2 July 2011 – Daytrippin’
Yes, it is quite a mouthful and that’s not all – to get to see this statue, you have to climb the 760 steps up this big piece of rock that lies in the Hassan District of Karnataka. On the morning of the 2nd of July, a good number of interns and I decided to go on a day trip to the surrounding temples of Belur, Halebidu and Shravanabelagolam. We got up really early at 05h30 to catch our tour bus in town at 06h30. After a quick stop for breakfast at what seemed like a sketchy roadhouse, we arrived at our first stop, Shravanabelagolam. Our “tour guide” on the bus was quite insistent on repeating this name and that it was a 760 step climb up to the top again and again that by the time we reached there, we could not get the phrase “Shravanabelagolam is not at ground level, it is 760 steps up a hill” out of our heads.
After an hour and a half of climbing up and taking photos of the Gomateshwara, we headed back to the bus and made our way to our second stop, Halebidu. The temple of Hoysaleswara is apparently adorned by over 20,000 stone carvings. It was rather impressive and on some of the carvings, you can see that the heads have been cut off. This was done during the Muslim invasion during the 14th century since Islam prohibits any depictions of humans or animals. All the carvings told a story and it was intricate in its designs. Finally, it was off to our last stop but not before having a rather rushed lunch at yet another nondescript restaurant. We arrived at the last place, Belur and again, the same architecture that was seen in Halebidu was evident in Belur. By then most of us were tired from absorbing all the history and walking around and were ready to head back to our campus. We were back home by 22h00 and on the whole, it was a fun day trip with good company. So if you’re in the Bangalore area and are looking for something to do over the weekend, a day trip to the surrounding temple towns is well worth it.