centuries later in the 14 century, the temples were under attack from Muslim Invaders.
The temple lost its glory and most carvings were destroyed. What is left today is left back after the attacks, imagine how beautiful would have been the temple and its carvings in its complete form.
I have got to ride another three hundred plus Kilometers to reach my next place of stay – Anegundi, Hampi! It was interesting to see a lot of cyclist groups on route!! waving hands!
Written by Benjamin John